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Salvia stolonifera


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Salvia stolonifera

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Description

(Creeping Mexican Sage) Thick, heavily textured and nearly round, the foliage of this gently creeping perennial is as showy as its tall spikes of large orange flowers that bloom in fall. This is a water-loving species from Oaxaca, Mexico.

The appellation "Stolonifera" in its scientific name refers to above-ground runners called stolons, which cause the plant to spread and gradually form a dense mat. This makes it a fine groundcover.

Creeping Mexican Sage also looks pretty in a container or along a pathway -- places where you can appreciate its beauty up close. Even if this sage didn't flower much we would grow it for the handsome leaves.

Although tolerant of full sun, this species appreciates partial shade. Give it ample water and rich, well-drained soil. It is ideal for damp woodland gardens in mild climates.

Although we know that Creeping Mexican Sage does well in USDA Zones 9 to 11, we have also received reports of it surviving winters in colder areas. If you try it in a region with chillier winter weather, please let us know the results.

Highly recommended.

Details

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Common name  
Creeping Mexican Sage
USDA Zones  
7 - 11
Size (h/w/fh)  
24"/24"/30"
Exposure  
Partial shade
Soil type  
Well drained & rich
Water needs  
Water loving
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 sun
Full sun
Partial shade
Partial shade

Garden Uses

Container plant
Container plant

Growing Habit

7 - 11
7 - 11
24 inches tall
24 inches tall
24 inches wide
24 inches wide
Ground cover
Ground cover
Perennial
Perennial

Water Needs

Average water
Average water

Blooming Season

Fall blooming
Fall blooming

Wildlife

Deer resistant
Deer resistant
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 lineata

    (Oaxaca Orange Wooly Sage) Tall, eye-catching spikes of dusky red-orange flowers that bloom from summer into fall make this one of our most impressive Salvias. Plus it's cold hardy into Zone 7.

    Even in a fully blooming border, this native of Southern Mexico's cloud forests is the plant that draws the eye.The flowers harmonize with deep blues, such as the gentian of Salvia patens 'Patio Blue,' and bright yellows, including Salvia nubicola.

    It is Oaxaca Orange's hairy foliage that gains it the description of being 'wooly' and helps it survive drought and heat. This sage works well in herbaceous perennial borders and container plantings or as a small-scale groundcover in the broad range of climates from Zones 7 to 11. We highly recommend it.

    10.50
  • Salvia x 'Big Swing'

    (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.

    10.50
  • Salvia patens 'Guanajuato'

    (Guanajuato Giant Gentian Sage) At 3 inches long, the flowers of this Gentian Sage are the largest of any we grow. Guanjuato Giant is also unique for its tall, upright growth and heavily textured foliage.

    Spikes of deep, true blue flowers that rise up to 48 inches tall make this perennial sage a standout in the garden from summer into fall. This Gentian Sage is reliably perennial in USDA Zones 8 to 11. Its spectacular flowers also make it a fine choice as a summer bedding plant in areas with colder winters.

    Guanjuato Giant likes regular watering and rich, well-drained soil. It does fine in full sun or partial shade and can handle moist corners of the yard. Use it as a path edging, border, groundcover or container plant.

    German botanist Karl Hartweg discovered the Salvia patens species in 1838. British horticulturist Graham Stuart Thomas later called it "the best plant in cultivation."

    Although, true blue is not a part of the color spectrum that hummingbirds favor, they are attracted to Gentian Sages especially when mixed with red-flowered sages.

    10.50
  • Salvia patens 'White Trophy'

    (White Trophy Gentian Sage) White Trophy loves partial shade and is the finest white Salvia patens available, with very large flowers that age to pale blue.

    Since the 1838 discovery of this herbaceous species from Central Mexico, Salvia patens has been a mainstay of the perennial garden. British horticulturist Graham Stuart Thomas called Salvia patens "the best plant in cultivation."

    Well branched and compact, this shade-loving variety has 2 1/2-inch flowers that bloom summer into fall. It is a reliable perennial, returning year after year in Zones 8 to 11. However, it is so lovely that it is worth growing as a summer bedding plant in colder zones. Whether grown as a perennial or annual, it is a perfect companion to any of the blue-flowered Gentian Sages.

    White Trophy can handle moist corners of the yard. Water it regularly and provide rich, well-drained soil. It looks pretty edging a shady path and in border, groundcover or container plantings.

    Highly recommended by butterflies, but not by deer!

    10.50

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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.
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.