(Venezuelan Red Sage) Purple stems and calyxes so dark that they almost look black contrast dramatically with the deep red-orange flowers of this South American beauty. This tall, spectacular sage has been in cultivation for decades but is still rare in gardens. We'd like to see that change.
The heavily textured leaves are large, growing about 4 inches long and 3 inches wide. They are hairy, which gives the foliage a silvery appearance. The flower spikes grow up to 2 feet tall.
This is a robust shrub that requires full sun to partial shade, average watering and rich, well-drained soil. Plant it in a prominent place so you can enjoy its long bloom throughout fall as well as the hummingbirds who use it regularly. At our farm its flowering synchronizes with the Dahlias. Garden uses include shrub borders, cut-flower gardens, background plantings and patio containers.
Rubescens refers to the reddish color of the flowers. This native of Venezuela was first described by Reinhard Gustav Paul Kunth in 1817.
Although we list this species for USDA Cold Hardiness Zones 9 to 11, we believe it may be hardy to Zone 8 winters if treated as an herbaceous perennial and well mulched.
These are species that produce woody stems, but die back to the ground in the winter in all but the warmest climates. In warm winter areas these can become woody shrubs, but they generally benefit from the following pruning methods.
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.
(Diablo Eyelash Sage) Small, eyelash-like hairs on the edge of its leaves give this Mexican native part of its name. It earns "Diablo," which means "devil" in Spanish, from the two yellow stamens that stand up out of each flower like horns.
This compact, gently mounding Salvia spreads gradually by underground stolons. Its rich red flowers are darker in full sun and paler in partial shade. It blooms from early summer to late fall and is a delightful addition to a mixed border.
(Eyelash Sage) Small, eyelash-like hairs on the edge of its leaves give this Mexican native part of its name. A compact, gently mounding Salvia, it spreads gradually by underground stolons.
'Old Form' was collected in the wild and is a vigorous variety. All clones of this species vary in color depending on the light in which they grow as well as variations in ambient temperature and time of year. It is, at times, a rich reddish-orange as the photo indicates. However, instead of trying to describe all its color variations and compare them to the flowers of the other Eyelash Sages we offer --'Painted Lady' and Diablo' -- we suggest that you try all three!
(Painted Lady Eyelash Sage) Small, eyelash-like hairs on the edge of its leaves give this Mexican native part of its name. A compact, gently mounding Salvia, it spreads gradually by underground stolons.
Similar to Diablo Eyelash Sage, the richly colored flowers of this variety are darker in full sun and paler in partial shade. It's red-orange flowers are brighter than those of "Diablo' and often cover the plant in large clusters from early summer to late fall. Enjoy it in a mixed border.
(Forest Fire Tropical Sage) Butterflies and hummingbirds love the abundant, fire engine red flowers of this mostly annual sage. It's a popular cultivar of one of the first Salvias used for ornamental purposes -- Tropical Sage. The flowers are dramatically framed by reddish black bracts.
A tender perennial in mild climates, this compact plant belongs in all gardens regardless of zone. Thomas Jefferson grew this drought-resistant, low-maintenance sage. Today, it is a favorite in borders and containers.
Plant this long blooming, spectacularly showy sage in full sun or partial shade wherever you need a big splash of color. Give it regular watering and rich soil.
(Cardinal Sage) Aptly named for its cardinal red, 2-inch-long flowers that glisten in the autumn sun, this full-sun sage blooms from fall into winter. Hummingbirds love it, but deer resist its charms. Growing up to 5 feet tall, it makes a fine screen.
Cardinal Sage is another Salvia of uncertain nomenclature. Some sources identify it as Salvia fulgens, while others say it is Salvia cardinalis or S. fulgens var. cardinalis.
Cardinal Sage is native to elevations up to 11,000 feet in Central Mexico. It is a shrub in Zones 8 and 9 or an herbaceous perennial in Zone 7. Plant it in a warm spot with fertile, well-drained soil. Although it loves water, it also does well in dry conditions. We highly recommend this adaptable beauty.
(Orange Mountain Sage) Coahuila, Mexico, is home to many fine Salvias, including the smallest variety of Salvia regla that we grow. This one averages about 3 feet tall and wide.
This fragrant, compact Salvia regla has tidy foliage and large, orange flowers that bloom from summer into fall in USDA Zones 7 to 10. The absolutely unique characteristic of this variety is its bright orange bracts that even turn the heads of longtime Salvia enthusiasts.
A native of the Chisos Mountains in Southwestern Texas and of Mexico from Coahuila to Oaxaca, Salvia regla is powerfully heat tolerant and fragrant. Although it appreciates average watering based on local conditions, the species does well in waterwise gardens. Give it full sun and well-drained soil. Grow it as a screen, shrub border or background plant. 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. Butterflies also visit. So 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.
(Bolivian Lace Leaf Sage) A large decidious woody shrub, this is a distinctive and somewhat unique Salvia species. The large clusters of deep blue flowers appear in the spring and again in the fall. A native from a tropical savanna climate in Bolivia, this species grows best in climates with year-round warmth.
Growing six feet or more tall and across, give this species adequate space to develop. The true blue flowers are quite abundant during bloom times, and the attractive grey-green leaves make this a handsome background plant. Good drainage is essential, and rich soil is appreciated but not required.
New for 2017.
(Arrowleaf Sage) Brilliant royal blue flowers and unusual foliage attract the eye to Arrowleaf Sage. This large herbaceous perennial is found at elevations up to 10,000 feet in the Cordillera de los Andes of Chile, Ecuador and Peru.
Sagittata refers to the arrowhead shaped leaves, which are deeply textured, lime-green and woolly on the undersides. The flowers rise up 1 to 2 feet on dark, leafy spikes from summer into fall.
This sage is adaptable about settings ranging from full sun to partial shade, but needs at least a few hours of strong sunlight daily to bloom well. It also likes well-drained soil that’s high in organic matter, regular watering and a light feeding once or twice a month during rapid growth.
Arrowleaf Sage's habit of spreading via suckers makes it a good groundcover. However, it needs some partial-shade time to do this. It also works well in perennial borders and containers as well as along pathways.
For the best shape and most profuse bloom, cut this sage down to its lowest few active growth nodes in March.
(Costa Rica Blue Sage) Although this handsome plant is often listed as an Anise Leaf Sage (Salvia guaranitica), we think it is a hybrid based on differences in its growth pattern and flowering season.
Costa Rica Blue Sage is a long-blooming, vigorous plant that can reach up to 6 feet tall. It has large violet-blue flowers with purplish bracts and large, tropical-type leaves. Similar to Anise Leaf Sage, it is a hummingbird magnet.
This is a sun-loving sage, but also grows well in partial shade in warm climates. Give it rich, well-drained soil and regular watering. Plant it in a spot where you want to make a bold statement.
(Vermilion Bluffs® Mexican Sage) The brilliant red flowers of Vermilion Bluffs bloom abundantly from August to October. This variety of the Mexican native Salvia darcyi is cold hardy to Zone 5b at altitudes up to 5,500 feet.
Salvia darcyi comes from Mexico's eastern Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range where it grows at altitudes up to 9,000 feet. Denver Botanic Gardens developed Vermilion Bluffs to withstand the colder winter weather of the Rocky Mountain region. It is a welcome substitute for Salvia microphylla or Salvia x jamensis , which struggle in cold weather.
This sun-loving sage likes loamy soil. Plant it in shrubby borders, dry flower gardens and containers. Its underground runners form a tough mat that blocks weeds.
The wrinkly, soft green foliage forms a graceful mound that glows against the bright flowers, which attract butterflies and hummingbirds. After frost, the foliage dies to the ground like an herbaceous perennial. Then it returns in spring.
We can't help but highly recommend this easy-care plant.
Vermilion Bluffs is a registered trademark of Plant Select.
(John Whittlesey Sage) Hardy, vigorous and long blooming, John Whittlesey Sage is a hybrid of D'Arcy's Sage (Salvia darcyi) -- a native of Mexico -- and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla), which is native to the American Southwest and Mexico.
The long flowering season of this sage makes John Whittlesey Sage a garden favorite; it begins bursting with salmon-red blooms early in the growing season. You can grow it as a bedding plant in areas with winters cooler than those of USDA Zone 7. In warmer zones, this tidy sage is an herbaceous perennial.
In coastal areas, John Whittlesey Sage is a great stand-in for the plethora of little-leaf species -- Mountain Sage, Autumn Sage (S. greggii )and Jame Sage (S. x jamensis) -- that often struggle with humidity.
Hummingbirds love the bright red flowers of this full-sun, heat-tolerant plant that makes a tall but effective groundcover. However, it is generally used in mixed borders.
Horticulturist Mike Thiede of Chico, California, developed this sage and named it for John Whittlesey of Canyon Creek Nursery in Oroville, California.
(Scarlet Spires Sage) This is a brilliant cross between the sturdy D'Arcy's Sage (Salvia darcyi) and the beautifully colored 'Raspberry Delight' Littleleaf Sage (Salvia microphylla 'Raspberry Delight').
Sometimes children exceed the success of their parents, and that is the case with Scarlet Spires. This is one of our top hummingbird plants as well as one of our best Salvias for cut-flower gardens. It is a long-blooming choice with foot-tall spikes of large, scarlet flowers and attractive gray-green foliage.
Drought tolerant and dramatic, it is ideal for massing, mixed borders or patio containers. Give it full sun and well-drained soil.
(Temascaltepec Sage) In full bloom, which is all year in mild climates, this mid-sized, shrubby Salvia has far more flowers than foliage. Each 1/2-inch-long, bright pink bloom has two dark pink/purple spots and a pair of white stripes. The small, slightly furry leaves add to its soft, pleasing look.
Temascaltepec Sage is new to the United States and comes from the Valle de Bravo Lake region of Central Mexico. It is a tender perennial affected by frost, but so fast growing that it is ideal as an outdoor summer bedding plant. Hummingbirds, bees and butterflies love this sage, which grows well in full sun to partial shade.
This Salvia is a favorite in cut-flower gardens and a superior container plant in a greenhouse or sunroom. We rate it "best of class" for being our top performer among large summer bedding Salvias.
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.
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.