(Alpine Plume Grass) Silvery plumes of floral seed heads appear in spring and change to tawny brown in this cool season grass with long, mid-green, needle-like blades. In fact, the plants in this genus are referred to as needle grasses. Alpine Plume is also commonly called Silver Spike.
This non-invasive ornamental is native to high elevations in central and southern Europe. It forms graceful, arching mounds, but is primarily grown for its floral plumes. Alpine Plume looks lovely in fresh and dried floral arrangements.
Regular watering based on local conditions, well-drained soil and full sun with a bit of partial shade are conditions that agree with Alpine Plume. This is a slow growing, clumping species. Clumping grasses grow larger over time, but don't spread by rhizomes. They provide good habitat for small wildlife, including birds and butterflies.
All grasses, including ornamental species, can be divided into two categories -- cool season and warm season -- based on the times of year in which they bloom and are showiest. Cool season grasses flower from late winter to early summer. Warm season varieties are prettiest from summer to fall. Planting a mix of warm and cool season species adds color, shape and breezy movement to landscapes year round.
(Prairie Sage) Native to a large part of the central United States, this perennial Salvia is a beloved wildflower, delighting us with large cerulean blue flowers. Hummingbirds and butterflies love it as well.
In full sun with good soil, this sage provides a spectacular floral display from late summer through fall. We like to plant it among other perennials and shrubs, where it can poke its head out here and there. It's a reliable addition to any garden designed to attract pollinators and the human eye.
(Blue Mealy Cup Sage) This Texas native species is one of the mainstays of gardens worldwide. Tidy, easy to grow, hardy, long blooming and undemanding, Mealy Cup Sage belongs in almost any sunny garden. Due to the popularity of the species, the number of varieties is staggering.
Hands down, Salvia farinacea 'Henry Deulberg' is the best blue-flowering cultivar of the lot. The story behind this plant and its closely related, white-flowering mate Salvia farinacea 'Augusta Duelberg', is the subject of our blog post: Salvias in the Cemetery: Meet the Duelbergs.
Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds all find Mealy Cup Sage irresistable, but deer aren't so fond of it.
The Deulberg cultivars are so drought resistant and heat tolerant that they can grow well in locations that are almost never irrigated. Hence, their discovery in a dusty Texas graveyard. So don't over water Henry or Augusta! Growing them together as a border is a lovely and waterwise plan.
Plant this sage in the spring and expect a long bloom time from summer through fall. Remember that the Deulbergs love full sun.
(Texas Wedding White Autumn Sage) This is our best white-flowered Autumn Sage. It is compact, hardy and blooms abundantly. We love it as a contrast to the generally bright colors of its group. Texas Wedding seems to always be blooming, with massive displays in spring and fall.
The flowers are small but so profuse that they seem to outnumber the leaves.
This variety of Salvia greggii makes a great, small-scale groundcover when each plant is spaced two feet apart. Although it tolerates some shade -- especially in hot climates -- it needs full sun. Good drainage is another necessity, but it doesn't require much watering.
Texas Wedding is reliably hardy to 10 degrees F, but can tolerate colder temperatures with mulching. Here's some other good news: Deer don't much care for it.
(Lemmon's Sage) Closely related to the more common Mountain Sage, this aromatic and highly drought tolerant shrub is native to the rocky canyons of New Mexico, Arizona and Northern Mexico. Its rich pink flowers bloom abundantly in waves from spring to fall.
Some botanists say the proper name for this plant is Salvia microphylla var. wislizenii, which is named after Friedrich Adolph Wislizenus, a botanist who persisted in studying Southwestern plants during the Mexican-American War of the mid 1840s despite being a prisoner of the Mexican government.
However, we consider Lemmon's Sage to be a distinct species with exceptional pink-lemonade blossoms and a toughness that helps it to survive and flourish in minimally irrigated areas. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds love it.
Aside from being drought tolerant, Lemmon's Sage is heat tolerant and can take the chill of Zone 6. It grows well in full sun to partial shade and is a good choice for shrubby borders or patio containers.
(Glimmering White Mountain Sage) Heatwave Glimmer isn't a mirage. It is a Salvia microphylla that tolerates extremely hot climates as well as cooler coastal regions. It doesn't just survive; it thrives in the heat of Southern California, the Southwest and Texas.
Pale cream flowers with the slightest blush of pink contrast dramatically with dark calyxes and stems. The sage's well-branched frame is dense with large, green leaves that are heavily veined and aromatic.
At 2 feet tall and wide, this sage is just the right size for groundcover. It also looks lovely edging a path, as part of a shrub border or in a container. It is ideal for dry gardens, because Mountain Sage is a species native to the American Southwest and Mexico.
Although heat tolerant and drought resistant, this sage appreciates regular watering and can handle partial shade. It is adaptable and grows well in many kinds of soil as long as it gets good drainage. Butterflies and honeybees are drawn to it at bloom time, which is spring to fall with lightest production in summer.
(Scorching Pink Mountain Sage) Compact and small, this Mountain Sage is another fine groundcover for Southern California, the Southwest and Texas. Similar to Salvia microphylla 'Heatwave Glimmer', it not only survives but thrives in extreme heat.
Hot pink flowers contrast prettily with the sage's well-branched, dense green foliage. The leaves are heavily veined and aromatic.
At 2 feet tall and wide, this sage is also just the right for a container or edging a pathway. It looks lovely in a short shrub border and is ideal for dry native gardens. The Mountain Sage species is native to the semi-arid lands of the American Southwest and Mexico.
Although heat tolerant and drought resistant, this sage appreciates regular watering and can handle partial shade. It is adaptable and grows well in many kinds of soil as long as it gets good drainage. Butterflies and hummingbirds are drawn to it at bloom time, which is spring to fall with lightest production in summer. Deer, however, leave it alone.
For the record, Scorching Pink Mountain Sage also grows well in cooler regions and coastal climates.
(Orange Mountain Sage) This is the reddest of the Salvia regla species and the most floriferous. Side by side with the other varieties, Huntington Form is a bit taller and has darker flowers.
The rich reddish-orange of the blossoms almost seems to drip off the rumpled, blue-green foliage. Bloom time is summer and fall in USDA Zones 7 to 10. This full-sun plant looks especially attractive with yellow or white flowering Salvias.
A native of the Chisos Mountains in Southwestern Texas and of Mexico from Coahuila to Oaxaca, this sage is powerfully heat tolerant. Although it appreciates average watering based on local conditions, the species does well in waterwise gardens. Give it well-drained soil and grow it as a screen, tall shrub border or background plant. It grows 5 feet wide and tall! This is a favorite in native gardens and dry gardens.
Hummingbirds love this species, which has become an important nectar source for their southbound, autumn migration to the tropics. It's almost impossible to keep this plant in stock when in bloom.
(Cedar Sage) Scarlet flowers abound from spring through summer on this small, mounding, woodland sage that is native to Texas, Arizona and Northern Mexico. Grow it as a small scale groundcover or mix it with other shade-loving sages in a perennial border or along a path.
Native to Cedar, Juniper and Oak forests, this sage prefers partial shade and well-drained, acidic soil rich in organic matter. It does particularly well when mulched with the type of leaves found in its native forests. Although it likes regular watering based on local conditions, Cedar Sage does well in dry gardens.
This is a petite plant that only spreads about 12 inches wide. Yet if you plant a number of Salvia roemeriana in the right conditions, the plants will self seed and form colonies. We have never found it to be invasive.
(Texas Blue Sage) This is a cutie and a tough customer once established. It even grows well in caliche soils. Although Salvia texana typically blooms only during spring in Texas, it has a longer season stretching into fall up north.
Flower colors are in the blue range and include purple and violet. Our strain could be described as having the violet of Scarlet O’Hara eyes as well as pronounced white beelines. Its deep green, oblong leaves and bracts are covered with silky hairs so long that they look like eyelashes.
Although short at 12 to 24 inches tall, Texas Blue Sage is so charming that we like to crouch down to get a closer look. In Northern California, it thrives in full sun, but in Texas, it appreciates a bit of shade on the hottest days. This drought resistant Texas perennial does well in a dry garden, but also accepts regular watering in well drained soils.
It can be temperamental outside its native range, so please take special care with this species. Not a good plant for moist or humid parts of he country.
Grow it as a groundcover or in borders, native plant gardens and prairie-type landscapes. We agree with the butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees that visit this beauty: What’s not to love about it.
(Texas Firecracker) Hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you with frequent visits if you add this long-blooming plant to your wildlife garden. Its bright orange trumpet-type flowers with long, narrow petals are wells of delicious nectar.
Texas Firecracker is a subshrub, which means that it combines soft, herbaceous perennial foliage with some woodiness. It has slender, lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Trim it back in late winter for better form and fuller spring growth.
Although related to the Bears Breeches genus (Acanthus), Texas Firecracker lacks the thorny sepals of those plants. Anisacanthus is Greek for "without thorns." Wrightii means that this native Texas species is named for American botanist Charles Wright (1811-1885) who, beginning in 1837, spent 15 years collecting extensively in Texas.
This is a mid-height, heat-tolerant species that loves full sun. Texas Firecracker resists drought, but thrives with average watering based on local conditions. It does well in containers as well as mixed borders.
For pyrotechnical color in the garden, mix it with the clear, pumpkin-orange flowers of Golden Flame Texas Firecracker (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii) and the crimson blossoms of Red Texas Firecracker ( Anisacanthus wrightii 'Select Red').
Don't worry about deer; this plant isn't to their taste.
(Red Texas Firecracker) Hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you with frequent visits if you add this long-blooming plant to your wildlife garden. Its bright red trumpet-type flowers with long, narrow petals are wells of delicious nectar.
Red Texas Firecracker -- sometimes called Flame Anisacanthus -- is a subshrub, which means that it combines soft, herbaceous perennial foliage with some woodiness. It has slender, lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Trim it back in late winter for better form and fuller spring growth.
Although related to the Bears Breeches genus (Acanthus), Red Texas Firecracker lacks the thorny sepals of those plants. Anisacanthus is Greek for "without thorns." Wrightii means that this native Texas species is named for American botanist Charles Wright (1811-1885) who, beginning in 1837, spent 15 years collecting extensively in Texas.
This is a mid-height, heat-tolerant species that loves full sun. Red Texas Firecracker resists drought, but thrives with average watering based on local conditions. For pyrotechnical color in the garden, mix it with the orange flowers of Texas Firecracker (Anisacanthus wrightii) and the pumpkin orange blossoms of Golden Flame Texas Firecracker ( Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii).
Don't worry about deer; this plant isn't to their taste.
Nature doesn't come to a sudden, overall halt, when the timing of its ecosystems slip, including ones involving hummingbirds. Instead, change occurs gradually. Plants and the animals that pollinate them have coevolved to meet each other's needs. An example is the long beaks of hummingbirds and deep, tubular flowers. Both sides of this survival equation suffer when the phenology -- or timing -- of hummingbird and plant connections is thrown off. Recent scientific studies explore these shifts and climate change. You can help by planting hummingbird habitat in your home garden. We detail ten nectar-rich Salvias and companion plants that are hummingbird favorites.
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.
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: