This plant is available only in the spring
(Envy Hybrid Sage) A natural hybrid found in Peru and Bolivia, the parentage of this special variety is at this point unknown. The uniquely colored flowers are abundant all season long, and the hummingbirds love it.
Growing four feet or more in a single season, this shrubby plant is a good choice for colder Zones as a long blooming annual. In frost free climates it becomes a semi-woody shrub that can be shaped to fit your needs.
We grew a large number of seedlings of this variety in 2016, and selected this clone as a superior variety.
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.
(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.
(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.
(Bolivian Mountain Sage) Neon lilac-pink flowers light up the handsome, furry foliage of this distinctive sage from high in the Andes cloud forests. Its large, textured leaves have dark, velvety purple undersides. Unhappy in dry heat, this is a very showy plant for humid areas.
In our mild coastal climate, Bolivian Mountain Sage does well in full sun; however, partial shade and ample water are keys to success in hotter, drier areas. It also appreciates rich, well-drained soil.
In the ground, this sage grows into a shrub up to 5 feet tall in Zone 9 to 11. Or plant it in a large container as a natural focal point on a partially shady patio. It also works well as a seasonal bedding plant. But remember that this water-loving sage particularly appreciates morning sun and afternoon shade.
In mild climates, it blooms year round, so this is a great choice for gardens where hummingbirds winter over. As with so many Salvias, this one is deer resistant.
(Smith College Mystery Sage) This mysterious species came to us via Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. We refer to it as "Mystery Sage" as the origins of this fine plant are unclear.
This is a subshrub, which means that it combines woody growth with soft, herbaceous foliage. Give it full sun to partial shade, average watering based on local conditions and rich, well-drained soil. Expect it to grow rapidly and bloom profusely. The flower clusters are golf ball sized, and cover the plant late in the season. In warmer Zones it can bloom all year long!
This is an excelent choice for seasonal bedding in colder climates, where it brings an exotic look to the garden. Honeybees love this heat-tolerant, mid-height sage, but deer avoid it.
(Mystery Peruvian Sage) Airy spikes of fuzzy, bright orange-red flowers and grassy green calyxes mark this Peruvian sage as a mystery worth pursuing. Little is certain about its parentage.
The UK's leading Salvia expert, Robin Middleton, notes, at his Robin's Salvias website, that the University of Reading is studying SL411.
SL411 may be related to three kinds of Salvias, including striata, S. squalens or S. tubiflora.
Middleton says that it is the large leaves of SL411 that seem to connect it to S. squalens.
SL411 is a long-blooming, high-altitude sage that grows rapidly and easily in full sun to partial shade with rich but well-drained soil. It is a water-loving tender perennial. Hummingbirds enjoy its nectar.
(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
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.
August is a time when many sages grow rapidly and feed a frenzy of pollinators in need of rich nectar and pollen. It's hot, so you have to be careful not to let plants or yourself wilt.
Here are some tips for tasks from watering to planning when tending your garden this month.
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.