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Salvia pratensis 'Proud Mary'

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Salvia pratensis 'Proud Mary'

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Ideal for Fall Planting

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(Bi-Color Meadow Sage or Meadow Clary Sage) Exceptionally cold tolerant, Salvia pratensis 'Proud Mary' is our own seed-grown strain of a plant identical to the patented S. pratensis 'Madeline'.

We gave Proud Mary the common name of Bi-Color Meadow Sage, because its parrot-beak shaped blossoms are purple on the top lip and white on the bottom. S. pratensis often is called Meadow Clary, so that explains the second common name.

This clump-forming sage's fragrant foliage is mid-green with larger oblong basal leaves. Smaller leaves sparsely punctuate flower spikes dense with blossoms.

This hardy perennial is part of the European Meadow Sage group, which is adaptable from full sun to partial shade. Meadow Sages are known for surviving chilly winters and adapting from full sun to partial shade. They do well with regular supplemental watering based on local rainfall. However, they enjoy lots of moisture as long as soil drainage is good.

Unlike some of its relatives, Bi-Color Meadow Sage tolerates heat. This long-blooming beauty is a favorite with butterflies and honeybees.


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Common name  
Bi-Color Meadow Sage or Meadow Clary Sage
USDA Zones  
3 - 9
Size (h/w/fh)  
Full sun
Soil type  
Well drained
Water needs  
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
Our price


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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.


Full sun
Full sun
Heat tolerant
Heat tolerant
Partial shade
Partial shade

Garden Uses


Growing Habit

3 - 9
3 - 9
12 inches tall
12 inches tall
12 inches wide
12 inches wide

Water Needs

Average water
Average water
Water loving
Water loving

Blooming Season

Spring blooming
Spring blooming
Summer blooming
Summer blooming




Salvias and their companion plants pop with color. Sweep your eyes from top to the bottom here for an impression of this plant's color combinations. The first row displays blossoms from primary to less dominant shades and includes any contrasting throat color. The second tier is the main hue of leaf-like bracts or calyxes supporting the flowers. Foliage (one or two colors) leafs out in the bottom row.
Primary color - Light Violet
RHS# 94D

Throat color - Very Pale Purple - RHS# 76C

Secondary color - Brilliant Violet
RHS# 90C

Bract color - Dark Red
RHS# 187A

Leaf color - Moderate Yellowish Green
RHS# 137D

Learn more about how we analyze plant colors
Ready for some pruning?

Rosette growing herbaceous perennial Salvias

These are herbaceous perennial species with low mounds of foliage and flowers on stems that grow erect from the base of the plant.

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

During spring and summer, completely remove any flowering stems that become spent.

Dormant Season Pruning

At the end of the season, cut to ground any remaining flower stems.

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

  • Salvia amplexicaulis

    (Stem Clasping Violet Sage)  Like a candelabra lit up with whorls of violet blossoms, the erect, branching flower spikes of Salvia amplexicaulis make this native of Southeastern Europe shine. On the Grecian island of Thassos, it brightens areas near the beach.

    The summer-blooming flowers are nestled inside leaf-like burgundy bracts that attach directly to, or clasp, the flower stems without petioles. This gives the plant its common name. Its bright green, fragrant foliage has attractively bumpy, lance-shaped leaves. This sage is a good choice for perennial borders, woodland gardens and cut-flower beds.

    Although S. amplexicaulis does fine with regular watering, it does love moisture. So it is an ideal choice for moist problem areas in the yard. Give it a setting with full sun to partial shade along with average garden soil that drains well. Deadhead the flowers to prolong bloom time and keep butterflies visiting. Speaking of wildlife, deer tend to avoid most sages including this one.

    Here’s another reason to love this pretty plant: Scientists think that the essential oil of S. amplexicaulis may be useful in fighting bacterial infections.

    Here is a link to a great set of pictures for this plant.



  • Salvia atropatana

    (Iranian Oil Sage) Butterflies and honeybees are drawn to the long blooming, dusky violet-blue flowers of Salvia atropatana. However, deer say no to its charms, due to its essential oils being less than tasty.

    When not in bloom, Iranian Oil Sage appears petite. But then it shoots out long, branched flower spikes that are attractively dark and fuzzy. It grows well in full sun to partial shade, thrives with average watering based on local rainfall and tolerates heat and cold.

    Native to Central Asia from Southeast Turkey to Iran, this Meadow Sage is closely related to S. pratensis. Its oils are the topic of Iranian cancer research. A 2013 study by Shiraz University indicates potential antioxidant use.

    In 1873, Baltic botanist Alexander Georg von Bunge gave S. atropatana its name in his scientific memoir Labiatae Persicae. The book details plants in the mint family -- now mostly referred to as Laminaceae -- that Bunge encountered during his Asian plant explorations.

    According to Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, scientific synonyms for this perennial include S. bachtiarica, which Bunge had identified as a separate species in his book, and S. kopetdaghensis.

  • Salvia cadmica

    Whorls of deep violet blossoms are cupped by dark bracts on the flower spikes of this mid-height herbaceous sage from Turkey. Its bright green foliage is thick, corrugated and fragrant. This plant is lovely and hardy, so it is surprising that it wasn’t introduced to commercial cultivation until 2007.

    Salvia cadmica is an adaptable, heat-tolerant perennial that grows well in partial shade to full sun and blooms from late spring through early summer. It does well in USDA Zones 7 to 10, either in dry conditions or with regular watering due to its ability to tolerate drought.

    In its homeland, it thrives in rocky, well-drained soil at altitudes of about 3,000 to 5,000 feet. It is endemic to Turkey, which means that is the only country where it grows wild without human intervention. There are nearly 100 species of salvia native to Turkey, of which more than 50 percent are endemic.

    This colorful sage sometimes is mistaken for a neighboring plant, Salvia smyrnea and is occasionally referred to by the synonym Salvia conradii Staph .

    Use it in perennial borders, along pathways and in dry gardens. Honeybees and butterflies will soon discover it and aid pollination throughout your gardens. Deer, however, will leave it alone.



  • Salvia haematodes

    (Red Veined Sage) In 1827, John Wilkes referred to Salvia haematodes as "Bloody Sage" in his Encyclopaedia Londinensis, Volume 22. This might seem mysterious when first viewing the sage's upright yet somewhat relaxed spikes of whorled, violet-colored flowers.

    However, whether called "bloody" or "red veined," the species gets its common names from the red veins on the underside of its basal foliage. The large leaves are blue-green and shaped like spear tips.

    Red Veined Sage is a petite, long-blooming species that has fragrant foliage. It grows well in full sun or partial shade and is a good solution for damp parts of the yard. Although water loving, this perennial can get by on average watering. Also, it is an extremely cold-hardy species.

    Honeybees and butterflies enjoy the nectar and pollen of Salvia haematodes. Deer stay away from its foliage and its flowers, which are pretty in cut-flower arrangements.

    Not that we recommend chewing on them, but the plant's thick roots are used in Indian ayurvedic medicine as an aphrodisiac. Also, a 1984 Indian medical study involving mice shows that the root has analgesic properties.

     A 1984 medical study from India, which involved mice, shows that an extract made from Salvia haematodes root may be an effective analgesic.



  • Salvia nemorosa 'Blau Hügel'

    (Blau Hügel Meadow Sage) When in bloom, petite Salvia nemorosa 'Blau Hügel' more than doubles in height. In English, the varietal name means "Blue Hill." Its tall, spike-like racemes of violet-blue flowers are so dense and compact that this woodland sage is sometimes called "Blue Mound."

    This hardy perennial sage is a longtime favorite that German nurseryman Ernst Pagels introduced in the late 1950s. Pagels was a major influence on the naturalistic style of Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf. The Remembrance Gardens of New York's Battery Park, designed by Oudolf, contain Blau Hügel Sage.

    Blau Hügel is part of the European Meadow Sage group, which is comprised of four main species -- S. nemorosa, S. pratensis, S. x sylvestris and S. x superba.

    European Meadow Sages are adaptable from full sun to partial shade. They are known for excellent cold tolerance, adaptability from full sun to partial shade and appreciation of lots of moisture as long as soil drainage is good. Unlike some of its relatives, this variety also tolerates heat.

    Due to a randy habit of cross hybridizing, confusion occurs in scientific naming of Meadow Sages. For example, S. nemorosa 'Blau Hügel' sometimes is referred to as a type of S. x sylvestris.

    Whatever you call it, this long-blooming sage is a blue plate special for butterflies and honeybees. Fortunately, similar to so many Salvias, this plant doesn't call deer to dinner.



  • Salvia nemorosa 'Burgundy Candles'

    (Burgundy Candles Meadow Sage) When the burgundy buds of Salvia nemorosa 'Burgundy Candles' open, deep violet-blue flowers emerge. They are supported by burgundy and green bracts on purple stems.

    The veined, lance-shaped leaves of this 2012 introduction are dark green and have serrated margins. Rising vertically above the foliage, the flower spikes look like cool flames. This long-blooming cultivar, which is native to Europe and Asia, is attractive to butterflies but not deer.

    The mother plant -- Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna' -- was exposed to other Meadow Sages in a Ball Horticultural greenhouse. So Burgundy Candles Meadow Sage resulted from open pollination, and the father plant is unknown. Prodigious plant hybridizer Scott C. Trees is the inventor.

    Ball describes this hybrid as being "most similar" to the unpatented Salvia nemorosa 'May Night', except for variations in flower and bract color.

    Meadow Sages are fragrant perennials known for their ease of care and adaptability, including tolerance of heat and cold. As their group name implies, they commonly grow wild in meadows and pastures. This one does well in many kinds of soil as long as drainage is good. Give it average to ample water and full sun to partial shade.



  • Salvia nemorosa 'Royal Crimson Distinction'

    (Royal Crimson Distinction Woodland Sage) Grown for hundreds of years in cottage gardens throughout the world, Salvia nemorosa was described by Carl Linneaus in 1762. This variety's large flower spikes bloom a dark violet-crimson, then age to a softer pink.

    The species has experienced a great deal of breeding and improvement since the 1800s. Royal Crimson Distinction is one of the finest varieties we have seen to date. It tolerates the year-round warmth of Zone 9 as well as the winter chill of Zone 6

    This water-loving sage blooms from spring through summer, attracting bumblebees, butterflies and hummingbirds, but not deer. It grows best in a sunny spot, but can tolerate partial shade. Plant it in well-drained soil with average fertility.

    Long blooming and tough, this plant has become a mainstay of perennial borders worldwide. At 24 inches tall, it also works well as a groundcover or edging a path.

    Highly recommended.



  • Salvia pratensis 'Indigo'

    (Indigo Meadow Sage) When massed, this European sage compels attention during summer with its upright, foot-long spikes of deep violet-blue flowers and hairy, gray-green, basal foliage.

    Indigo Meadow Sage is ideal for cut-flower bouquets. It's also ideal for attracting butterflies and honeybees. Further good news is that deer avoid it.

    A water-loving Salvia, Indigo Meadow Sage is a good solution for persistently moist areas of the yard. Yet it also thrives with average watering based on local conditions.

    Meadow Sages are perennials known for their ease of care and adaptability, including tolerance of heat and cold. As their group name implies, they commonly grow wild in meadows and pastures. This one does well in many kinds of soil as long as drainage is good. Give it full sun to partial shade.

    The U.K.'s Royal Horticultural Society gave Indigo Meadow Sage an Award of Garden Merit. It's a well-deserved honor.



  • Salvia pratensis 'Lapis Lazuli'

    (Lapis Lazuli Meadow Sage) Ethereal, lilac-pink, parrot-shaped blossoms abound on the tall flower spikes of this Salvia pratensis cultivar. So don’t expect a blue as the name indicates, but do expect great beauty during summer bloom time.

    At 18 to 30 inches tall with a spread of 18 inches, this is a good plant for the second row of a layered, perennial border. Gray-green, dense and fragrant, its basal foliage works well as a groundcover in woodland gardens. Or add it as a central element in summer patio containers. Wherever you plant it, expect visits from honeybees and butterflies.

    When first planted, the foliage rosette resembles the leaves of primrose plants.

    Meadow Sages are native to Europe and Asia. The parent of this cultivar was first recorded in the late 17th century in the Kent area of Southeast England. Salvia pratensis is now considered an endangered species in England due to its rarity and decline.

    In 2008, a botanical preserve in Kent reported the theft of all its Salvia pratensis plants, an offense under England’s 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. In contrast, the species is classified as invasive in Washington state. We have not noticed that to be the case in our gardens.

    This is another cold-tolerant Meadow Sage and grows well in USDA Zones 5 to 9. Although it can survive drought, Lapis Lazuli Meadow Sage needs regular watering for best bloom. Keep it moist but not soggy. Plant it in average garden soil that isn’t too rich, but contains enough organic matter for good drainage. A location with morning sun and afternoon shade is best.

    Salvia pratensis is part of a closely connected group of Meadow Sages, including Salvia x sylvestris , Salvia x superba and Salvia nemorosa. As with other sages, in general, Lapis Lazuli’s foliage is safe from deer and rabbits.


  • Salvia pratensis 'Swan Lake'

    (White Meadow Sage) Whorls of pure white flowers shaped like parrot beaks rise on tall spikes from the wrinkly, basal foliage of Salvia pratensis 'Swan Lake'. The large, mid-green leaves have attractively serrated edges.

    Germany's Jelitto Seeds introduced Swan Lake as part of its Salvia pratensis Ballet Series.

    This long-blooming plant is a member of the Meadow Sage group, which includes S. sylvestris, S. superba and S. nemorosa. Similar to other meadow sages, it attracts honeybees and butterflies but not deer.

    Meadow Sages are native to Europe and Asia. The parent of this cultivar was first recorded in the late 17th century in the Kent area of Southeast England. Salvia pratensis is now considered an endangered species in England due to its rarity.

    Salvia pratensis 'Swan Lake' tolerates drought, but loves water. Average watering based on local conditions encourages best bloom. Keep it moist but not soggy in soil that contains enough organic matter for good drainage. Locate it in full sun to partial shade; morning sun and afternoon shade are optimum.



  • Salvia verbenacea

    (Wild Sage) Toothed and attractively wrinkled, the gray-green, basal foliage of Wild Sage contrasts prettily with deep lavender-to-purple flowers supported by grassy green bracts. This cold-hardy sage is native to northern Africa and parts of Asia and Europe.

    A tough, long-blooming perennial, Wild Sage also tolerates heat and does well in full sun to partial shade. Although a water lover, it is a drought-resistant species.

    This plant is known by a number of names. Scientifically, Salvia verbenaca is a synonym. Other common names include Wild Clary, Verbena Sage and Vervain Sage.

    Wild Sage isn't native to any parts of North America, but has naturalized in Alabama, California, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. It favors pastures, grasslands, woodlands, roadsides and even sandy coastal soils. In England, it is sometimes found in churchyards, which may be due to the medieval ritual of planting the seeds on graves.

    Fragrant and easy to grow, Wild Sage makes a good groundcover that honeybees and butterflies enjoy. Deer leave it alone.



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Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Average Watering?

Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Average Watering?

Category: Ask Mr. Sage
Posted: Aug 6, 2015 04:15 PM
Synopsis: Confusion about watering of plants is understandable, because moisture needs vary so much from one species to another. It also varies based on your local growing conditions. Ask Mr. Sage, a regular feature of the Everything Salvias blog at Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery, explains the differences between the labels drought resistant, average water and water loving classifications for estimating water needs. Some FBTS average water plants also grow well in dry or damp settings.
Getting Started: Salvias for New England

Getting Started: Salvias for New England

Category: Getting Started with Salvias
Posted: Apr 30, 2015 11:21 AM
Synopsis: Some people think you only find sage and coyotes out West. But Canis latrans, the Eastern Coyote, slipped into New England in the 1930s, and who knows when all the sages arrived? The New England Wild Flower Society notes that Lyreleaf Sage (Salvia lyrata) is the region's only native sage. It's one among many Salvia species grown in the Botanic Garden of Smith College in Massachusetts, which has one of the largest collections of sage in the region. Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery raises hundreds of sages, including many northeastern favorites.
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.