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Salvia pomifera


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Salvia pomifera
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.

Limited Availability Plant
Limited Availability

Available May to July only.

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Description

(Fruit Sage) Also known as Apple Sage, this is an extremely drought-resistant plant. Its common names come from the small round fruit-like galls that an insect creates on its branches on the island of Crete where it is native to dry slopes.

The galls develop when a small gallfly, also called a gall wasp, invades the sage's branches -- something that also happens to Salvia fruticosa in its Grecian homeland. Some people eat these tart-flavored galls raw and others use them to create a sweet conserve. Herbalists also use the leaves as a folk remedy, such as in tea.

However, in USDA Zones 8 to 10, this fragrant, heat-tolerant sage is simply an elegant shrub that must be grown in dry soil.  Excess water during the growing season leads to a rapid demise.  Salvia pomifera thrives in full sun, even in dry clay soils. Yet it prefers ground that drains well.

From summer into fall, its pale white-to-lavender flowers attract honeybees and butterflies to dry gardens. Use it as a groundcover on a slope, as part of a shrub border or an edging for sunny pathways.

This sage is not common in the United States. We are very happy to be able to recommend it to gardeners in hot, arid regions.

Details

Product rating
 
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In stock
1 item(s) available

Common name
Fruit Sage
USDA Zones
8 - 10
Size (h/w/fh)
36"/48"/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
$8.50

Options

Quantity (1 available)




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

Container plant
Container plant
Culinary herb
Culinary herb
Medicinal herb
Medicinal herb
Fragrant
Fragrant

Growing Habit

8 - 10
8 - 10
36 inches tall
36 inches tall
48 inches wide
48 inches wide
Shrub
Shrub

Water Needs

Average water
Average water
Drought resistant
Drought resistant

Blooming Season

Fall blooming
Fall blooming
Summer blooming
Summer blooming

Wildlife

Honeybees
Honeybees
Butterflies
Butterflies
Deer resistant
Deer resistant
  • Libertia peregrinans

    (Bronze Sword) By turns golden, creamy green or outrageously orange, the blades of Bronze Sword rise about knee high. Its star-shaped white flowers, which bloom on shorter, branched stems, are a lovely pure white.

    But this member of the Iris-family (Iridaceae) is primarily grown for its striking foliage, which forms dense, stiff, upright fans. Some of the blades have a striped look. As British garden writer Sally Nex says, Bronze Sword is an evergreen that you might as well call "evergold" due to the way its coppery amalgam of colors shine in sunlight.

    Similar to other irises, Bronze Sword spreads by rhizomes. When crowded after a few years of growth, it's easy to dig it up so the roots can be separated for replanting.

    Bronze Sword is native to New Zealand. It grows well in areas with mild winters, but can tolerate USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 7 if protected with winter mulching and excellent drainage. It does well in any soil as long as the soil isn't persistently damp.

    Give this Iris full sun to partial shade. It thrives with average watering based on local conditions, but withstands drought. Bronze Sword looks attractive as path edging and groundcover as well as in borders, cut-flower gardens and seasonal flowerbeds. Don’t worry about deer grazing, because they don't like it.

    $8.00

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia africana-caerulea

    (Blue African Sage or Blousalie) A handsome, densely branched shrub with small, gray leaves, this Salvia puts on a show when in full bloom. The pale blue flowers bloom on foot-long spikes that cover the plant. Each flower has a large, trumpet-shaped, green-and-red bract at its base.

    This plant is widespread on the coastal hills and adjacent rocky hills of the South African Cape where it loves full sun. Used both as a culinary and medicinal herb by the native peoples of this area, it was adopted by Dutch colonials in the 18th century.

    Hardy and drought-resistant, Blue African Sage can be a foundation planting in your garden or an unusual container choice. It is a butterfly favorite that blooms from late spring through summer with abandon. We love this deer-resistant Salvia and believe it should be used more widely.

    Note: We have reason to believe this species may have greater cold tolerance than documented. Also, according to some taxonomists, the correct name for this species is now Salvia africana.
    $9.00
  • Salvia africana-lutea 'Kirstenbosch'

    (Kirstenbosch Golden Sage) This clone of the durable and tough Golden Sage was selected at Kirstenbosch, the famous South African Botanic Garden. It is more vigorous than Golden Sage and often grows larger.

    Young plants are dense with elliptical, woolly gray-green leaves. The 2-to-4-inch floral stems carry whorls of 1-to-2-inch-long bright yellow flowers that age to rusty orange. The flowers look somewhat withered when mature, making them both an attraction and an oddity. This culinary and medicinal plant blooms from early spring sporadically through fall.

    Shear back by 1/3 in late spring to encourage new basal growth. When established, it needs deep watering at least once a month in soil that is, preferably, sandy and loose.

    This is a tough, fragrant, resilient beauty. Similar to many plants from the Cape region, it needs fertilizer applied sparingly and acid-to-neutral, well-drained soil.
    $8.50
  • Salvia apiana

    (Sacred White Sage) Bees, hummingbirds and spiritual blessings are all connected to this elegant shrubby sage, which is an important herb to indigenous Californians and deserves a place in every salvia garden. Stiff and almost fleshy, its leaves are tight rosettes of brilliant, silvery white. The flower spikes soar above the foliage, with hundreds of small white-to-lavender flowers that are one of the most important sources of pollen and nectar for pollinators. This Salvia is also the source of leaves for Native American smudge sticks used in purification rituals.

    Slow growing but not difficult, this California native requires good drainage and full sun. In its dry-summer/wet-winter range, it often grows on rocky, south slopes.  Very little water is needed once the plant becomes established.

    Our strain is well adapted to the moist environment of coastal Northern California, and performs well in a wide variety of climates.  We select only the whitest and most compact plants for vegetative propagation, insuring a tidy shrub that will not overgrow its space.

    Historically, Sacred White Sage has been used in medicinal teas and ground into flour for cooking.  We burn the leaves in our home to sweeten and purify the air.  This is a beautiful and powerful plant.

    $8.50
  • Salvia broussonetii

    (Stiff Canary Island Sage) The large, light green, furry leaves of this water-wise Salvia are beautiful. The plant's lush foliage and stiff, somewhat stocky stems contrast nicely with its branched spikes of small, delicate-looking, white flowers.

    Native to the sea cliffs of two of the Canary Islands off the coast of Northwest Africa, this compact Salvia is shrubby in frost free areas and a herbaceous perennial elsewhere. Its velvety foliage pairs well with Salvia hians and Salvia forsskaolii for a fabulous summer show.

    $8.50
  • Salvia cedrosensis

    (Cedros Island Sage) From the Island of Cedars off the coast of Baja California Sur comes this delightful xeric sage with deep violet-blue flowers and silvery foliage. The square-shaped, 1-inch-long leaves are densely covered with short white hairs providing moisture retention and a velvety texture.

    This is a gem for xeric, full-sun gardens. It is easy to grow if you understand the conditions on Cedros Island, which are dry, hot and generally sunny. In their mountain-forest ecosystem, the minimal water that these plants receive is largely from occasional fog. So keep this plant mostly dry, give it perfect drainage and don't shade it if possible. Your reward will be a lovely edging plant, small-scale ground cover or a short but dramatic container plant.

    This Salvia is rare to find in cultivation; we are very happy to be able to supply this lovely plant.

    $9.50
  • Salvia chamaedryoides var. isochroma

    (Silver Germander Sage) With its compact habit, brilliant silver-white leaves and large, sky blue flowers, this is an outstanding heat-tolerant choice for dry, sunny gardens. We consider this to be one of the finest short ground covers for these conditions.

    Grow Silver Germander Sage in full sun and well-drained, loamy soil where you can see it up close.  Expect explosive blooming in the summer and fall when the weather warms and settles.

    We highly recommend this rarely seen variety of the green-leafed Germander Sage.
    $8.50
  • Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman'

    (Cleveland Sage or California Blue Sage) This drought-tolerant, evergreen, California native is a compact, aromatic shrub with electric blue-purple flowers that bloom in summer. Discovered in a Berkeley, California, garden, Winnifred Gilman is a fine variety of the species.

    We have grown it successfully without watering during the summer. The strongly scented flowers attract honeybees and hummingbirds in abundance.

    As far as we know -- and there is a great deal of anecdotal information about this variety -- this is a true S. clevlelandii, unlike the popular Alan Chickering' or Whirly Blue varieties. Winnifred Gilman is denser in it's growth than either of these cultivars and has darker flowers. A mid-height Salvia, it is attractive as a screen or border shrub and also is a good addition to a cut-flower garden.
    $8.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia cyanescens

    (Blue Turkish Sage) Large velvety gray-green to white leaves in loose rosettes give this sage a distinctive look as does the celestial violet-blue of its flowers. The blossoms seem much too large for this short sage and its thin, candelabra-branched flower spikes.

    Native to Iran and Turkey, it is drought-resistant and a fine choice for warm, dry spots. It grows slowly but is long-lived and tough.

    Blue Turkish Sage is perfect for use in a rock garden, on a slope, as part of a perennial border or in a dry garden. We highly recommend it as a container plant situated in a warm spot.

    Important Tips: This species appreciates limey soil and tolerates the cooler temperatures of Zone 6.
    $8.50
  • Salvia desoleana

    (Sardinian Sage) This is another must-have Salvia for mild, Mediterraneon climate gardens. It has elegant foliage and lovely, rosy lavender flowers. Sardinian Sage spreads non-invasively as an herbaceous perennial and almost never stops blooming for us on the coast of Northern California.

    When in bloom, this full sun plant is a magnet for honeybees and hummingbirds. Historically, it has also attracted followers of folk remedies and has been used in Europe to ease fevers.

    Similar to but denser than Salvia sclarea (Clary Sage), Sardinian Sage is native to the island of Sardinia and was one of our top 10 new plants for 2010. Although our photo doesn't do it justice, this is a lovely plant that looks great in perennial borders, dry gardens and containers.
    $8.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia fruticosa

    (Greek Sage) Most of the dried culinary sage sold in the United States is Greek Sage. Frescoes on the island of Crete, dating to 1400 BC, depict this plant used by the Phoenicians and Greeks for cooking and medicine. It is an ancient and beloved friend of mankind.

    In the garden, Greek Sage provides a pleasant lavender fragrance, especially on warm days, and has spikes of pink-to-lavender flowers. Similar to most culinary sages, it loves full sun and well-drained soil. However, it tolerates moist ground. This compact plant, which grows 24 inches tall and 18 inches wide, is a good choice for fragrant borders and patio containers as well as kitchen gardens.

    Grow this drought-resistant, heat-tolerant plant in well-drained soil that is on the dry side.  Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds will thank you with frequent visits.

    Although some cooks find Salvia oficinalis culinary sages tastier, Salvia fruticosa is easier to grow. It comprises 50 to 95% of the commercial market. We think it offers an interesting change of taste.
    $8.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia hierosolymitana

    (Jerusalem Sage) This lovely herbaceous perennial is native to Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank. Its clear pink flowers transition at times to a pink highlighted with violet lines and dots. Prominent glandular hairs on the buds, bracts and floral stems exude a fragrance that is delightful on a warm day.

    "Hierosolymitana" is related to the Greek word "hieros," which means holy and the Latin name for Jerusalem, "Hierosolyma." Palestinian Arabs sometimes use its leaves as a food wrap, similar to grape leaves. Jerusalem Sage needs full sun. Heat and drought tolerant, it seems to prefer being a bit dry.

    A short species that works well as a groundcover or border plant, Jerusalem Sage forms a basil rosette of mid-green leaves that gradually spread about 18 inches.  It blooms on and off throughout the growing season and seems especially generous in spring and fall.

    As with so many sages, this one is not appealing to deer.

    $8.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia keerli

    (Big Grape Sage) This lavender-flowered native of Northern Mexico resembles Salvia melissodora (Grape Scented Sage), but is bigger and also has larger leaves and flowers. It's a great companion plant for its little brother, which shares the same cultural needs and affinity for Zones 8 to 10. Both bloom from summer into fall.

    Similar to Salvia melissodora, this sage is used by the indigenous Tarahumara people of Chihuahua, Mexico, as a medicinal herb. Another commonality is that the flowers smell like ripe grapes, a fact that young children enjoy confirming. In addition to the fragrance of its flowers, Big Grape Sage has appealing leaves with furry, white undersides.

    Give this heat-tolerant Salvia a sunny, warm spot in well-drained soil. Then watch it grow without fuss. Although drought tolerant, it enjoys regular watering. Big Grape Sage is a good choice as a mid-height groundcover or in shrubby and herbaceous perennial borders.

    Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds highly recommend this sage, but deer avoid it.
    $9.00

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia kellermanii

    (Kellerman's Sage) Rare in the United States, this wooly leafed, upright shrub comes from Southern Mexico and Guatemala. Mid-size, powder-blue flowers bloom on its long, airy stems from summer through winter in mild climates. It's lovely in mixed, drought-resistant plantings.

    Named for American botanist William A. Kellerman, who began exploring Guatemala in 1904, this shrubby, medium-height sage stands up well to heat and may be more cold hardy than Zone 9. It has been confused with Salvia collinsii, which is much taller, less airy and has white/lavender blossoms.

    Butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy Kellerman's Sage, which is adaptable to either full sun or partial shade. It isn't picky about type of soil, but does need good drainage. Plant it in a container or as a shrubby border.
    $8.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia mellifera

    (Black Sage or Honey Sage) One of the most common and fragrant native shrubs in Central California's Coast Ranges, Black Sage is ideal for dry gardens. Admirably adaptable, it tolerates soils ranging from the most marginal to ones that are loamy and provide excellent drainage. It is a survivor.

    The elegant long wrinkled leaves are powerfully aromatic. Its small white-to-lavender whorls of flowers, which bloom from summer into fall, are vital sources of nectar and pollen for honeybees and hummingbirds.

    Use this garden workhorse for a large scale groundcover, as a background planting for other more dramatic Salvias or as a vital plant in a wildlife garden. It likes full sun and is heat tolerant.

    Our strain is originally from seed collected at the far northern edge of its range, and is hardy to at least 20 degrees F.
    $8.50
  • Salvia recognita

    (Turkish Cliff Sage) Spring into early summer, Turkish Cliff Sage produces erect, branching flower spikes 24 to 36 inches long that rise from basal foliage. They’re covered with whorls of pale pink blossoms with delicate white markings.

    Salvia recognita is endemic to Central Turkey, which means that is the only place where it originates in the wild. It's found at the base of cliffs at altitudes up to 4,000 feet where heat tolerance and drought resistance are necessary for survival. Long silky hairs give the plant’s light green leaves a grayish cast and help them conserve moisture. The leaves vary in size from 3 to 12 inches long.

    As a cliff dweller, this heat-tolerant sage is adjusted to rocky, dry soils. However, we’ve found that it can handle regular watering and isn’t picky about soil types except for requiring good drainage. It does well in either full sun or partial shade.

    Although deer don’t consider Salvia recognita a good snack, honeybees and butterflies love it. In the ground, it can grow from 3 to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. So it works well as a background or border planting. With careful trimming, it also looks lovely in containers.
    $8.50
  • Salvia scabra

    (Coastal Blue Sage) Native from the sandy shores to brushy slopes of South Africa's East Cape, this sub-shrub sage is noted for growing easily in gardens elsewhere. Its lovely purplish-pink flowers have a subtle blue sparkle in bright sun and bloom spring to fall.

    Sub-shrubs are perennials with woody stems as well as soft herbaceous growth. This one has heavily lobed, lyre-shaped leaves. They are a deep green, which is unusual for Salvias from South Africa where velvety hairs often make foliage appear silvery and also help conserve moisture. Scabra refers to the roughness of this plant's leaves.

    In its homeland, the fuzzy flower spikes of Coastal Blue Sage grow up to 36 inches above the clumping, basal foliage. In USDA Zones 8 to 11, you can expect heights of 18 to 24 inches with a spread of 24 inches. Give this sage full sun, any well-drained soil and average watering based on local conditions.

    Use this lovely little sage as a small-scale groundcover, container plant or front-of-border selection. It grows particularly well in dry gardens. This plant deserves wider use.
    $8.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia scordifolia

    (Scordy Sage) Little is known about this shrubby Ecuadorian native. However, this is another sage that sells itself instantly when seen in bloom. The large clusters of rich, deep violet flowers bloom summer to fall, attracting honeybees and hummingbirds.

    Its dainty, velvety, gray-green foliage makes it look similar to its Southern California relative Grape Scented Sage (Salvia melissodora), but Scordy Sage is easier to grow and, to us, seems stronger in a home garden. All it needs is full sun, good drainage and average watering. It grows well in USDA Zone 7 to 9 gardens.

    This drought-resistant sage is also related to Big Grape Sage (Salvia keerli). At 36 inches tall and wide, Scordy Sage is a ideal for the middle of a border, the edge of a path or any kind of sunny, dry garden.

    Highly recommended.
    $9.00

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia taraxacifolia

    (Dandelion Leaf Sage) Brush or bruise the basal foliage of this Moroccan Salvia and it exudes a citrusy fragrance. Petite and heat tolerant, this is a sturdy, adaptable groundcover.

    The late James C. Archibald of the Scottish Rock and Garden Club once described the plant's homeland -- the Atlas Mountains of Morocco -- as being "high, barren" and "snow-streaked." He collected specimens there in 1962 and noted that the plant retains its dwarf-like height better in dry, poor, gravelly soil.

    Taraxacifolia refers to the dandelion-like appearance of the plant's foliage. However, this is a non-invasive sage. Forming tight, low rosettes that spread gently, the gray-green, lyre-shaped leaves are heavily indented. The foot-tall spikes of large, soft, pink flowers bloom from summer into fall. 

    This perennial withstands light foot traffic, which is useful in a groundcover. Heat resistant and drought tolerant, it thrives in full sun and dry gardens with well-drained soil. However, it can also handle average watering based on local conditions. Dandelion Leaf Sage grows well in USDA Zones 7 to 11 where it is evergreen down to 20 degrees F and hardy to 10 degrees F if winter mulched.

    We like this easy-to-grow, uncommon sage and are glad that deer do not.

    $8.50
  • Salvia tingitana

    (Mauretania Tingitana Sage) Native to Saudi Arabia, this sage has a long history of cultivation going back 400 years and weaving throughout various countries in the Middle East and North Africa before arriving in Europe in the 1700s. It was first described scientifically in 1777.

    Before the discovery of its Saudi Arabian connection in 1989, the origin of this heat- and drought-tolerant perennial was a hotly debated mystery. Was it native to Egypt, Syria, Aleppo, Tunis or Tangier?

    Tingitana grows in a wide range of conditions and is particularly useful as a border or cut-flower plant in dry gardens. It branches freely and features flower spikes with large numbers of 1-inch-long, bicolor, yellow and lavender blossoms. The roseleaf-type foliage is lime green, heavily textured and fragrant.

    Given full sun and well drained soil, this lovely sage forms a compact mound that also looks pretty in patio containers. This plant deserves to find a home in more gardens.

    Highly recommended.
    $9.00
  • Salvia villosa

    (Hairy Sage) In 1877, J.G. Schaffner of Germany -- also known as Johann Wilhelm Schaffner -- collected the small, airy looking Salvia villosa while working as a pharmacist in the town of San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

    Perhaps it was the cool powder blue and softly blended white beelines of the half-inch-long flowers that caught his eye. They bloom from summer into fall. Or maybe it was the contrast of the plants fuzzy, silvery gray foliage that made him take a specimen. In time, American botanist Merritt Lyndon Fernald would give the plant its scientific name using the term villosa to indicate its hairy quality.

    Hairy foliage conserves moisture. Salvia villosa is ideal for dry gardens, such as rockeries, due to its excellent drought resistance. It is heat tolerant and grows best in dry climates where it doesn't have to deal with much winter moisture.

    When these conditions are met, this pretty, little sage is a pleasing plant. To help it succeed outside the Southwest, we recommend growing it in a container where it can be sheltered from heavy winter moisture. Give this plant full sun, great drainage and limited water in USDA Zones 8 to 11. That's all it needs.

    Very limited.
    $9.00

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Sideritis oroteneriffae

    (Canary Island White Sage) Thick, almost succulent leaves are so furry and white that everyone that sees this Canary Island native reaches out to stroke it. A true standout in a hot dry garden, this tough plant is the perfect background to show off the brightly colored flowers of many Salvias.

    Tiny yellow flowers in whorls are not showy, but clearly identify this plant as a close relative to Salvias.  Rare in cultivation, this is a fine garden plant for harsh conditions - and even grows well for us on the Northern California Coast.

    Grow in dryish, well drained soil in full sun and enjoy this unique Salvia companion,
    $7.00

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia thymoides

    (Thyme Leaf Sage) The tiny leaves of this gem look like white, wooly, dense Thyme foliage. Although only 12 inches tall and wide, it is a well-branched sub-shrub. The foliage contrasts handsomely with small cerulean blue flowers that have prominent beelines.

    This is a plant to see up close in a container or rock garden. However, it's also an excellent choice for path edging or front of border with other shrubby Salvias. It excels in dry gardens.

    Thyme Leaf Sage is native to a small region in Mexico on the border of Oaxaca and Puebla states. It grows at elevations from 7,000 feet to 9,000 feet in cloud forest conditions where the majority of moisture received comes from fog condensation. In America, it grows well in USDA Zones 8 to 11.

    Give this sage full sun and well-drained soil that tends toward dryness. We have seen it thrive in a variety of climates if these basic requirements are met.
    $8.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia dominica

    (Dominican Sage) Native to Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, this candelabra-shaped, perennial sage may have inspired the design of the menorah, (Exodus 37:17). It is a tough, drought-resistant plant with silver-haired foliage and bright white flowers that seem to blaze.

    The specific epitaph dominica means "belonging to the Lord."  This medicinal sage has a heavenly fragrance and is used in perfumery, cosmetics and the production of a rare essential oil. Plant it in full sun as a compact border or in a dry garden. It makes a fine groundcover.

    Dominican Sage thrives in poor yet well-drained soil and doesn't require much water.  We have found it to be durable, but it does not tolerate wet, cold winters.  However, the fragrance of this plant on a warm day makes it worth growing as an annual.

    $8.50
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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.




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Reviews


I grew this plant last year and loved it. The color and long lasting flowers kept coming well into October. I live in Arlington, Virginia, and we are zone 7. We had a very harsh winter and it didn't come back this year. I will grow it again. It i...
Merilyn Hanowell
Sep 4, 2014