These are species whose stems never develop a woody character and that either die to the ground or loose leaves and become unsightly at the end of a growing season. This group includes both hardy and tender types. Many of the tender forms are grown as annuals in cold winter areas.
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.
During the spring and summer, you can completely cut to the ground any stems that have finished blooming and are becoming unsightly.
In mild climate areas, growth can be so rapid that the entire plant becomes messy and spent mid-way through the season. In this case, it can be cut back close to the ground – given a short “haircut”. The result usually is fresh, vigorous new growth and another round of flowering.
(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.
(Blue Chiquita Sage) This unusual and now rare variety was first discovered by the Yucca Do Nursery during their 1997 expedition in Mexico. Growing into a small, tight mound with silvery-blue leaves, it explodes in the fall with pale blue flowers on tall spikes.
Blue Chiquita has been in the nursery trade on and off for many years, and is now quite rare. It is not particularly easy to grow (for us on the coast of Northern California), needing warm dry days but rich soil and adequate water to be at its best. At times the name Salvia longispicata has been used in addition to the common name, but we have been unable to verify its authenticity.
When grown well this is nothing short of spectacular in the fall garden, and is well worth a little extra effort.
(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.
(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.
(Byron's Mexican Sage) One of our favorite Mexican Sages, this large variety is reputed to be a hybrid between Salvia mexicana and S. hispanica -- a species of Chia Sage.
Byron's Mexican Sage grows up to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Its large, fall-blooming flowers are deep violet with bi-color calyxes that are bright green with dark purple streaks. Hummingbirds and honeybees love the blossoms.
Unlike its parent species, this plant is fragrant. It's also the strongest growing and longest blooming type of S. mexicana that we grow.
We have found this variety to be exceptionally drought resistant, but it does best with regular watering. It also appreciates rich, well-drained soil. Grow this perennial as an accent, screen or part of a tall border. We've voted it our very best Salvia mexicana.
(Azure Hybrid Sage) Despite its name, the flowers of this tiny hybrid aren't really blue. They are a light purple. Due to its size, long bloom time, heat tolerance and drought resistance, Salvia x 'Mesa Azure' is a fine groundcover for areas where summers are hot and dry.
This sage may be related to Salvia microphylla and S. greggii, which are native to the American Southwest as well as Mexico. Its parentage is a mystery. However it displays many traits from those plants, including being an excellent choice for dry or native gardens.
Garden uses include short borders, flower beds, edging for pathways and containers. Azure Mountain blooms in waves from spring to fall in USDA Zones 7 to 9. Hummingbirds enjoy its nectar.
Aside from unusually large flowers, Azure Hybrid Sage is dense with large, wrinkled, heavily veined leaves. The foliage is so handsome that the plant is attractive even when out of bloom.
For the record, this sage also grows well in cooler climates, such as coastal areas. Limit watering, because it likes soil on the dry side. Provide a location with full sun to partial shade.
(Big Pitcher Sage) As its scientific name indicates, this sage has very large flowers. They are almost two-tone, changing from deep violet to a light blue or white at their base where they are cupped by dusky purple calyxes.
The tall, sprawling stems of this sage are just right in mixed plantings. That is how they grow in the wild from Texas to Nebraska on the Great Prairie.
This heat- and cold-tolerant sage is a superb choice for the native or wild garden. It's also at home in the back or middle of more refined borders. Anywhere you put it, expect bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to buzz in for its pleasures.
Although drought tolerant, this perennial sage appreciates regular watering. It is adaptable from USDA Zone 4 to 9 where it blooms from late summer into fall. Give it full sun, but this plant will tolerate some partial shade. It handles almost any kind of soil that drains well.
Finally, you need to know that this is another sage with naming challenges: Is it a variety of Salvia azurea as some say? We think it is significantly different, and is a species on its own. In any case, we love its bright blue blooms, especially when poking up amid shrubby sages such as Salvia regla.
(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.
NOTE: Theses are slow to propagate, and generally take at least 8 weeks for an appropriate plant to be grown.
(Great Orange Mountain Sage) Densely branched with small, dark green leaves, this variety of Salvia regla also features creamy orange flowers with white markings.
Queretaro Form stands out in mixed plantings of the species and other sages. It is also one of the longest blooming varieties. As its name indicates this variety comes from the mountainous state of Queretaro, Mexico. Overall, the species is native to the Chisos Mountains in Southwestern Texas and in Mexico from Coahuila to Oaxaca.
This full-sun sage is powerfully heat tolerant. Although it appreciates average watering based on local conditions, it does well in waterwise gardens. Give it well-drained soil and grow it as a screen, shrub border or background plant.
Queretaro Form is refined enough to be used in a foundation planting and tough enough for a native plant or dry garden.
NOTE: Theses are slow to propagate, and generally take at least 8 weeks for an appropriate plant to be grown.
(Summer Skies West Texas Grass Sage) Butterflies and honeybees particularly favor this West Texas mountain native. In contrast to the true blue flowers of regular Salvia reptans, this cultivar has purple blossoms with cloud-like, lavender-to-white throats.
Summer Skies tolerates heat, cold and drought. It grows best in Mediterranean-style coastal areas and semi-arid climates. The scientific epithet repens refers to its creeping roots that spread like a mat-forming grass helping to conserve moisture in the soil.
Although this tough perennial handles full-sun, it does particularly well with morning sun and afternoon shade, especially where summers are extremely hot. Give it rich, well-drained soil and average watering depending on your local conditions. However, this is a sage that grows well in dry gardens.
Salvia repens is a narrow, vertical species. Its whorled flowers are widely spaced on tall, slender flower spikes. It looks pretty as an accent plant, standing alone or in a mixed border poking out amid plants with denser foliage.
New Mexico's High Country Gardens developed Summer Skies after discovering it as a happy purple accident amid cobalt sages. You might say it came from out of the blue.
(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.
(California Drought Action Pack) The drought in Texas 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. As much as possible we'll use Texas native plants.
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.
NOTE: This package is not available year-round,
Some of the plants
We also include a detailed Planting Guide, to insure your success.
We offer this for the Fall planting season only, now through November 1st, with free shipping anywhere in Texas. We suggest that you plant these between October 1st and November 15th, the easiest time to establish plants in the garden. 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 Texas residents only.
(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.
In Spanish, Mejorana means "marjoram”. Similar to oregano-type Marjoram – another Mint family member -- this sage is used to flavor meat dishes. Our cultivar, which is native to Texas and Mexico, has lovely bluish-purple flowers that bloom summer to fall amid fragrant, fine, furry green foliage.
Don’t give this tough sage fertilizer or too much water. It is adjusted to rocky, gravely limestone soils such as those of the Edward’s Plateau in South Central Texas. However, it can handle a medium loamy soil. In nature, it grows on brushlands, including hillsides and thickets.
At 72 inches tall and wide, this heat-tolerant, drought-resistant plant makes a fine screen or border in a dry garden or a woodland setting with dry shade. It also does well in full sun. Butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees love its nectar. Although deer have been known to nibble on Mejorana, it is not one of their favorite foods.
One of Mejorana’s other common names is Shrubby Blue Sage, but there are also white- and purple-flowering varieties. Salvia ballotaeflora is also known botanically as S. ballotiflora . Rock Sage (S. pinguifolia) is a purple-flowering relative that is native from Arizona into Texas and is sometimes referred to as S. ballotaeflora or S. ballotiflora .
(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.
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:
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.