(Electric Purple Sage) Count Salvia x 'Electric Purple' among the best hummingbird flowers. Earlier bloom and sturdier branches are two of the characteristics separating it from Purple Majesty Sage, a close relative in the Anise-Scented Sage (S. guaranitica) Group.
Foliage is another major difference. Electric Purple Sage has lustrous dark green leaves that are thick and large in comparison to Purple Majesty's smaller, mint green leaves.
The stronger branches of this sage resist breakage. Its long blooming, royal purple flowers are more numerous and larger than those of its relative.
Although they are similarly sized mid-height sages, Electric Purple has a tidier, more compact form. Average watering based on local conditions is plenty, but this sage is a water lover similar to other members of its group.
We think it looks particularly pretty in containers. Don't worry about deer stopping by your patio for a nibble, because they aren't fond of sages.
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.
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.
(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.
(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.
(River Sage) Native to partially shaded stream-sides in Argentina and Bolivia, this is one of the few Salvia species that can tolerate wet soil. It makes a fine filler plant in a group of other partial shade growers, its wirey thin stems sending up floral displays here and there, much to the gardener's delight.
In contrast with some of the flashy, brilliantly colored Mexican Sages River Sage is small and quiet. It is a perfect filler lant in containers, and brings together more distinctive elements in a mixed border.
The variety we offer is clonal, a selection from the subspecies rypara 'Cuesta del Obispo strain collected in Northwest Argentina by Rolando Uria.
(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.
(Argentina Skies Anise-Scented Sage) PLEASE NOTE: A superior variety, 'Elk Argentina Skies' is now available.
The licorice-like fragrance of its foliage and the big whorls of large, sky blue flowers make this a stand-out sage. Tall and wide, it forms a tidy, long blooming background, screen or border.
Unlike many Salvia guaranitica clones, Argentina Skies clumps but does not grow by runners. This water-loving sage does well in full sun or partial shade and appreciates fertile soil. Butterflies and hummingbirds love it, but deer do not.
Charles O. Cresson, who teaches at Pennsylvania's Longwood Gardens and is the author of three books in the Burpee American Garden Series, originated Argentina Skies Anise-Scented Sage. He first described the plant and published its scientific name in the September 1990 issue of 'The Garden', a publication of the Royal Horticultural Society.
Cresson says he grew his popular sage from seed he received in the 1980s from a light blue flowered S. guaranitica found in the wild near Buenos Aires.
Overall, Salvia guaranitica species are colorful, long blooming, dependable and adaptable to a wide range of regions. Argentina Skies is one of the most cold-hardy varieties.
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.