(Giant Red Cardinal Flower) Similar to the plumage of a Northern Cardinal, the long-blooming flowers of this Lobelia hybrid are startlingly red. The tubular blossoms have lips that flare at their openings into petals shaped like poinsettia bracts.
When in bloom, Giant Red Cardinal Flower doubles in height. It's spectacular cardinal red flower spikes make dramatic additions to cut flower arrangements.
The clumping foliage, which forms a mound, has lance-shaped, mid-green leaves with serrated edges. Remember that young children and pets should not chew on the leaves due to their alkaloids.
Although the origin of Lobelia hybrids can be difficult to nail down, a number of sources identify Giant Red as a cross between L. cardinalis, L. siphilitica and L. fulgens. The first two plants are native to the U.S. while L. fulgens comes from Mexico.
Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds all are drawn to Giant Red. The great news for gardeners who enjoy developing small wildlife habitat is that this plant is easy to cultivate and grows rapidly. Although it does fine with average watering based on local conditions, it loves wet feet. So it does well in and near ponds and boggy areas in full sun.
Plant Giant Red in containers, borders, native plant gardens and seasonal flower beds. It's especially ideal for woodland gardens.
Although used in cooking, this mild tasting oregano is particularly ornamental. Its gold-green leaves turn bright gold in autumn adding a glow to herb gardens, borders and container plantings. In summer, it shoots up 20-inch-tall spikes of pink flowers.
Norton’s Gold is a hybrid, but the species is native to Greece and Turkey. This short variety rises up 3 to 6 inches and spreads 24 inches or more. So it works well as a fragrant, drought-resistant groundcover. It's also cold tolerant and grows well in USDA Zones 6 to 9.
Give this perennial partial to full shade or a combination of morning sun and afternoon shade. Any soil will do as long as it is well drained. Regular watering is fine, but as with so many herbs, Norton’s Gold Oregano thrives in dry conditions.
Historically, oreganos have been used as in herbal remedies for problems including respiratory difficulties, heartburn and urinary tract afflictions. Oregano oil also is used in insect repellant; in the garden, oregano plants deter many garden pests while attracting honeybees and butterflies. You might say they are golden.
(Texas Wedding White Autumn Sage) This is our best white-flowered Autumn Sage. It is compact, hardy and blooms abundantly. We love it as a contrast to the generally bright colors of its group. Texas Wedding seems to always be blooming, with massive displays in spring and fall.
The flowers are small but so profuse that they seem to outnumber the leaves.
This variety of Salvia greggii makes a great, small-scale groundcover when each plant is spaced two feet apart. Although it tolerates some shade -- especially in hot climates -- it needs full sun. Good drainage is another necessity, but it doesn't require much watering.
Texas Wedding is reliably hardy to 10 degrees F, but can tolerate colder temperatures with mulching. Here's some other good news: Deer don't much care for it.
(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.
(Delicate Lady Autumn Sage)The hot pink skirt and reddish throat of this sage's flowers draw the eye. Although Señorita Leah does well in full sun, the color of its flowers intensifies with a bit of shade. Compact and floriferous, it blooms from spring to fall.
Perennial in Zones 7 to 9, it is an attractive annual in areas with cooler winters. This smallish shrub looks lovely as a groundcover or border plant and in patio containers.
Overall, Salvia greggii species are colorful, long blooming, dependable, drought resistant and adaptable to a wide range of regions.
(Scarlet Spires Sage) This is a brilliant cross between the sturdy D'Arcy's Sage (Salvia darcyi) and the beautifully colored 'Raspberry Delight' Littleleaf Sage (Salvia microphylla 'Raspberry Delight').
Sometimes children exceed the success of their parents, and that is the case with Scarlet Spires. This is one of our top hummingbird plants as well as one of our best Salvias for cut-flower gardens. It is a long-blooming choice with foot-tall spikes of large, scarlet flowers and attractive gray-green foliage.
Drought tolerant and dramatic, it is ideal for massing, mixed borders or patio containers. Give it full sun and well-drained soil.
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.
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:
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.