(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.
(Closed Sage) Yellow flowers are rare among Salvias. So this elegant European sage is greatly appreciated. It is an herbaceous, summer-flowering perennial that has become naturalized in eight states in the U.S. The common name refers to its flowers self-pollinating before opening.
Closed Sage is an introduced species in Alabama, California, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia where it survives cold winter zones as well as ones with mild weather.
Although it requires well-drained soil, this drought-resistant sage is a candidate for less-than-perfect growing conditions. It thrives on neglect and full sun. Use this adaptable sage in wild parts of the yard where it will attract honeybees and hummingbirds. It also adds a wildflower touch to border plantings.
The nomenclature of the species is confusing. S. cleistogama seems to be the proper name for what was previously S. verbenacea. We think it is a different plant. In fact, one grower calls it the "Mystery Sage."
(White 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 'Augusta Deulberg' is the best white flowering cultivar of the lot. The story behind this plant and its closely related, blue-flowering mate Salvia farinacea 'Henry 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 Augusta or Henry! 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 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.
(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.
As autumn days become shorter, so does time for protecting all your tender perennial sages (Salvia spp.) that nature designed for warmer winter conditions. This is the fifth and final article in our current Quick Digs series on preparation for winter in the Salvia garden. This post acknowledges that it isn't always possible or even preferable to overwinter tender perennial sages. Sometimes it is better to replant favorites as annuals in spring.
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.
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.