(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.
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.
Vivid deep violet flowers bloom from summer into fall and contrast prettily with the bright green, rumply foliage of this tall sage from southeastern Mexico. Belgian botanist and orchid lover Jean-Jules Linden was the first to record its discovery in 1838, according to records on file at Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Linden shares credit for this sage with two peers who also were researching the botanical treasures of Mexico -- botanists Henri Guillaume Galeotti of France and Martin Martens of Belgium. The website MexConnect notes that Linden and Galeotti were part of a scientific entourage that climbed Mexico’s highest peak -- the volcano El Pico de Orizaba, which rises 18,853 feet above sea level – near Veracruz in 1838. Perhaps that is where they encountered this heat-tolerant, yet water-loving sage.
By six years later, the plant was published as Salvia biserrata M. Martens & Galeotti. Who knows why Martens’ name is attached to the species and not Linden’s? It is a tantalizing mystery about a tough, attractive plant for which little information is available.
However, we do know that this herbaceous perennial grows rapidly up to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It does well in either sun or partial shade and loves water and rich, well-drained soil. We also know that hummingbirds love it, but deer do not. We think you would enjoy it in borders, background plantings, moist areas of the yard, patio containers and seasonal flowerbeds.
Note: The name of this plant could be suspect, as not all botanists agree. Whatever the name, this is a great summer Salvia.
(Corrugated Sage) Dense, purple-blue whorls of flowers complement this evergreen‘s somewhat linear, deeply textured -- or corrugated -- dark green leaves with cottony undersides. It is a handsome native of the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains.
Corrugated Sage grows quickly and easily up to 6 feet tall and wide. It needs full sun, well-drained soil and regular water to stay in nearly continuous bloom and look it’s best. Occasional pruning of the growing tips or container planting helps restrict the shrub's growth to about 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.
We enjoy contrasting this plant’s rounded, dense form with taller, airier sages, such as Salvia guaranitica 'Purple Majesty'.
In addition to planting it in decorative containers, we highly recommend using this plant in shrub borders and moist woodland-style gardens.
(Elk Magenta Hybrid Sage) Combining the best characteristics of both parents, this robust, large leafed hybrid has deep magenta and white flowers that delight hummingbirds.
One of the parents of this new variety is Salvia cuatrecasana, with small flowers of a deep purple. A collector's plant, it is floppy and blooms somewhat sparingly over the course of the year. To improve the growth habit, flower size and blooming season we crossed this species with one of our best Salvia guaranitica clones. The result is a plant with large lush leaves, strong stems and sizable flower displays.
A tender variety, it is suitable for the southern areas of the US as a perennial. It qualifies as a good choice as an annual in colder Zones.
We are very excited to offer this plant for the first time in 2017.
(Pink Tehuacan Sage) Large clusters of big, fuzzy, hot magenta-pink flowers top the elegant foliage of this Mexican sage. It is long blooming beginning in late spring and does well in full sun or partial shade. We want to help spread this rare sage that deserves to be widely planted.
This is a relatively new plant in cultivation and was collected in the Tehuacan region of Mexico -- the same area where the first wild maize was cultivated. Similar to vegetable garden plants, it likes moisture and rich, well-drained soil. Although its growth can be limited through careful pruning or container planting, this lovely Salvia can reach up to 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide in the ground.
We highly recommend this plant for use next to an entryway and in a border or woodland-style garden. Thanks to botanist Brent Barnes for the great picture capturing its beauty.
(Peruvian Sage or Concolor Sage) Native to the high Andes of Peru, this is a distinctive Salvia with apple-green leaves that are smooth on top and silver-haired fuzzy on the bottom. The flowers are such a dark purple that they almost look black.
Large and showy, the flowers of Peruvian Sage -- also known as Concolor Sage for its bicolor leaves -- bloom from spring through autumn. They continue blooming during the chill of winter if kept in a greenhouse. Peruvian Sage does best if watered regularly and given shade for part of the day, but cannot tolerate wet soils.
The plant's wiry stems are scandent, which means that they climb upward like vines but without tendrils. When planted in the ground, its stems arch and form ground cover. This dramatic plant looks lovely in a hanging basket or in a container with a light trellis or bamboo poles supporting its sprawling growth.
Situate Peruvian Sage where it will delight you with its black currant fragrance that makes all seem well in the world. This is one of our favorite plants, and we are glad to report that deer don't seem to like it!
(Elk Blue Hard Leaf Sage) Soft baby blue & white flowers in abundance coupled with strong growth make this an ideal new variety for hummingbird gardeners. the specific epitaph, durifolia, means hard leaf. We don't find the leaf exactly hard but it is lovely and durable.
Grow this outstanding variety in full sun or in a bit of shade in hot climates. In frost free areas it becomes a shrub, blooming almost year round. In Zone 8 it is a herbacious perennial that returns strongly in the late spring. In colder Zones its a good choice for a summer annual. These flowers are true blue.
It's our bet that this new introduction will become a standard for hummingbird gardens.
(Bolivian Mountain Sage) Neon lilac-pink flowers light up the handsome, furry foliage of this distinctive sage from high in the Andes cloud forests. Its large, textured leaves have dark, velvety purple undersides. Unhappy in dry heat, this is a very showy plant for humid areas.
In our mild coastal climate, Bolivian Mountain Sage does well in full sun; however, partial shade and ample water are keys to success in hotter, drier areas. It also appreciates rich, well-drained soil.
In the ground, this sage grows into a shrub up to 5 feet tall in Zone 9 to 11. Or plant it in a large container as a natural focal point on a partially shady patio. It also works well as a seasonal bedding plant. But remember that this water-loving sage particularly appreciates morning sun and afternoon shade.
In mild climates, it blooms year round, so this is a great choice for gardens where hummingbirds winter over. As with so many Salvias, this one is deer resistant.
(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.
(Tubular Chilean Sage) Foggy days and moderate temperatures are the norm for this low-altitude, coastal mountain sage from northern Chile and Peru. It is grown as much for its handsome foliage as for the deep cranberry of its tiny, tubular flowers.
In the wild Salvia tubiflora can grow up to 9 feet tall in partial shade to full sun. However, in our coastal California gardens it averages 5 feet tall and wide. Add an extra foot to that height when it is in bloom in fall.
This is a handsome sub-shrub that combines mostly soft herbaceous growth with a bit of shrubby wood. The deeply veined leaves are bright green, up to 4 inches long, and shaped like elongated hearts. The flowers are accented by reddish bracts.
In general, this sage handles winter conditions well in USDA Zones 9 to 11. Our Tubular Chilean Sage begins blooming in late September and continues until the onset of inclement weather. It is a fine container plant and also is pretty in shrubby borders. Although this aromatic plant only requires average watering based on local conditions, it is a good choice for moist areas of the yard.
(Dominican Sage) From high elevations in the mountains of the Dominican Republic, this beautiful Sage is rare and unique. The large, bold, deep green leathery leaves are a perfect backdrop to delicate orange flowers. The fist to overegrown zucchini sized inflorescens is apple green with red highlights, with the flowers emerging over a long period. In or out of bloom this is a distinctive and most attractive plant.
Dominican Sage grows into a large evergreen shrub. Since it is winter blooming and tender, it is most suitable for the frost free southern states. Tolerant of almost any well drained soil, it thrives in rich soil with adequate water.
We are happy to offfer this stunner for the first time in 2017.
(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.
(Bog Sage) Highly adaptable, Salvia uliginosa is ideal for the beginning sage gardener. It isn't fussy about soil type, sun exposure, drainage or frequency of watering.
This fragrant sage's common and scientific names don't communicate its beauty or growing range. Both names refer to the boggy conditions in which it grows in the wild in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. However, although it appreciates moisture, Bog Sage also does well in dry conditions that cause this stoloniferous plant to spread less.
Lovely sky-blue blooms, with white beelines on the upper and lower lips, top the many slender, graceful stems from summer to fall. When swaying in the breeze at the back of a perennial border or as part of a screen, Bog Sage is a pleasing sight for butterflies, honeybees, hummingbirds and humans alike.
Although it has an average height and spread of about 40 inches with flower spikes making it a bit taller, Bog Sage sometimes can reach heights of more than 72 inches, according to Mississippi State University.
Partial shade is preferable, but Bog Sage also grows well in full sun in all but the hottest and most arid environments. Cold and heat tolerant, it grows well in regions ranging from the arid Rocky Mountain West to the humid Deep South. Give it partial shade if possible. Full sun is fine in all but the hottest and most arid environments. We always sell out of this plant early in the season.
(Heart Leaf Sage) From the rich plains of Northern Argentina comes this delicate looking sage with heart-shaped leaves and pale blue flowers so perfect they seem to be molded in wax. Although a slow grower that requires good garden culture, this Salvia is exquisite.
Heart Leaf Sage needs fertile soil that is rich in humus and well drained. It grows well in the ground or in a container. Site it in a warm, sunny spot where it can receive partial shade and no reflected heat. Water and fertilize well. Be patient, as it seems to take a year or more to settle in and become robust. Then sit back and enjoy the lovely foliage and 1-inch-long, striped flowers.
This perennial sage was found by Rolando Uría in Chaco, Argentina in 2009 and is one of the rarest Salvias in the world. It is quite slow to increase, but we highly recommend its beauty.
(Big Swing Sage) With its large, cobalt blue flowers displayed on strong, wiry, branched stems, this eye-catching sage wins the FBTS "best of class" designation for being our top Big Leaf Sage (Salvia macrophylla).
Garden writer Betsy Clebsch developed Big Swing, which is a cross between Big Leaf Sage and Arrowleaf Sage (S. sagitata). Its flower spikes rise well above handsome foliage with large, furry, arrowhead-shaped leaves that look almost tropical.
Use this heat-tolerant plant to bring a lush look to a damp corner of your garden or in mixed patio containers. Give it rich, well-drained soil and plenty of water for a long bloom season.
Big Swing comes highly recommended by butterflies, but deer leave it alone.
(Purple Bract Peruvian Sage or Concolor Sage) Similar to its wild relative, Peruvian Sage, which is also known as Concolor Sage, this cultivar has foliage that is smooth, apple green on top and fuzzy with silver hairs on the bottom. Major differences appear in the dramatic bracts.
Unlike the apple-green bracts of its parent, this cultivar has large purplish bracts cupping the base of flowers so deeply purple that they are almost black. Its leaves are also smaller than those of the species. It is the combination of purple bracts and blossoms that causes us to put this on our most unusual Salvias list.
Large and showy, the flowers bloom continuously from summer through autumn. They continue flowering during the chill of winter if kept in a greenhouse. Purple Bract Peruvian Sage does best if watered regularly and given shade for part of the day.
The plant's wiry stems are scandent, which means that they climb upward like vines but without tendrils. When grown in the ground, its stems arch and form ground cover. This dramatic plant looks lovely in a hanging basket or in a container with a light trellis or bamboo poles supporting its sprawling growth.
Situate Purple Bract Peruvian Sage where it will delight you with its black currant fragrance that makes all seem well in the world. This is another outstanding plant from California Salvia guru Brent Barnes and receives our best-of-class honor. Availability is limited.
(Purple Leaf Tall Big Leaf Sage) Bright green on top, the long leaves of this distinctive sage are a dark, furry purple on the undersides. Like the more typical green form of Salvia Macrophylla, this variety has cobalt blue flowers that seem to float in airy clusters on 12-inch-tall branching spikes.
This fast-growing, herbaceous perennial from Peru is adaptable to full sun and full shade. However, a combination of morning sun and afternoon shade may be more to its liking. Heat tolerant and water-loving, it is an ideal choice for a humid climate such as Florida's. Try it in a container indoors or on a patio. It's also a good choice for borders and background plantings.
Salvia Macrophylla 'Purple Leaf' grows in a tidy, upright fashion, producing 2-inch-long flowers without pause from summer through early fall. Hummingbirds love it, but deer resist its charms.
(Fuzzy Bolivian Sage) Large, bright and fuzzy, the cherry-licorice red flowers of this sage top what at first glance appears to be smooth, glassy green foliage. Up close, the large, lance-shaped leaves are velvety with clear-to-white hairs.
This tropical perennial is slow to start growing in spring, but takes off as the days get longer and warmer. Then it blooms from summer to fall, attracting hummingbirds. It grows well in USDA Zones 7 to 9, but needs winter mulching in the cooler part of that range. Well-drained, loose soil and mulch help the plant's underground runners survive to grow new stems in the spring.
Salvia oxyphora is from middle elevations in the Bolivian Andes, where it grows on the edge of moist, warm forests. It loves rich soil, lots of moisture and full sun to partial shade.
We enjoy growing this dramatic, heat-tolerant plant in containers where its showy flowers can be enjoyed close up. Moist woodland gardens are another good setting. One last tip: The branches of Salvia oxyphora tend to be somewhat brittle. Pinching it back encourages good branching and protects it from breaking in strong winds.
(Grape Leaf Sage) Tall spikes of intensely blue flowers bloom summer to fall and emerge in profusion from handsome, furry foliage. The leaves are grape green on top and purplish on the bottom. This water-loving sage grows rapidly into a spreading mound.
Grow this one in full sun in cooler areas or in partial shade where summers are hot. Good drainage is essential along with rich soil for best results. This showy sage from Oaxaca, Mexico, is ideal for patio planters and damp woodland gardens in USDA Zones 9 to 11.
We highly recommend this sage, which is relatively new to the horticultural trade in the US. There is, however, some confusion about its identity. Some sources say it should be called Salvia serboana.
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.