(Sinaloan Blue Sage) It's difficult to say which trait is more attractive about this sage -- the airy spikes of deep, true blue flowers or the fascinating spear-shaped foliage that varies from deep green to purple, forming a tidy mat.
This petite native of Sinaloa, Mexico is a prime choice for locations that provide both full sun and partial shade, such as east-facing sites offering morning sunshine and afternoon shade. Plant it where you want a dense ground cover, along the edge of a pathway or at the front of a mixed perennial border. It also works well in patio containers.
Use this plant at the base of larger growing, blue and purple flowering Salvias, such as Anise-Scented Sages (Salvia guaranitica spp.) for a dramatic statement. Wherever you grow it, the combination of striking leaves and flowers will draw the eye and hummingbirds from summer into fall.
Cold Weather Alert: Although this plant is recommended for USDA Zones 7 to 9, we have received reports of it surviving in Zone 6 with good mulching!
(White Mischief Mexican Bush Sage) Profuse white blossoms and true white velvety bracts make the flowers of this South African hybrid a lovely choice for a wedding. In our experience, many of the plants sold as White Mischief are not the real thing. This tough, compact, long blooming sage is.
Although its flowers are white, we've noticed that hummingbirds love this Salvia leucantha, which blooms summer into fall. Butterflies are also partial to it, but luckily deer keep their distance.
Plant this heat-loving herbaceous perennial in full sun and well-drained soil. It is elegant in shrubby borders, large containers and cut-flower gardens.
(Purple Prince Lyreleaf Sage or Cancerweed) Due to its short height and reddish-purple, veined leaves, Purple Prince Lyreleaf Sage often is descriped as looking like Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans).
Barely discernible, the flowers of Lyreleaf Sages bloom in spring and summer. It is the dramatic basal foliage -- including the purplish stems and calyxes of its flower spikes -- that makes this plant attractive.
Purple Prince is a compact 8 inches tall except when its flower spikes increase its height to 18 inches. It has reddish-purple foliage in contrast to the deep purple of Purple Volcano, another variety of Lyreleaf Sage that we grow. Both are adaptable from full sun to full shade. These are heat- and cold-tolerant plants that are perennial in USDA Zones 5 to 11.
Lyreleaf Sages love water, but can get by on average watering based on local conditions. They also aren't picky about soils, but reseed easily in loose, sandy ground. Although endangered in New York, this American native species can be invasive where sandy soil and steady moisture are available. It grows wild in 25 states from Kansas east to New Jersey and in the South from Texas to Florida.
Lyreleaf refers to the shape of the heavily lobed leaves as being similar to a musical lyre. Consumed in salads when its leaves are young and in teas, the species has a weak, minty flavor. Its other prevalent common name, Cancerweed, refers to a long history as a medicinal plant. Native Americans made salves and infusions from Lyreleaf Sages for ailments including asthma, colds, constipation and diarrhea.
Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds all love this plant and so do we.
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.