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Salvia verticillata


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Salvia verticillata



Time to think about Fall Planting
This plant is
Ideal for Fall Planting
Degree of Difficulty
Easy
Degree of Difficulty
This plant is easy to grow in a variety of conditions.

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Description

(Lilac Sage) We try not to brag too much, but this is our own variety of Salvia verticillata from home-grown seed, and we think it is spectacular. Butterflies and honeybees also are in love with this long-blooming, heat-tolerant perennial.

Spring into summer, dense whorls of blue-to-smoky lavender flowers cover 3-foot-tall spikes arising from fragrant, mint-green, basal foliage. This native of Europe and Central Asia is lovely when mixed in cut-flower arrangements.

Although it only needs average watering based on local conditions, Lilac Sage works well in moist areas. It looks pretty in borders and containers and as a pathway edging. Give it full sun or partial shade in USDA Zones 5 to 9.

We offer this plant at a very reasonable price in order to encourage its widespread planting. When you grow Salvia verticillata, you help us help the honeybees and other beneficial insects pollinating gardens.

Details

Product rating
 
(1 reviews)  

In stock
Out of stock

Common name  
Lilac Sage
USDA Zones  
5 - 9
Size (h/w/fh)  
24"/42"/36"
Exposure  
Full sun to partial shade
Soil type  
Well drained
Water needs  
Average
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
Yes
Our price
10.50
Quantity Price
6-11 Items 8.00
12+ Items 7.50
*Note:

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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
Heat tolerant
Heat tolerant
Partial shade
Partial shade

Garden Uses

Container plant
Container plant
Cut flower
Cut flower
Fragrant
Fragrant

Growing Habit

5 - 9
5 - 9
24 inches tall
24 inches tall
42 inches wide
42 inches wide
Perennial
Perennial

Water Needs

Average water
Average water

Blooming Season

Spring blooming
Spring blooming
Summer blooming
Summer blooming

Wildlife

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

Rosette growing herbaceous perennial Salvias

These are herbaceous perennial species with low mounds of foliage and flowers on stems that grow erect from the base of the plant.

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 spring and summer, completely remove any flowering stems that become spent.


Dormant Season Pruning

At the end of the season, cut to ground any remaining flower stems.


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

  • Salvia amplexicaulis

    (Stem Clasping Violet Sage)  Like a candelabra lit up with whorls of violet blossoms, the erect, branching flower spikes of Salvia amplexicaulis make this native of Southeastern Europe shine. On the Grecian island of Thassos, it brightens areas near the beach.

    The summer-blooming flowers are nestled inside leaf-like burgundy bracts that attach directly to, or clasp, the flower stems without petioles. This gives the plant its common name. Its bright green, fragrant foliage has attractively bumpy, lance-shaped leaves. This sage is a good choice for perennial borders, woodland gardens and cut-flower beds.

    Although S. amplexicaulis does fine with regular watering, it does love moisture. So it is an ideal choice for moist problem areas in the yard. Give it a setting with full sun to partial shade along with average garden soil that drains well. Deadhead the flowers to prolong bloom time and keep butterflies visiting. Speaking of wildlife, deer tend to avoid most sages including this one.

    Here’s another reason to love this pretty plant: Scientists think that the essential oil of S. amplexicaulis may be useful in fighting bacterial infections.

    Here is a link to a great set of pictures for this plant.

    10.50

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  • Salvia cadmica

    Whorls of deep violet blossoms are cupped by dark bracts on the flower spikes of this mid-height herbaceous sage from Turkey. Its bright green foliage is thick, corrugated and fragrant. This plant is lovely and hardy, so it is surprising that it wasn’t introduced to commercial cultivation until 2007.

    Salvia cadmica is an adaptable, heat-tolerant perennial that grows well in partial shade to full sun and blooms from late spring through early summer. It does well in USDA Zones 7 to 10, either in dry conditions or with regular watering due to its ability to tolerate drought.

    In its homeland, it thrives in rocky, well-drained soil at altitudes of about 3,000 to 5,000 feet. It is endemic to Turkey, which means that is the only country where it grows wild without human intervention. There are nearly 100 species of salvia native to Turkey, of which more than 50 percent are endemic.

    This colorful sage sometimes is mistaken for a neighboring plant, Salvia smyrnea and is occasionally referred to by the synonym Salvia conradii Staph .

    Use it in perennial borders, along pathways and in dry gardens. Honeybees and butterflies will soon discover it and aid pollination throughout your gardens. Deer, however, will leave it alone.

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  • Salvia canescens var. daghestanica

    (Caucasus Sage) This hardy ground cover sage grows 4 to 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The velvety white fur of its foliage aids moisture retention. Its soft, royal purple flowers make it stand out. We think this Salvia deserves to spread far and wide.

    A tough native of the Caucasus Mountains of central Asia, it survives the freezing temperatures of Zone 5, forming a tight mat that withstands light traffic. It blooms in early summer and again in fall. Plant this beauty in well-drained soil, but don't pamper it; Caucasus Sage grows well in harsh environments.

    This is one of the shortest Salvias we grow and makes a fine border edging or rock garden plant. We highly recommend its use as a ground cover, so we offer a discount for larger orders.

    Here is a great blog article about this plant.

    11.50
  • Salvia cyanescens

    (Blue Turkish Sage) Large velvety gray-green to white leaves in loose rosettes give this sage a distinctive look as does the celestial violet-blue of its flowers. The blossoms seem much too large for this short sage and its thin, candelabra-branched flower spikes.

    Native to Iran and Turkey, it is drought-resistant and a fine choice for warm, dry spots. It grows slowly but is long-lived and tough.

    Blue Turkish Sage is perfect for use in a rock garden, on a slope, as part of a perennial border or in a dry garden. We highly recommend it as a container plant situated in a warm spot.

    Important Tips: This species appreciates limey soil and tolerates the cooler temperatures of Zone 6.

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  • Salvia forsskaolii

    (Balkan Sage) Violet-blue whorls of flowers and plentiful, fuzzy, basal leaves that reach an impressive length of 18 inches are two notable features about this hardy, herbaceous perennial, which is native to the Southeastern Balkan Peninsula.

    Balkan Sage is found in coniferous forests, meadows and slopes from Bulgaria to Turkey's Black Sea coast. However, it is named after the 19th century Finnish plant collector Peter Forsskål, who collected botanical samples further south in Saudi Arabia.

    Although deciduous in areas with cold winters, it blooms about nine months a year for us on the Northern California coast beginning in summer. Following a brief winter dormancy, it returns reliably every spring, clumping in a way that makes it look like Hosta from a distance. Yet, unlike that woodland plant, it grows well in full sun as well partial shade. It is a fine choice for a lightly shaded garden or border and is happy in the acid soil under conifers.

    Give it soil with average fertility, occasional water and enough shade to promote lush growth. Your reward will be large flowers with lovely white and yellow bee lines attractive to hummingbirds and honeybees.

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  • Salvia glutinosa

    (Jupiter's Distaff) Easy to grow and adaptable to a wide range of conditions, this native of Europe and Asia is our best tall, yellow-flowering perennial. Although its common name compares the flower spikes to wool spindles, they look more like glowing sceptres.

    Honeybees and butterflies love this long-flowering, drought-resistant Salvia, which is found in a wide sweep of mountains from the Alps in Europe to the Himalayas in Asia.  It has been used as a medicinal garden herb for millennia.

    This sage does well in dry or moist conditions and in full sun or partial shade. Its bright yellow flowers and lush foliage blend well in mixed plantings, borders and cut flower arrangements. 

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  • Salvia hierosolymitana

    (Jerusalem Sage) This lovely herbaceous perennial is native to Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank. Its clear pink flowers transition at times to a pink highlighted with violet lines and dots. Prominent glandular hairs on the buds, bracts and floral stems exude a fragrance that is delightful on a warm day.

    "Hierosolymitana" is related to the Greek word "hieros," which means holy and the Latin name for Jerusalem, "Hierosolyma." Palestinian Arabs sometimes use its leaves as a food wrap, similar to grape leaves. Jerusalem Sage needs full sun. Heat and drought tolerant, it seems to prefer being a bit dry.

    A short species that works well as a groundcover or border plant, Jerusalem Sage forms a basil rosette of mid-green leaves that gradually spread about 18 inches.  It blooms on and off throughout the growing season and seems especially generous in spring and fall.

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  • Salvia nemorosa 'Royal Crimson Distinction'

    (Royal Crimson Distinction Woodland Sage) Grown for hundreds of years in cottage gardens throughout the world, Salvia nemorosa was described by Carl Linneaus in 1762. This variety's large flower spikes bloom a dark violet-crimson, then age to a softer pink.

    The species has experienced a great deal of breeding and improvement since the 1800s. Royal Crimson Distinction is one of the finest varieties we have seen to date. It tolerates the year-round warmth of Zone 9 as well as the winter chill of Zone 6

    This water-loving sage blooms from spring through summer, attracting bumblebees, butterflies and hummingbirds, but not deer. It grows best in a sunny spot, but can tolerate partial shade. Plant it in well-drained soil with average fertility.

    Long blooming and tough, this plant has become a mainstay of perennial borders worldwide. At 24 inches tall, it also works well as a groundcover or edging a path.

    Highly recommended.

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  • Salvia pratensis 'Lapis Lazuli'

    (Lapis Lazuli Meadow Sage) Ethereal, lilac-pink, parrot-shaped blossoms abound on the tall flower spikes of this Salvia pratensis cultivar. So don’t expect a blue as the name indicates, but do expect great beauty during summer bloom time.

    At 18 to 30 inches tall with a spread of 18 inches, this is a good plant for the second row of a layered, perennial border. Gray-green, dense and fragrant, its basal foliage works well as a groundcover in woodland gardens. Or add it as a central element in summer patio containers. Wherever you plant it, expect visits from honeybees and butterflies.

    When first planted, the foliage rosette resembles the leaves of primrose plants.

    Meadow Sages are native to Europe and Asia. The parent of this cultivar was first recorded in the late 17th century in the Kent area of Southeast England. Salvia pratensis is now considered an endangered species in England due to its rarity and decline.

    In 2008, a botanical preserve in Kent reported the theft of all its Salvia pratensis plants, an offense under England’s 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. In contrast, the species is classified as invasive in Washington state. We have not noticed that to be the case in our gardens.

    This is another cold-tolerant Meadow Sage and grows well in USDA Zones 5 to 9. Although it can survive drought, Lapis Lazuli Meadow Sage needs regular watering for best bloom. Keep it moist but not soggy. Plant it in average garden soil that isn’t too rich, but contains enough organic matter for good drainage. A location with morning sun and afternoon shade is best.

    Salvia pratensis is part of a closely connected group of Meadow Sages, including Salvia x sylvestris , Salvia x superba and Salvia nemorosa. As with other sages, in general, Lapis Lazuli’s foliage is safe from deer and rabbits.
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  • Salvia regeliana

    (The Queen's Sage) Regal spikes of lavender-to-purple flowers give weight to this sage's common name. It provides an abundance of blossoms during summer in USDA Zones 6 to 10. Cold hardy and heat tolerant, this impressive perennial comes from the mountains of Turkey.

    Queen's Sage grows quickly into a large clump with tall, branched flower spikes. The fragrant foliage is an attractive gray-green. Although it is also known as Salvia verticillata subsp. verticillata, this seems inaccurate from a gardener's perspective. Queen's Sage tends to be taller and more stately than Lilac Sage.

    This is an attractive plant for perennial borders, large container plantings or path edging. Give it full sun, well-drained soil and average watering based on local conditions. Butterflies love it. Hummingbirds also visit, which can't be said for all Old World Salvias.

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  • Salvia ringens

    (Mount Olympus Sage) The deep violet and white flowers of Salvia ringens are eyecatching. Their wiry, branched spikes rise up to 5 feet tall from a dark green basal rosette.

    Ringens refers to the gaping look of the sage's two-lipped flowers, which bloom from summer into fall. Another notable characteristic about the plant's appearance is the fernlike look of its slightly gray foliage.

    This cold-hardy sage grows well in USDA Zones 6 to 9. It is endemic to the mountainous Balkan countries of Southeastern Europe, which means those are the only places to which it is native. As its common name indicates, the largest concentration is on Greece's Mount Olympus -- the mythological home of the Titans.

    This sage is easy to grow. Give it full sun, good drainage and loamy but not-too-rich soil. Although it does well in dry gardens, this sage needs at least occasional summer watering and more while becoming established. Winter mulch is necessary in the coldest zones.

    Gardeners in the UK have grown Mount Olympus Sage in perennial borders since at least 1913. However, it has never become popular in the United States. We think this needs to change!

    Highly recommended!

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  • Salvia sclarea 'Wild Form'

    (Clary or Clear Eye Sage or Eyebright) Pink-purple bracts and violet-purple flowers form a pastel cloud over the large, rumpled leaves of Clary Sage in summer. It is a towering beauty growing up to 5 feet tall. Sacred to some due to age-old use in herbal remedies, it is heavenly to look at.

    Depending on the nose of the gardener, its fragrance is either equally heavenly or hellishly rank like dirty socks. Personally, we enjoy Clary's musky aroma.

    Native to the Mediterranean, Clary loves full sun and works well in dry gardens as a background planting. It's also a good choice for a kitchen garden, because it also has a long history of culinary use. If you enjoy its fragrance, it is a fine choice for borders, cut flower gardens and containers.

    Clary is a biennial that blooms and dies the second year after it is planted. If you can tolerate snipping the lovely flower stalks before they wither, you can increase the plant's bloom. It reseeds, which means that you can expect new plants even though it isn't a perennial. Butterflies and honeybees love it, but deer leave it alone.

    This is seed wild collected in Turkey, and is the most vigerous form we have encountered.

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  • Salvia sclarea var turkestanica 'Piemont'

    (Italian Clary Sage) Clary Sages are well known for their use in folk remedies, aromatherapy and cosmetics. Glowing purple bracts frame the spectacular white blooms of this cultivar on 5-foot-tall spikes. It is a delight for honeybees and butterflies.

    The foot-long hairy leaves of this rosette-forming herbaceous perennial are striking for their symmetry and dark petioles.

    Flowering begins in early summer; if you remove the spent spikes, bloom time continues until close to fall.  Use Italian Clary Sage in perennial borders and background plantings.

    The key to long-term success with this ancient species is to never allow seed to form. Pruning the spikes is a difficult choice, because the bracts are so showy. However, failure to do so results in a short -lived plant. The cut stems look pretty in flower arrangements.

    Give this plant full sun and well-drained soil. Although it is drought resistant and works well in dry gardens, this sage responds well to average watering based on local conditions.

    Clary Sage is native to Europe. It was one of the first Salvias described by the Ancient Greeks, who used it medicinally to make eye washes and other remedies. Although some gardeners disagree, our noses know that this plant's heady aroma is a blessing in the garden.

    We highly recommend this plant as the best variety of its species.

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  • Salvia stepposa

    (Siberian Sage) Deep violet flowers surrounded by burgundy bracts form a handsome contrast with the pebbly, mint green foliage of this drought-resistant sage. It comes from the Central Asian steppe, which is similar in climate and geography to America’s high plains.

    Cold and heat tolerant, this is an ideal plant for semi-arid, high-altitude areas such as the Rocky Mountain West. It is native to lands stretching from Eastern Europe into Central Asia. You can find Salvia stepposa in countries such as Afghanistan, China’s Xinjiang province, Iran and Kyrgyzstan.

    Garden writer and researcher Noel Kingsbury describes Kyrgyzstan’s steppe country as being an ocean of Salvia, containing violet waves of Salvia stepposa. Kingsbury says it’s “like a vast garden border on a kind of overdrive.”

    Also known as Salvia dumetorum and Siberian Sage, this summer bloomer is adaptable to both full sun and partial shade. It grows in almost any kind of soil that drains well and reaches sizes up to 48 inches tall and 24 inches wide, which makes it just right for butterfly-attracting borders on overdrive in your garden.

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  • Salvia transsylvanica

    (Romanian Sage) Here's a great selection for mixed Salvia borders in zones with colder winters. This herbaceous perennial features deep violet flowers in large whorls atop tall, branched spikes.

    As its name indicates, Romania is a homeland. This cold- and heat-tolerant sage is also native to Northern and Central Russia.

    The stems of this sage are lax; they trail across the ground rooting as they go and forming small clumps. Flowering begins in early summer and continues until first frost. Lovely and long-blooming, this Salvia deserves to be planted in more gardens.

    Place Romanian Sage where you can also enjoy the prominently textured, yellow-green leaves, such as front of border or edging a pathway in a cottage garden. Give it full sun to partial shade, well-drained soil and average watering based on local conditions in USDA Zones 6 to 9.

    Although this sage probably is hardy to temperatures below 0 degrees F, we haven't yet been able to verify this hunch. If you live in Zone 5 or a colder area and decide to give it a test run, we would love to hear about the results. Remember that winter mulching usually improves chances of survival.

    Highly recommended by people but not by deer!

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  • Salvia viscosa

    (Mid-East Sage) Native to the mountains shared by Israel and Lebanon, this fragrant sage is drought resistant, heat tolerant and long blooming. Its tidy, basal foliage rises up and spreads only about 18 inches, but it has tall flower spikes.

    Sometimes called Sticky Sage, its scientific name refers to the stickiness of the plant's calyxes, which cup small, dusky pink flowers that bloom spring into summer. Its strap-shaped leaves form a dense rosette.

    Salvia viscosa is easy to grow. It is an efficient, heat-tolerant groundcover and is perfect for dry gardens in USDA Zones 8 to 10. Combine it in a mixed border with the deep purple flowers of Salvia coahuilensis, which is similarly short and has the same cultural needs of full sun and well-drained soil. Although Salvia viscosa can get by with little watering, it appreciates average moisture based on local conditions.

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  • Tweedia caerulea

    (Blue Milkweed) It's not unusual to see the sky-blue, star-shaped flowers of Tweedia caerulea tucked into bridal bouquets. Yet they are members of the humble milkweed family Asclepiadaceae.

    Blue Milkweed is a heat-loving species that grows best in a location with full sun and access to a bit of shade. It is native to Uruguay and Southern Brazil and can be planted as a perennial in USDA Cold Hardiness Zones with moderate winter weather. However, it works well as an annual in other zones. You can encourage branching by pinching the flower buds back when growth is young.

    Other common names for Blue Milkweed include Southern Star, Star of the Argentine, Silkpods and Star Flower. Another scientific synonym is Oxypetalum coeruleum. Sometimes its petals have lovely purple speckles.

    This milkweed is widely grown in New Zealand to provide nectar and host caterpillars for Monarch butterflies.

    Caerulea is Latin for blue. In contrast, the genus name honors James Tweedie (1775-1862), the Scottish gardener and plant explorer who found the species in South America during the first half of the 19th century. At the age of 50, Tweedie immigrated to South America and traveled throughout the continent collecting plants to send back to Scotland. He is best known for introducing wild petunias to Europe, which became wildly popular hybrids worldwide.

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  • Salvia elegans 'Tangerine'

    (Tangerine Pineapple Sage) This citrus-scented cultivar is our smallest variety of Pineapple Sage. Worth growing just for the exotic scent of its leaves, this culinary Salvia is also one of the longest blooming plants in its species.

    How is this variety of Pineapple Sage different from Honey Melon?  Tangerine's leaves are much smaller (1/2 inch x 1 inch as opposed to 1 inch x 1 1/2 inches), and the plant is shorter (18 inches tall vs. 24 inches). Tangerine also has darker red flowers, foliage with a very different scent and a shrubbier look. Of course, anyone who loves scented plants should have both.

    Tangerine Pineapple Sage spreads into a dense clump with underground runners. By cutting back older stems to the ground, new fresh growth keeps it in flower for months. On the Northern California coast, it starts blooming no later than May and sometimes continues until February.

    Grow this cultivar in partial shade in warmer zones or in full sun in the coolest part of its range. Along with Honey Melon, Tangerine is easier to grow in most of the country than the larger-growing varieties of Pineapple Sage.

    Native to Mexico, Pineapple Sage is found at high elevations in Pine and Oak forests. The species is used as a medicinal herb -- such as in herb tea -- to relieve anxiety and treat hypertension. Just smelling the leaves makes us happier.

    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
Average customer rating:
 
(1 reviews)  



1 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
Mary Smith
Aug 12, 2017
This customer purchased the item at our site.
Blooms pretty continuously from late spring through fall, planted in full sun wit 45 minutes of drip every 5 days in summer. Attracts various pollinators.
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Praise for Top 10 Lesser-Known Drought-Resistant Salvias

Praise for Top 10 Lesser-Known Drought-Resistant Salvias


Category: Xeric Choices
Posted: Jul 14, 2015 06:00 AM
Synopsis: Eco-vigilantes. That's what some newspapers call smartphone users who post photos and videos tagged droughtshaming on Twitter and other social media documenting careless water use by celebrities, everyday homeowners and businesses, especially in Southern California.
How to Find Food for the Bees at Flowers by the Sea

How to Find Food for the Bees at Flowers by the Sea


Category: Sage Words About Wildlife
Posted: Sep 29, 2014 03:00 AM
Synopsis: Forgive the bad pun, but we almost wouldn't be without bees. These tiny pollinators make it possible for us to eat and experience the flowering beauty of the world around us. Honeybees -- the kind managed by beekeepers -- and thousands of wild species pollinate at least one-third of the plant species we eat. At Flowers by the Sea we've decided to improve our efforts to help the genus Apis. Our first step is to make it easier for you to find plants honeybees frequent by making our catalog easier to search for bee favorites.
20 Heavenly Sages and Companions for Hell Strips

20 Heavenly Sages and Companions for Hell Strips


Category: Everything Salvias Blog
Posted: Feb 2, 2014 12:36 PM
Synopsis: Some gardeners call them parking strip or drive-strip gardens. Others bestow the more genteel names of tree-lawn or boulevard garden on these attempts to beautify the scraggly, grassy, weed-ridden verges between sidewalk and street. Then there is the most popular name of all, hell strips, which garden writer and designer Lauren Springer Ogden coined. One colorful solution to the hell strip is to plant short, tough sages (Salvia spp.) and equally drought-resistant companion plants.
Book Review:  The New Sunset Western Garden Book

Book Review: The New Sunset Western Garden Book


Category: Book Reviews
Posted: Sep 20, 2013 11:48 AM
Synopsis: On a day when it's too cold or hot to be outside, a gardening guide, such as The New Sunset Western Garden Book, is a useful and entertaining companion. At 768 pages long, it isn't lightweight reading. Be prepared to prop the book up on pillows in your lap as you page through it while kicking back on the couch.
Quick Digs: Zone 5 - 9 Weedbuster Gardens for Average Moisture

Quick Digs: Zone 5 - 9 Weedbuster Gardens for Average Moisture


Category: Quick Digs
Posted: Jul 29, 2013 08:33 AM
Synopsis: "font-size: 12px; font-style: italic;">Quick Digs is a new serial containing short posts focused on a central issue. The topic for the first series is Salvia groundcovers for weed control, and this is the second article. Baby, it can be cold outside in Zone 5 during the winter! But the roots of all of these tough sages ( "font-style: italic;">Salvia spp.) listed here survive sustained frost and snow, then rise up again in spring. To minimize weed growth, the best defense is the good offense of dominating a flowerbed with sages, especially a mat-forming groundcover. Although much research is yet to be done, it appears that Salvia plant chemicals and growing patterns deter weed growth.
Pantone Pageant: 15 Designer African Violet Salvias and Companions

Pantone Pageant: 15 Designer African Violet Salvias and Companions


Category: Cultivating Color
Posted: May 23, 2013 09:22 AM
Synopsis: Purples are cool yet quietly passionate. This includes African Violet 16-3520, a spring 2013 designer color created by the Pantone Corporation. Shades in the blue and purple color range are tranquil and soothing yet commanding, because they calm the garden. If you have a garden bed that is in your face with bright reds, oranges and yellows, one way to cool it down is to add Salvias and companion plants from the blue to purple palatte. Here are 15 choices from our catalog that fashionably match Pantone's African Violet.
New at FBTS: Vermilion Bluffs ® Mexican Sage

New at FBTS: Vermilion Bluffs ® Mexican Sage


Category: New at FBTS
Posted: May 19, 2013 09:07 PM
Synopsis: A 'mass of scarlet awesomeness' is one way that Denver Botanic Gardens Senior Curator Panayoti Kelaidis describes Vermilion Bluffs® Mexican Sage (Salvia darcyi 'Pscarl') at his Prairie Break website. Unlike so many Southwestern sages, Vermilion Bluffs is surprisingly cold hardy as well as being drought tolerant. Its common name is taken from the spectacular red bluffs of the Vermillion Basin Wilderness in Northwestern Colorado, an area redolent with the scent of sage on hot days. But the plant is native to the Nuevo Leon area of Mexico's eastern Sierra Madre Occidental mountains. The story of how its parent plant arrived at Denver Botanic Gardens (DBG) and, eventually, at Flowers by the Sea is one of diaspora.
Salvia Soothes Eye, Heart and Honeybees in Remembrance Gardens

Salvia Soothes Eye, Heart and Honeybees in Remembrance Gardens


Category: Everything Salvias Blog
Posted: Sep 7, 2012 09:51 AM
Synopsis: In the days following the terrorist destruction of New York’s World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, one article in The New York Times focused on the recovery of 30 acres of gardens of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy a few blocks south of where the Twin Towers once stood.
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.