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Salvia pachyphylla 'Blue Flame'


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Salvia pachyphylla 'Blue Flame'

  • Mature plants growing in full, hot sun
  • Young plants growing in partial shade


Degree of Difficulty
Challenging
Degree of Difficulty
This plant is can be challenging to grow in conditions outside those in which it is found in the wild.
Blue Tag Xeric
Blue Tag Plant
This plant is sensitive to overwatering.
Best of Class
Best of Class
We believe this to be the best hardy, shrubby drought resistant sage.

Shipping Information
Looking for a larger quantity?

Description

(Giant Purple Desert Sage) It’s best to plant this flamboyant native of the Southwest in spring or summer. However, once established, it tolerates winters from USDA Zones 5 to 9. Purple tubular flowers and burgundy bracts flare up its 10-inch flower spikes like flames on this softly rounded shrub.

Fragrant, drought resistant and heat tolerant, this is a sage that isn’t particular about soils as long as they drain well. Give this shrub lots of sunshine and little water for best performance.  We have learned by experience that this species grows best where there are definite seasons, and where the winters are not particularly wet.  They thrive in Denver, and languish in Los Angeles.

Blue Flame’s improbably lush flowers are offset by mid-green foliage. It does well in dry, gravelly gardens as a groundcover, border or pathway edging and is just right for a native garden focusing on the Southwest or a wide variety of American native species.

Expect Blue Flame to grow up to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide and to flower from summer to fall. Expect to fall in love with it; certainly butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds do. Luckily, deer avoid it.

Thanks for the beautiful photo go to high-altitude plant expert Panayoti Kelaidis, senior curator and director of outreach at Denver Botanic Gardens.

Details

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In stock
Out of stock

Common name  
Giant Purple Desert Sage
USDA Zones  
5 - 9
Size (h/w/fh)  
24"/24"/36"
Exposure  
Full sun
Soil type  
Well drained
Water needs  
Drought resistant
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
Yes
Our price
10.50


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Here are some guidelines for success with this plant in your garden.
Click on an individual icon for more detailed information.

Exposure

Full sun
Full sun
Heat tolerant
Heat tolerant

Garden Uses

Fragrant
Fragrant

Growing Habit

5 - 9
5 - 9
24 inches tall
24 inches tall
24 inches wide
24 inches wide
Shrub
Shrub

Water Needs

Drought resistant
Drought resistant

Blooming Season

Fall blooming
Fall blooming
Summer blooming
Summer blooming

Wildlife

Honeybees
Honeybees
Butterflies
Butterflies
Deer resistant
Deer resistant
Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds
Ready for some pruning?

Evergreen, woody Salvias

These are species that grow as woody shrubs and keep their foliage year round.

Pruning is both an art and a science. It takes practice, experience and learning from your mistakes to become a proficient pruner. The pruning information about this plant should be considered as a guideline for getting started. Your particular climate, soils, watering and fertility schedules, sun exposure, space requirements and weather are all factors that influence how and when you choose to prune. We’re providing a starting place for you, and over time you will learn the particularities of this plant in your garden. Don’t be afraid to get started – Salvias, in general, are quick to rebound if inappropriately pruned.

Deadheading – the removal of spent flowers, is a practice that will always benefit the plant’s health and appearance. This can be done at any time. Pruning involves removal of entire stems of spent growth. Becoming "spent" means that flowering stems stop blooming and begin going to seed.

Growing Season Pruning

At any time, you can perform cosmetic pruning -- shaping, controlling height and width and removing the oldest wood. Some gardeners periodically remove the oldest stems to encourage fresh new growth.


Dormant Season Pruning

Same as Growing Season.


Check the Views from the Garden section of our Everything Salvias Blog for videos that apply to this plant.

  • Agastache cana 'Sinning'

    (Sonoran Sunset® Anise Hyssop) An abundance of lavender-rose flowers mark Agastache cana 'Sinning' as being unique from the typical purple-flowered plants of its species. Colorado plantsman Duane Sinning discovered this lovely hybrid.

    Sonoran Sunset® Anise Hyssop was developed by Plant Select, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Colorado State University. Plant Select promotes production of and education about xeriscapic, drought-resistant plants.

    Agastache is Greek for "many flower spikes." Cana describes the plant's gray foliage, which has a pleasant anise or licorice-like fragrance. Common names for this species include Mosquito Plant, Texas Hummingbird Mint and Double Bubble Mint.

    The trademarked name refers to the Sonoran Desert and the lovely sunset purples at end of day in the plant's native American Southwest. Aside from resisting drought, Sonoran Sunset® tolerates heat and cold. Put all these characteristics together and you have an intoxicating species that excels in semi-arid climates.

    Sonoran Sunset is a full sun plant that is easy to grow but requires excellent drainage. Get its conditions right and you will be rewarded with the happy buzz of butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds.

    Don't expect deer to bother this mint family (Lamiaceae) plant. Similar to Salvias and other minty relatives, Agastaches contain chemicals that don't appeal to hooved wildlife.

    Photo courtesy of Plant Select®.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Asclepias speciosa

    (Showy Milkweed) Milkweeds (Asclepias spp. ) are must-have, nectar-rich plants in the butterfly garden. They're the only genus on which the endangered Monarch butterfly lays eggs. It is urgent that we offer this pretty, fragrant wildflower.

    In spring 2013, The New York Times reported a precipitous decline in the Monarch butterfly migration due to various causes, including North America’s plummeting supply of Milkweed. The species normally grows wild in agricultural fields. However, the increasing use of seed genetically modified to withstand herbicides has eliminated at least 120 million acres of Monarch habitat, according to The New York Times.

    Backyard gardeners can help reverse this trend by growing plants, such as Showy Milkweed, which keep the Monarch migration alive and feed other species of butterflies as well.

    Butterflies need flowers on which they can easily perch while sipping nectar. Plants with globe-shaped flower heads, such as those of Milkweeds, meet this need. The roughness of Showy Milkweed's long, fuzzy, gray-green leaves make it easy for eggs and chrysalises to connect. Powerful chemicals in the foliage are consumed by Monarch caterpillars and make them off limits -- as babies and adult butterflies -- to predators that can’t consume those substances.

    Showy Milkweed features globes of tiny, star-shaped flowers that are pale, creamy pink. It isn’t very big for such a powerful plant, growing only 24 to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Although it can tolerate a bit of partial shade, this plant prefers full sun. It likes droughty conditions as well as gravelly ground. Any kind of soil will do as long as it drains well.

    This cold-tolerant species grows well in USDA Zones 4 to 9 where it looks pretty in perennial borders or massed with other Lepidoptera favorites in butterfly gardens. It is particularly well adapted to dry gardens. Milkweeds are native to a large swath of North America, so they are also good choices for native gardens.

    To control the plant’s tendency to naturalize in parts of the yard where you don’t want to grow it, simply snip off the seedpods before they ripen and pop open.

    IMPORTANT NOTE:  What you will recieve is a very well established root system.  The foliege will not be cosmetically perfect, and it is only in the second year, once planted out in the ground, that this species will attain its full potential.  In the wild this species often exhibits summer dormancy. There is generally very little above ground activity in the year in which this is planted.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

    New!
  • California Drought Action Pack

    (California Drought Action Pack) The drought in California is a real challenge to gardeners and to the wildlife that depends increasingly on us for survival. We want to help.

    This package consists of Salvias, Agastache, Kniphofia, Asclepias and other wildlife-friendly & drought resistant plants that will grow, bloom and be happy in dry gardens. We will personally select three each of four different plants, taking into account your particular climate and location. These are some of our top sellers, offered as a discounted group.  We can't promise any specific plant, but you'll be excited when you unpack your box!

    We're all concerned about the declining habitats and food sources for hummingbirds, butterflies and bees - and by planting these in your garden you will be doing a great service to our animal friends that being stressed by the lack of flowers. Because of the large number of suitable varieties we grow, we'll plan to send along a balanced, long blooming mix. You can plant now and enjoy these beauties for years to come, even if the drought continues.

    Some of the plants in this package
    Some of the plants



    We also include a detailed Planting Guide, to insure your success.

    We offer this for the Fall planting season only with free shipping anywhere in California.   You can choose your desired shipping date during checkout.

    Please let us know in the "Customer Notes" section of the shopping cart if you have any color preferences or blooming season restrictions. We guarantee to pick out some of the very best drought tolerant varieties we grow for you. Please, this is for California residents only.

    129.00

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Dicliptera suberecta

    (Uruguayan Firecracker Plant) Mint-green foliage felted with a covering of fine hairs provides a cooling backdrop to the hot orange tubular flowers of this long-blooming member of the acanthus family (Acanthaceae).

    Honeybees and hummingbirds love this ideal companion plant for Salvia gardens, but deer resist it. As indicated by its common name, Uruguayan Firecracker Plant adds bright bursts of color to gardens whether in patio pots, as a groundcover or mixed in a border.

    In areas with mild winter climates, Uruguayan Firecracker Plant sometimes remains evergreen. However, it is a perennial in the cooler part of its USDA cold hardiness range.

    Acanthus species (many are referred to as "Bears Breeches" due to furriness) are well known for their ease of growth, attractive texture and usefulness in low-water gardens. Uruguayan Firecracker Plant thrives on average watering based on local rainfall, but tolerates drought. It can also handle heat and loves a full-sun location.

    As to soil type or quality, this isn't a picky plant but it does require good drainage.

    Botanical artist Matilda Smith (1854-1926) illustrated this wooly beauty for Curtis's Botanical Magazine of London in 1910. At that time, it was known as Jacobian suberecta.

    9.00
  • Echeandia texensis

    (Texas Craglily) Echeandia texensis shines in many ways. First, the delicate looking yet tough flowers are a rich shade of gold. Other stellar traits include its ability to tolerate clay soils, heat, a moderate amount of winter cold and drought.

    This perennial's common name might mislead you into thinking it is a canyon plant. However, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, it's native to clay soils in the dunes and arroyos of the Rio Grande River Valley of southern Texas. This includes locations on the Gulf Coast.

    Sometimes it is called Mexican Hat Lily due to the flowers looking a bit like upside down, floppy sombreros with tall crowns.

    The scientific name is also a bit confusing. Although some sources refer to Texas Craglily as belonging to the lily family (Liliaceae), others say it belongs in the asparagus family (Asparagaceae). Instead of bulbs, it grows from corms.

    Despite its drought resistance, E. texensis thrives with average watering based on local conditions and is known to adapt well to the moister climate of the Southeast.

    Finally, it's worth knowing that this is an excellent butterfly plant that does its best to discourage deer.

    10.50
  • Marrubium supinum

    (Scallop Shell Horehound) The mint family (Lamiaceae) is well known for fragrant, medicinal plants, including Marrubium supinum, which means "bitter" and "prostrate."

    Whorls of lavender blossoms create a cool look in combination with this Spanish native's foliage, which has a felted texture and looks silvery whitish green due to lots of tiny, moisture-conserving hairs.

    It's the shape of the groundcover's leaves and their softly rounded serrations that inspired the perennial's common name Scallop Shell Horehound.

    Hummingbirds enjoy the nectar of this full sun plant that tolerates heat, cold and drought. It's an effective, creeping groundcover for dry gardens and an excellent companion for waterwise Salvias. Once established, Scallop Shell Horehound needs little supplemental watering.

    Marrubium is said to derive from the Hebrew word expressing bitter flavor. It's also the ancient Roman name for cough syrup. Another form of the herb -- common or white Horehound Marrubium vulgare -- is used in making old fashioned hard candy known for its bittersweet taste.

    Before consuming any herbal product for medicinal purposes, be sure to consult your physician.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia canescens var. daghestanica

    (Caucasus Sage) This hardy ground cover sage grows 4 to 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The velvety white fur of its foliage aids moisture retention. Its soft, royal purple flowers make it stand out. We think this Salvia deserves to spread far and wide.

    A tough native of the Caucasus Mountains of central Asia, it survives the freezing temperatures of Zone 5, forming a tight mat that withstands light traffic. It blooms in early summer and again in fall. Plant this beauty in well-drained soil, but don't pamper it; Caucasus Sage grows well in harsh environments.

    This is one of the shortest Salvias we grow and makes a fine border edging or rock garden plant. We highly recommend its use as a ground cover, so we offer a discount for larger orders.

    Here is a great blog article about this plant.

    11.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia clevelandii 'Alpine'

    (Alpine Cleveland Sage) Powerfully fragrant and incredibly long blooming, Alpine Cleveland Sage is also the cold-hardiest variety of its species, tolerating temperatures well below freezing.

    Cleveland Sages are native to California. This variety was discovered growing wild on a rocky, south-facing slope of San Diego's Cuyamaca Mountains near the small town of Alpine.

    Although all Cleveland Sages are well known for their aromatic foliage, the Alpine variety does a particularly good job of perfuming the landscape. Similar to all members of its species, Alpine has lovely violet-blue flowers and gray-green foliage. It resists drought, tolerates heat and is an ideal plant for full sun in dry gardens.

    Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds love Cleveland Sages. Due to its long bloom time, the Alpine variety is a particularly good addition to wildlife gardens. Use it as a screen or border shrub. The flower spikes are attractive in cut-flower arrangements.
    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia greggii 'Wild Thing'

    (Wild Thing Autumn Sage) Native to West Texas where it was collected in the wild, this cold-tolerant sage has perky, upright flowers that are coral pink with a darker throat. Overall, it is a vigorous, upright plant with dense, deep green foliage. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds love it.

    Hardy to at least 0 degrees F, this Autumn Sage is heat tolerant, sun loving but adaptable to a bit of shade and long blooming from spring into fall. The small-leafed foliage, burgundy stems and tidy, compact habit of Wild Thing (you make my heart sing) recommend it even without its numerous flowers.

    This is a lively choice for patio containers and edging sunny walkways in dry-garden settings. Mix it with a variety of Autumn Sage pinks.
    10.50
  • Salvia lycioides x greggii 'San Isidro'

    (Saint Isidro's Sage) This hardy, lavender-blue-flowered Salvia comes from Southern Texas and has the same breeding as the famous Ultra Violet Autumn Sage. Although it needs warmer winter temperatures and has smaller foliage, it also does well in stressful conditions, including drought.

    Saint Isidro's Sage is a dwarf plant with tall flower spikes. This hybrid of Autumn Sage Salvia greggii and Canyon Sage (Salvia lycioides) will keep your garden buzzing with honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies from spring until frost. Similar to many sages, it is deer resistant.

    This is a fine perennial border, groundcover, dry garden or container plant. Just give it full sun, good air circulation and well-drained soil.

    10.50
  • Salvia lycioides x greggii 'Ultra Violet'

    (Ultra Violet Hybrid Sage) Hardy is a word bandied about by gardeners and nurserymen. Its use is often exaggerated. But this fine hybrid deserves to be called "the hardiest Autumn Sage." It's Zone-5 hardy, drought resistant and has lovely, soft purple flowers. Ultra Violet is a winner.

    Scott and Lauren Springer Ogden, landscape designers and writers, in 2002 discovered Ultra Violet -- an unexpected dwarf hybrid -- in their high plains garden in Fort Collins, Colorado. Salvia greggii are renowned for accidentally hybridizing.

    Ultra Violet is one of the best Salvias for tough conditions, such as the hot, dry summers and freezing winters of the American West's high-altitude, semi-arid lands.  In fact, it is one of the few Salvia greggii that thrive in these conditions.

    Blooming from spring into fall, Ultra Violet will keep your garden buzzing with honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies until frost. This deer-resistant sage makes a fine perennial border, groundcover, dry garden or container plant. Just give it full sun, good air circulation and well-drained soil.

    10.50
  • Salvia nubicola

    (Himalayan Cloud Sage) Nepal's Muktinath Valley -- a sacred site for Hindus and Buddhists -- is the place to go to see this majestically tall shade perennial in the wild. It grows at altitudes up to 14,000 feet and often emerges while the ground is still snowy.

    The creamy yellow flowers have thin purple markings and bloom throughout summer. They grow about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long on flower spikes that rise up 4 feet or taller by late summer. 

    In America, this fragrant, cold-hardy sage is adaptable from USDA Zone 5 to 10. In cooler climates, it grows well in full sun whereas a bit of shade is best In warmer zones. We find that it thrives in rich, well-drained garden soil with ample water. However, it is resilient and survives in less than ideal conditions.

    Use this sage in mixed perennial borders and moist woodland gardens. It is also eye-catching as an accent plant and sensual due to its fragrance. You might want to try it in locations where you are likely to brush against it, such as an entryway. 

    We love and highly recommend this one. Demand often exceeds supply; deer resist it, but customers can't.
     

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia Raspberry Delight®

    (Raspberry Delight Sage) Dark raspberry-red flowers, burgundy stems and calyxes and deep green foliage make this one of our most attention-grabbing varieties.

    We also appreciate Raspberry Delight for its superior cold hardiness, heat tolerance, drought resistance, tightly branched form and pleasant fragrance. Hummingbirds love its long-blooming flowers.

    Raspberry Delight is spectacular when massed in a large group, so it is a dramatic as well as effective groundcover. Salvias with deep purple flowers harmonize well with this perennial sage that looks equally pretty in patio containers.

    Autumn Sages are native to the American Southwest and Mexico. They do well in full sun, but can handle some partial shade. They appreciate average watering based on local conditions, but can get by on much less. This makes them good choices for dry gardens.

    Raspberry Delight® is a registered trademark of Plants for the Western Garden, Inc.

    10.50
  • Salvia stepposa

    (Siberian Sage) Deep violet flowers surrounded by burgundy bracts form a handsome contrast with the pebbly, mint green foliage of this drought-resistant sage. It comes from the Central Asian steppe, which is similar in climate and geography to America’s high plains.

    Cold and heat tolerant, this is an ideal plant for semi-arid, high-altitude areas such as the Rocky Mountain West. It is native to lands stretching from Eastern Europe into Central Asia. You can find Salvia stepposa in countries such as Afghanistan, China’s Xinjiang province, Iran and Kyrgyzstan.

    Garden writer and researcher Noel Kingsbury describes Kyrgyzstan’s steppe country as being an ocean of Salvia, containing violet waves of Salvia stepposa. Kingsbury says it’s “like a vast garden border on a kind of overdrive.”

    Also known as Salvia dumetorum and Siberian Sage, this summer bloomer is adaptable to both full sun and partial shade. It grows in almost any kind of soil that drains well and reaches sizes up to 48 inches tall and 24 inches wide, which makes it just right for butterfly-attracting borders on overdrive in your garden.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

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Getting Started: Salvias for the Rocky Mountain West

Getting Started: Salvias for the Rocky Mountain West


Category: Getting Started with Salvias
Posted: Feb 23, 2017 07:53 AM
Synopsis: High altitude, distance from large bodies of water and powerful chinook winds make the Rocky Mountain West a dry gardening environment even in years of higher than average rain and snow. The region's steep mountains have a major impact on where and how precipitation falls. Instead of a single mountain chain, the Rocky Mountains are made up of 100 separate ranges. Similarly, the Salvia genus contains a broad range of sages, many of which thrive in the climactic extremes of the Mountain West.
Getting Started: Salvias for Zone 9

Getting Started: Salvias for Zone 9


Category: Getting Started with Salvias
Posted: Sep 1, 2015 07:29 PM
Synopsis: California's small, Mohave Desert city of Barstow averages about 5 inches of rain annually. Across the continent, Pensacola, Florida, has more than double Barstow's population and more than 12 times its amount of rainfall. Yet both cities are part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Plant Hardiness Zone 9 where you can plant perennials and shrubs that survive winter lows ranging from 20 to 30 degrees F. Flowers by the Sea takes readers on a triple coast road trip of Zone 9 and suggests plantings for varied growing conditions along the way.
Drought Praise: 5 Blue-Tag Beauties for Dry Gardens

Drought Praise: 5 Blue-Tag Beauties for Dry Gardens


Category: Xeric Choices
Posted: Jul 22, 2015 03:00 AM
Synopsis: If you live in a semi-arid climate where rain is a vague memory and the soil is crunchy with gravel, you may find yourself praising the color and resilience of blue-tag plants from Flowers by the Sea. Not all of our drought tolerant plants fall into the blue-tag category. Yet ones that do are extremely capable at surviving with little water. FBTS explains plant care and offers five favorite drought-resistant species.
Getting Started: What Is Drought and Xeriscaping

Getting Started: What Is Drought and Xeriscaping


Category: Getting Started with Salvias
Posted: Jul 7, 2015 01:22 PM
Synopsis: Drought is a shortage of precipitation over a season or more as in California where four years of drastic declines in rainfall and snowpack have created severe watering cutbacks. Drought is also defined by what and whom it affects from agriculture to homeowners. Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery explains drought and xeriscape, a water-conserving form of landscaping that is effective for gardening during drought and in dry climates. This article is part of the FBTS Getting Started series for gardeners becoming acquainted with Salvias (true sages). It includes a brief list of drought-resistant sages.
Getting Started: Salvias for the Southwest

Getting Started: Salvias for the Southwest


Category: Getting Started with Salvias
Posted: Jun 3, 2015 07:31 PM
Synopsis: Ask anyone to describe the American Southwest, and they're likely to sum it up in three letters : "D-R-Y." Yet precipitation can vary a lot here state by state and even within different parts of the individual states. One thing that is consistent about the story of water throughout the Southwest, is that rain and snow can rapidly swing from famine to feast to misfortune.
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Water Desert Plants

Ask Mr. Sage: How to Water Desert Plants


Category: Ask Mr. Sage
Posted: Oct 5, 2014 05:25 PM
Synopsis: Overwatering harms desert plants more than underwatering. When growing them, you need to consider the quantity, duration and timing of watering. Excellent soil drainage is also essential. This article talks about how to identify overwatering and establish an effective watering schedule. Ask Mr. Sage is a Q&A feature based on topics raised in calls and emails to FBTS.
I like Amstiad

Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.


  1. Go tubular. Hummingbirds need tubular flowers that are easy for long, thin beaks to access.
  2. Provide lots of color. Think of yourself as a cafeteria manager who needs to provide many tempting choices in order to attract business. Red, pink, orange and purple sages are particularly powerful hummingbird magnets.
  3. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based not only on color but also a broad span of bloom times. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons. Numerous winter-blooming species are available for areas that are home to hummingbirds year round.
  4. Grow sages native to the Western Hemisphere. Although hummingbirds will take advantage of many kinds of tubular flowering plants, these tiny birds are native to the Western Hemisphere and prefer flowering plants native to their half of the world.
  5. Select Salvia companion plants. Hummingbirds appreciate a variety of favorite tubular-flowered plants.
  6. Plant hummingbird gardens near cover. Trees and bushes surrounding feeding areas provide protection from predators and chilly, rainy weather.
  7. Don't use pesticides. Insects provide protein for hummingbirds, so don't kill these food sources.
  8. Provide water. Hummingbirds frolic in misters and shallow birdbaths.
  9. Supplement plantings with feeder tubes. Change the sugar water every few days and don't add food coloring. Keep the feeders clean, but don't scrub them with soaps or detergents. Here is more feeder care information.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about hummingbirds.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

Fragrance as well as color attracts butterflies. However, they don't have noses. Instead, butterflies smell and taste with their antennas and feet. Here are some ways to attract them:


  1. Plant sages with platform-type blossoms. Unlike hummingbirds, butterflies can't hover while feeding. Sages with large lower lips and short nectar tubes, such as those in the Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla) group, give butterflies a place to stand while gathering nectar and pollen.
  2. Provide lots of color and sunlight. Butterflies need to stay warm and are attracted to a broad range of flower colors.
  3. Include native species. Insects and plants have co-evolved to meet each other's needs within their native regions. Butterflies prefer feeding on their local, native perennials and shrubs.
  4. Grow Caterpillar Host Plants. Butterflies need baby nurseries. Some are extremely picky about the plants on which they lay eggs, such as Monarchs, which need milkweeds (Asclepias spp.). The North American Butterfly Association is a good source of information about host plants.
  5. Don't use pesticides. They kill many beneficial insects, including butterflies.
  6. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based on bloom times as well as color and shape. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons.
  7. Provide puddles. Butterflies stay hydrated by splashing in puddles located in sunny spots on the ground or raised up in shallow birdbaths. Include rocks for basking; butterflies need to dry and warm their wings.
  8. Plant butterfly gardens near shelter. Butterflies need to be able to flee into trees, shrubbery and woodpiles when predators appear and when windy or rainy weather occurs.
  9. Supplement plantings with rotten fruit. Some butterflies love the juice of rotting fruit even more than nectar.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about butterflies.

Hey, got any greens?

If you live in suburbs or rural areas where deer plunder gardens, Salvias (sages) can be part of your plan for discouraging these hungry visitors. Here are some tips.


  1. Mask smells that deer like with aromatic sages. Deer and other members of the Cervidae family, such as elk, mostly leave Salvias alone. One theory is that they don't like the fragrance or taste of sage chemicals. Strategically planting sages near vegetable gardens or fruit trees -- elixir to deer -- may prevent consumption.
  2. Grow hedges including Salvias. Prickly hedges, including hairy-leafed Salvias and exceptionally thorny roses, can discourage deer from entering your yard. They don't like the mouth-feel of those textures. Tall hedges also hide strawberry beds and other yummy plantings from view.
  3. Don't overplant one species. Grow a variety of Salvias in case local deer take an unexpected liking to one species of sage.
  4. Fence deer out. Install electric fences or 8-foot wood or metal fences around particularly vulnerable areas. Make sure electric fencing is turned on during the peak feeding seasons of early spring and late fall.
  5. Use motion-detection tools. Install outdoor lighting that is activated by movement.
  6. Let the dogs out. Deer are especially wary of large dogs.
  7. Surround and cover. Wrap tough plastic around the trunks of trees that have tasty bark and cover foliage with bird netting when trees and bushes are fruiting.
  8. Change yard ornaments periodically. Objects such as scarecrows, statuary and cordons of monofilament string with strips of shiny foil attached cause deer to shy away.
  9. Make safe choices. Research repellants you plan to use to make sure they aren't poisonous.
  10. Be flexible and ready to share a bit. There is no such thing as a completely deer-resistant garden.
It's dry out there

Xeric plants are excellent for water conservation. They grow well in dry gardens with little to no supplemental watering once established. In fact, overwatering can harm these plants, which are native to dry environments such as deserts and chaparral.

At Flowers by the Sea, we identify all xeric plants with a blue plant marker that warns against overwatering. Here are some tips for growing and understanding our xeric, or blue tag, plants:

1) In a humid region, you may find it difficult to grow plants native to semi-arid and arid environments. Yet xeric plants may succeed if you have a persistently dry area, such as under a roof overhang or in the shelter of a tree.

2) Xeric plants are excellent for locations far from garden hoses, such as along sidewalks -- areas often referred to as "hellstrips."

3) Shipping is hard on xeric plants, which suffer from confinement in small containers as well as boxes. You may see some mold, spots on leaves or withered foliage when they arrive. But xeric plants perk up with proper care while hardening off in partial shade before planting.

4) When amending soil before planting, remember that xeric plants not only need excellent drainage but also flower better in low fertility soil. Fertilize sparingly and use a mix with more phosphorous than nitrogen to encourage flowering and discourage lax overgrowth of foliage.

5) Organic matter, such as compost, is an excellent soil amendment for xeric plants, because it keeps their roots healthy by improving aeration and drainage.

6) When your xeric plants are established, water infrequently to encourage deep root growth and to avoid fungal problems. However, it's a good idea to gently spray dust off foliage about once a week.