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Salvia splendens van houttei 'Elk White'


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Salvia splendens van houttei 'Elk White' New!



Degree of Difficulty
Easy
Degree of Difficulty
This plant is easy to grow in a variety of conditions.

Shipping Information
Looking for a larger quantity?

Description

(Elk White Scarlet Sage) The first tall white Salvia splendens variety, this new introduction from Flowers by the Sea is vigorous and free flowering all season long.

Somewhat unusual for this species, 'Elk White grows into a tall but narrow plant, perfectly suited to fill a shady corner.  It excels as a container plant.  White flowered shade plants are rare, and this one is also beloved by hummingbirds.

Scarlet Sages are native to South America where they thrive in full sun to partial shade.

In areas with colder winters, Elk White grows easily as an annual bedding plant. It's also a successful container plant and a good choice for a woodland garden. It does fine with average watering based on local rainfall and humidity, but can handle ample moisture.

Another good piece of news is that deer avoid it.

Details

Product rating
 
(1 reviews)  

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Common name  
Elk White Scarlet Sage
USDA Zones  
9 - 11
Size (h/w/fh)  
60"/24"/60"
Exposure  
Partial shade
Soil type  
Well drained & rich
Water needs  
Average
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
Yes
Our price
10.50


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Here are some guidelines for success with this plant in your garden.
Click on an individual icon for more detailed information.

Exposure

Full shade
Full shade
Heat tolerant
Heat tolerant
Morning sun / Afternoon shade
Morning sun / Afternoon shade
Partial shade
Partial shade

Garden Uses

Container plant
Container plant

Growing Habit

9 - 11
9 - 11
60 inches tall
60 inches tall
24 inches wide
24 inches wide

Water Needs

Average water
Average water
Water loving
Water loving

Blooming Season

Fall blooming
Fall blooming
Summer blooming
Summer blooming

Wildlife

Butterflies
Butterflies
Deer resistant
Deer resistant
Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds
Ready for some pruning?

Deciduous or semi-evergreen, soft stem Salvias

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.

Growing Season Pruning

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.




Dormant Season Pruning

At the end of the growing season or after the first frost the spent stems can be completely removed, cut to the ground. Often these are a tangled mess, and one can get great satisfaction by cutting them all off. This also facilitates good garden sanitation, and will help to control pests over the winter.


Check the Views from the Garden section of our Everything Salvias Blog for videos that apply to this plant.

  • Salvia amethystina subsp. ampelophylla

    (Amethyst Sage) Growing up to 12 inches long, the triangular basal leaves of Salvia amethystina subsp. ampelophylla are the largest we know among sages. They have long silky hairs on their undersides and are fragrant when bruised.

    Amethyst Sage has deep violet-blue flowers with pronounced white beelines on their lower lips. It is a tall, wide-spreading native of Colombia and Venezuela. In the U.S., this tender perennial grows well as an annual. Give it full sun to partial shade and rich soil that is well drained. Although water-loving, this sage thrives with average supplemental watering based on local conditions.

    British botanist James Edward Smith (1759-1828) named the species in 1790. In 1989, University of Oxford researcher John R.I. Wood and Raymond M. Harley of Kew Royal Botanic Gardens authored the scientific name of this subspecies.

    We are thankful to University of Buenos Aires agronomy professor and plant explorer Rolando Uria, who collected the seed for our plants in the wild.

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  • Salvia coccinea 'Brenthurst'

    Tropical Sage is popular as an annual throughout America and as a perennial in warm zones. It is particularly beloved in the Deep South where it withstands heat, wind, heavy rains and excessive humidity to bloom prolifically season after season. Brenthurst is a coral-flowered cultivar with dramatic, dark bracts and bright green, heart-shaped leaves.

    The Desert Botanical Garden of Houston reports that goldfinch enjoy eating the seed of Salvia coccinea. It’s also a favorite with hummingbirds, honeybees and butterflies. Fortunately, deer don’t have a taste for it.

    Tropical Sage -- also known as Scarlet Sage -- is native to the American South, Mexico, West Indies and South America. It loves water, but is also drought tolerant; it withers then rebounds following dry spells. Brenthurst, which looks somewhat similar to Coral Nymph Tropical Sage, blooms from spring into fall. A petite plant, it rises up only 12 to 30 inches tall and spreads 18 inches wide. Use it in borders, containers and moist areas.

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  • Salvia coccinea 'Coral Nymph'

    (Coral Nymph Tropical Sage) What a cutie! This award-winning cultivar of Tropical Sage is short and compact yet has a multitude of peachy pink-to-white flowers larger than those of its bigger cousins. It is perfect for annual flower beds or patio containers.

    A perennial in mild climates, this plant belongs in all gardens regardless of zone. It loves regular watering and rich soil similar to so many bedding flowers. Plant it in full sun or partial shade.

    Coral Nymph is long blooming and reliable. Plant multiples of this sage where you can appreciate the cool pastel flowers up close. We consider this sage indispensable.

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  • Salvia coccinea 'Forest Fire'

    (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.

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  • Salvia coccinea 'Summer Jewel Red'

    (Summer Jewel Red Tropical Sage) Butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees enjoy this Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner, which is an outstanding choice for bright red color from June to autumn. This type of Tropical Sage is generally the first to flower for us.

    Summer Jewel is easy to grow and a great addition to annual flower beds or containers. It prefers rich, well-drained soil and regular watering. Plant it in full sun or partial shade as a tender perennial in mild climates and as an annual elsewhere. Reaching up to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide, this sage is an ideal border plant. Use it where you want to create intense color and attract pollinators.

    One of our Top 10 Hummingbird Plants, this sage belongs in all gardens regardless of zone. We consider it indispensable due to its long bloom, low maintenance and spectacular show.

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  • Salvia splendens van houttei 'Big Pink'

    (Big Pink Scarlet Sage) Hummingbirds are drawn to the deep wells of nectar in sages such as Salvia splendens van houttei 'Big Pink'. Its narrow, tubular flowers are a pure, clear pink and are supported by cream to dusky pink calyxes.

    Of course, Salvia colors can vary during different times of the growing season or based on local conditions, such as altitude, soil chemistry and sun exposure. But Big Pink Scarlet Sage definitely isn't a peach variety. 

    Somewhat unusual for this species, 'Big Pink' grows into a tall but narrow plant with smallish leaves.  It excels as a container plant.

    Scarlet Sages are native to South America where they thrive in full sun to partial shade. Big Pink is similarly adaptable, but particularly likes locations with morning sun and afternoon shade. It's an easy-to-grow, long blooming plant that is tall and narrow. The mid-green, veined foliage contains smaller leaves than those of other Scarlet Sages.

    In areas with colder winters, Big Pink grows easily as an annual bedding plant. It's also a successful container plant and a good choice for a woodland garden. It does fine with average watering based on local rainfall and humidity, but can handle ample moisture.

    Another good piece of news is that deer avoid it.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia splendens van houttei 'Burgundy'

    (Burgundy Scarlet Sage) Blood red to burgundy, the drooping blossoms of this sturdy, long flowering Salvia are the first that anyone comments on in a mixed planting. Use it singly as a dramatic garden accent or container plant; mass it for a stunning effect.

    Meet its needs and Salvia splendens van houttei 'Burgundy' is easy to grow. Plant it in partial to full shade where you can give it rich, well-drained soil and regular watering. It can grow more than 3 feet tall, but can easily be kept to a height of 2 feet with minimal pinching.

    This variety of Scarlet Sage is dramatic in woodland gardens. An annual in colder zones, it is a tender perennial in warmer ones.

    Seasonally available and limited.

    10.50
  • Salvia splendens van houttei 'Dancing Flame'

    (Variegated Scarlet Sage) Crimson flowers topping bright yellow foliage mottled with deep green make this one of the most spectacular Salvias we grow. There are numerous clones of this variety of the tender perennial throughout the U.S. nursery trade, but we consider ours to be the best, as it originated in our nursery.

    Meet its needs and Salvia splendens van houttei 'Dancing Flame' is easy to grow. Plant it in partial to full shade where you can give it rich, well-drained soil and regular watering.

    Although short and compact, this Scarlet Sage is dramatic in woodland gardens and annual flowerbeds as well as in patio containers and indoors as a houseplant. Outdoors, it is an annual in colder zones and a tender perennial in warmer ones where it can bloom 12 months a year.

    Seasonally available and limited.

    10.50
  • Salvia splendens van houttei 'Light Plum'

    (Light Plum Scarlet Sage) Long, narrow and tubular, the pinkish-plum flowers of Salvia splendens van houttei 'Light Plum' are pleasing wells of nectar for hummingbirds. Similarly colored calyxes support the blossoms and increase their appeal to people as well as pollinators.

    Of course, flower and calyx color, particularly of Scarlet Sages, may vary somewhat during different times of the growing season or based on local conditions, such as altitude, soil chemistry and sun exposure.

    Similar to Salvia splendens van houttei 'Paul', this variety grows tall and narrow, favors partial to full shade and thrives with average watering based on local moisture although it loves water. However, it looks more delicate due to its smaller flowers, which are abundant.

    Scarlet Sages, which are mostly grown as long-blooming annuals in the U.S., are native to South America. This species is named for Louis Benoit Van Houtte, the father of Belgium horticulture.

    Tender perennials in warmer parts of their hardiness range, Scarlet Sages are excellent bedding plants in areas with chilly winters. Light Plum Scarlet Sage grows easily and excels in shady patio containers and woodland gardens.

    Speaking of woodlands, don't worry about damage from deer. You may think this sage looks yummy, but they disagree.

    10.50
  • Salvia splendens van houttei 'Louie's Orange Delight'

    (Louie's Orange Delight Scarlet Sage) A vivid red-orange, the drooping blossoms of this sturdy, long flowering Salvia are large and numerous. Use it singly as a dramatic garden accent or container plant; mass it for a stunning effect. This is an heirloom plant from the Atlantic Coast, where it has been grown as a hummingbird plant for decades.

    Meet its needs and 'Louie's Orange Delight' is easy and rewarding to grow. Plant it in partial to full shade where you can give it rich, well-drained soil and regular watering. It can grow more than 4 feet tall, but can easily be kept to a height of 3 feet with minimal pinching. The color of this variety is difficult to describe but uniquely bright and vivid.

    This variety of Scarlet Sage is dramatic in woodland gardens. An annual in colder zones, it is a tender perennial in warmer ones.

    Seasonally available and limited.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia splendens van houttei 'Paul'

    (Paul's Scarlet Sage) Long, narrow and tubular, the reddish purple flowers of Salvia splendens van houttei 'Paul' are alluring wells of nectar for hummingbirds. Similarly colored calyxes support the blossoms and add to this sage's siren call.

    However, if you read descriptions of Paul's Scarlet Sage elsewhere, you may encounter different descriptions of the flower and calyx color. So keep in mind that Salvia hues may vary during different times of the growing season or based on local conditions, such as altitude, soil chemistry and sun exposure.

    Similar to Salvia splendens van houttei 'Big Pink', Paul grows tall and narrow. Unlike Big Pink, it doesn't tolerate sun. Give it partial to full shade. Although average watering based on local rainfall and humidity is sufficient, this sage loves ample moisture.

    Scarlet Sages, which are mostly grown as long-blooming annuals in the U.S., are native to South America. This species is named for Louis Benoit Van Houtte, the father of Belgium horticulture. And Paul? We don't know. But whoever he is, he's a lucky guy to have such a handsome plant named after him.

    Tender perennials in warmer parts of their hardiness range, Scarlet Sages are excellent bedding plants in areas with chilly winters.  Paul's Scarlet Sage grows easily and excels in shady patio containers and woodland gardens.

    Speaking of woodlands, don't worry about damage from deer. You may think this sage looks yummy, but they disagree.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia splendens van houttei 'Peach'

    (Peach Scarlet Sage) A subtle but beautiful peachy orange, the drooping blossoms of this sturdy, long flowering Salvia are the first that anyone comments on in a mixed planting. Use it singly as a dramatic garden accent or container plant; mass it for a stunning effect.

    Meet its needs and Salvia splendens van houttei 'Peach' is easy to grow. Plant it in partial to full shade where you can give it rich, well-drained soil and regular watering. It can grow more than 3 feet tall, but can easily be kept to a height of 2 feet with minimal pinching.

    This variety of Scarlet Sage is dramatic in woodland gardens. An annual in colder zones, it is a tender perennial in warmer ones.

    Seasonally available and limited.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia splendens van houttei Faye Chapel'

    (Faye Chapel Scarlet Sage) A vivid red, the drooping blossoms of this sturdy, long flowering Salvia are large and numerous. Use it singly as a dramatic garden accent or container plant; mass it for a stunning effect. This is an heirloom plant from the Atlantic Coast, where it has been grown as a hummingbird plant for decades.

    Meet its needs and 'Faye Chapel' is easy and rewarding to grow. Plant it in partial to full shade where you can give it rich, well-drained soil and regular watering.  The color is bright red - the truest red Salvia splendens we offer.

    An annual in colder zones, it is a tender perennial in warmer ones.

    Seasonally available and limited.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

    New!
  • Salvia splendens ‘Giant Form'

    (Giant Red Scarlet Sage) Looking to fill in large shady area? This may be your best bet.  This variety is largest that we know of, growing to 6 feet - 7 feet - or even more in a sheltered shady spot.

    Giant Red never stops blooming all season and is tough enough to grow in severe Texas heat, torrential Florida rainstorms and the humidity of the American Southeast.

    Giant Red is a tender perennial that may return yearly to the warmest parts of its range, which encompasses USDA Zones 9 to 11. Aim for success by providing partial shade, rich soil and ample water for this Brazilian native. This variety is more tolerant than most because of its great vigor. A combination of morning sun and afternoon shade works well, but it can also flourish in full shade.

    Grow this dramatic variety in a container or mass it for a spectacular color statement. We highly recommend it and so do hummingbirds.

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  • Salvia splendens ‘Sao Borja’

    (Sao Borja Scarlet Sage) Three-inch-long, smokey purple blossoms that bloom from spring to fall are a major clue that this heat-tolerant perennial is not your grandmother's Scarlet Sage.

    Even when grown as an annual, Salvia splendens 'Sao Borja' brings a tropical look to any garden by reaching an impressive height of 6 feet or taller in one season.

    This Brazilian native grows well in USDA Zones 9 to 11 where it is a tender perennial that may return yearly to the warmest parts of its range. 

    Sao Borja was discovered in the port city of Sao Borja, which is named after Spain's Saint Francis Borgia. The city is located on the Uruguay River, across from Argentina and in Rio Grande do Sul, which is the southernmost state of Brazil and borders the Atlantic coast.

    To succeed, Sao Borja Scarlet Sage needs partial shade all day or a combination of morning sun and afternoon shade. It also requires rich soil and ample water for a spring surge of growth that needs to be seen to be believed. Use it as a screen, an accent plant or in a container, which will limit size.

    Highly recommended.

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  • Salvia subrotunda

    (Giant Brazilian Sage) Yes, this one is gigantic. The first season we grew this heat-tolerant sage, it reached 8 feet tall by July! Masses of small, red-orange, trumpet-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds and honeybees to long, upward curving flower spikes towering over heart-shaped foliage.

    Giant Brazilian Sage is difficult to beat for attracting pollinators. Its flowers are similar to those of Tropical Sage (Salvia coccinea), which is like a dwarf compared to this grand plant. Giant Brazilian Sage flowers from mid-spring until frost and loves rich, well-drained soil. Although average watering is all that is necessary, it can handle excessive moisture.

    This statuesque beauty makes a fine screen or background planting, but also does well in containers. It comes from the Iguazu Falls region that forms a border between Brazil and Argentina. In the U.S., it is surprisingly hardy and reliably perennial in mild climates such as Zone 9 and, perhaps, the warmest reaches of Zone 8.

    Plant this lush sage where you can stand back and appreciate its mass of blooms. It does best with regular water and some shade in the hottest areas, very much like Tropical Sage. A location with morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal.

    Seasonally available.

    Thank you Russ Thompson for the additional pictures.

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  • Salvia x 'Ember's Wish'

    (Ember's Wish Sage) Bright coral-colored, tubular blossoms contrast handsomely with the deep maroon stems, rusty rose calyxes and mid-green foliage of Ember's Wish Sage.

    Plant Growers Australia (PGA) discovered and developed this naturally occurring sport of Wendy's Wish Sage (Salvia x 'Wendy's Wish'), which is an accidental hybrid from the Victoria, Australia, garden of Salvia enthusiast Wendy Smith. Similar to its parent plant, Ember's Wish is popular with hummingbirds but not deer.

    Smith found Wendy's Wish beneath S. mexicana 'Lolly'. However, its parentage is unknown. Some nearby sages it may be related to are Buchanan's Sage (S. buchananii), Scarlet Sage (S. splendens), Chiapas Sage (Salvia chiapensis) and Purple Majesty Sage (S. guaranitica 'Purple Majesty').

    PGA decided that, as with Wendy's Wish, licensing of Ember's Wish would require that a portion of each sale benefit Australia's Make-a-Wish Foundation. A third member of the Wish Collection, Love and Wishes Sage, also aids the foundation in fulfilling the requests of Australia's seriously ill children.

    The parents of two teenage siblings who died from a genetic disorder, Emma and Brett Shegog, won the right to name PGA's plant. They combined their children's first names to create "Ember."

    In coastal areas with moderate temperatures, Ember's Wish grows well in full sun. However, it appreciates a bit of shade in hotter climates. Growing about waist-high, Ember's Wish is a floriferous plant that requires little to no deadheading of blossoms. Its combination of woody and soft herbaceous growth mark it as a subshrub.

    Although this long-blooming sage does well with average irrigation based on local conditions, it appreciates plentiful watering with excellent soil drainage.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia x 'Love and Wishes'

    (Love and Wishes Sage) Deep purple calyxes support the magenta-purple, tubular blossoms of Salvia x 'Love and Wishes'. They contrast handsomely with dark stems and mid-green foliage.

    Retired government worker John Fisher of Orange, Australia, hybridized Love and Wishes from Wendy's Wish Sage (Salvia x 'Wendy's Wish'). He decided that it should benefit Australia's Make-a-Wish Foundation similar to its parent plant.

    Wendy's Wish is an accidental hybrid from the Victoria, Australia, garden of Salvia enthusiast Wendy Smith. Smith found its seedling beneath S. mexicana 'Lolly'. However, the plant's parentage remains a mystery.

    Smith's cultivar and other Wish Collection Sages -- Ember's Wish as well as Love and Wishes -- may be related to Buchanan's Sage (S. buchananii), Scarlet Sage (S. splendens), Chiapas Sage (Salvia chiapensis) and Purple Majesty Sage (S. guaranitica 'Purple Majesty').

    Sales of all Wish Collection sage aid Make-a-Wish in fulfilling the requests of Australia's seriously ill children.

    In coastal areas with moderate temperatures, Love and Wishes grows well in full sun. However, it appreciates a bit of shade in hotter climates. Growing about waist-high, Love and Wishes is a long-blooming, floriferous plant that requires little to no deadheading of blossoms. Its combination of woody and soft herbaceous growth mark it as a subshrub.

    Although Love and Wishes Sage does well with average irrigation based on local conditions, it appreciates plentiful watering with excellent soil drainage. Similar to its parent plant and Ember's Sage, this nectar-rich Salvia is popular with hummingbirds but not deer.

    Photo courtesy of Sunset Western Garden Collection

    10.50

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  • Salvia x 'Wendy's Wish'

    Salvia 'Wendy’s Wish' is a chance seedling selection found within in a Salvia enthusiast’s garden in Victoria, Australia. It is the discovers'' “wish” that a portion of the finder’s royalties be distributed to charity in Australia - hence the name.

    Although it appeared beneath S. mexicana 'Lolly' the corolla appears to resemble S. buchananii in color and flower size, but the calyx somewhat resembles some Salvia splendens varieties, being a pinkish brown. Stems are dark maroon, giving a great overall effect to a clump. It flowers for a long season through spring, summer, and autumn.  We have to pinch it in the pot to keep it from blooming!

    We were one of the first nurseries in the US to license this plant for propagation, and have been growing it since May 2010.

    10.50
Average customer rating:
 
(1 reviews)  



1 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
Robert Hughes
Apr 19, 2017
Super nice plant in full bllom. Can't wait to see it in full bloom in the garden.
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Bedding Plant Royalty: Splendid Salvia Splendens

Bedding Plant Royalty: Splendid Salvia Splendens


Category: Everything Salvias Blog
Posted: Feb 27, 2017 09:07 AM
Synopsis: If the world were to coronate a Salvia as its favorite annual, there's little doubt that a deep red variety of Scarlet Sage (Salvia splendens) would bear the sceptre. It's a long blooming, global favorite sometimes called Bedding Sage or Red Sage. When it was first introduced to horticulture in 1822, it was known as Lee's Scarlet Sage. Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery explains the growth habits and history of Scarlet Sage and suggests numerous favorite cultivars to add grandeur to your garden.
I like Amstiad

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.


  1. Go tubular. Hummingbirds need tubular flowers that are easy for long, thin beaks to access.
  2. Provide lots of color. Think of yourself as a cafeteria manager who needs to provide many tempting choices in order to attract business. Red, pink, orange and purple sages are particularly powerful hummingbird magnets.
  3. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based not only on color but also a broad span of bloom times. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons. Numerous winter-blooming species are available for areas that are home to hummingbirds year round.
  4. Grow sages native to the Western Hemisphere. Although hummingbirds will take advantage of many kinds of tubular flowering plants, these tiny birds are native to the Western Hemisphere and prefer flowering plants native to their half of the world.
  5. Select Salvia companion plants. Hummingbirds appreciate a variety of favorite tubular-flowered plants.
  6. Plant hummingbird gardens near cover. Trees and bushes surrounding feeding areas provide protection from predators and chilly, rainy weather.
  7. Don't use pesticides. Insects provide protein for hummingbirds, so don't kill these food sources.
  8. Provide water. Hummingbirds frolic in misters and shallow birdbaths.
  9. Supplement plantings with feeder tubes. Change the sugar water every few days and don't add food coloring. Keep the feeders clean, but don't scrub them with soaps or detergents. Here is more feeder care information.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about hummingbirds.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

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:


  1. Plant sages with platform-type blossoms. Unlike hummingbirds, butterflies can't hover while feeding. Sages with large lower lips and short nectar tubes, such as those in the Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla) group, give butterflies a place to stand while gathering nectar and pollen.
  2. Provide lots of color and sunlight. Butterflies need to stay warm and are attracted to a broad range of flower colors.
  3. Include native species. Insects and plants have co-evolved to meet each other's needs within their native regions. Butterflies prefer feeding on their local, native perennials and shrubs.
  4. Grow Caterpillar Host Plants. Butterflies need baby nurseries. Some are extremely picky about the plants on which they lay eggs, such as Monarchs, which need milkweeds (Asclepias spp.). The North American Butterfly Association is a good source of information about host plants.
  5. Don't use pesticides. They kill many beneficial insects, including butterflies.
  6. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based on bloom times as well as color and shape. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons.
  7. Provide puddles. Butterflies stay hydrated by splashing in puddles located in sunny spots on the ground or raised up in shallow birdbaths. Include rocks for basking; butterflies need to dry and warm their wings.
  8. Plant butterfly gardens near shelter. Butterflies need to be able to flee into trees, shrubbery and woodpiles when predators appear and when windy or rainy weather occurs.
  9. Supplement plantings with rotten fruit. Some butterflies love the juice of rotting fruit even more than nectar.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about butterflies.

Hey, got any greens?

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.


  1. Mask smells that deer like with aromatic sages. Deer and other members of the Cervidae family, such as elk, mostly leave Salvias alone. One theory is that they don't like the fragrance or taste of sage chemicals. Strategically planting sages near vegetable gardens or fruit trees -- elixir to deer -- may prevent consumption.
  2. Grow hedges including Salvias. Prickly hedges, including hairy-leafed Salvias and exceptionally thorny roses, can discourage deer from entering your yard. They don't like the mouth-feel of those textures. Tall hedges also hide strawberry beds and other yummy plantings from view.
  3. Don't overplant one species. Grow a variety of Salvias in case local deer take an unexpected liking to one species of sage.
  4. Fence deer out. Install electric fences or 8-foot wood or metal fences around particularly vulnerable areas. Make sure electric fencing is turned on during the peak feeding seasons of early spring and late fall.
  5. Use motion-detection tools. Install outdoor lighting that is activated by movement.
  6. Let the dogs out. Deer are especially wary of large dogs.
  7. Surround and cover. Wrap tough plastic around the trunks of trees that have tasty bark and cover foliage with bird netting when trees and bushes are fruiting.
  8. Change yard ornaments periodically. Objects such as scarecrows, statuary and cordons of monofilament string with strips of shiny foil attached cause deer to shy away.
  9. Make safe choices. Research repellants you plan to use to make sure they aren't poisonous.
  10. Be flexible and ready to share a bit. There is no such thing as a completely deer-resistant garden.