(Cherry Red Mountain Sage) This isn't just another red sage. Brilliant cherry-red flowers with dark purple bracts and cold weather tolerance to USDA Zone 6 make this a valuable landscaping plant.
Cherry Red is an easy-to-grow sage with a vertical habit that is useful for filling narrow spaces in shrub borders. Thanks go to North Carolina plantsman Richard Dufresne for this fine hybrid of Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla) and another form of that species called Graham's Sage (S. grahamii).
The parents of Cherry Red are native to the American Southwest and Mexico. Graham's Sage was named for George John Graham (1803-1878), a plant collector from England who explored Mexican flora.
Heat tolerant, drought resistant and long blooming, this is an important sage in wildlife habitat and native gardens where it attracts butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds, but not deer.
These are species that produce woody stems, but die back to the ground in the winter in all but the warmest climates. In warm winter areas these can become woody shrubs, but they generally benefit from the following pruning methods.
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.
(Elk Pomegranate Autumn Sage) We're proud to say that this is an FBTS cultivar. It is one of the finest dark flowered, compact Autumn Sage varieties we have seen. Its extraordinarily large, raspberry blossoms bloom from spring into fall.
The large, luxuriant leaves are a bright Kelly green as are the stems and calyxes. Although it does well in full sun, it especially thrives in morning sun and afternoon shade. This heat-tolerant, drought-resistant sage is ideal in patio containers and along borders. It's also just the right size and look for a dry garden groundcover.
We aren't the only ones that love it. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds frequently visit our Elk Pomegranate plantings. They highly recommend it and so do we.
(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.
(Black Stem Mountain Sage) Intense cardinal red flowers, stiff black stems and large, ribbed, green leaves make this Salvia microphylla stand out. Its color and upright growth make it dramatic amid a group of soft, rounded Salvias.
Mountain Sage usually ranges from 24 to 48 inches tall. This is one of the larger varieties. The species is native to the American Southwest, most parts of Mexico and sometimes is found further south in Guatemala and Belize.
Mountain sages grow well in full sun and partial shade. This one does very well in partial shade and even blooms in full shade. Due to originating in the warmer climes of Belize, it is less cold hardy than many cultivars of the species.
In USDA Zones 8 to 9, Black Stem blooms from spring to fall, but with little production in summer. Except for good drainage, it isn't picky about its soil. Depending on local conditions, it may fit into either a perennial or shrub border. Black Stem also looks pretty as a background planting or screen. Heat and drought tolerant, it does well in dry and native gardens. We highly recommend it, and so do hummingbirds.
(Hot Lips Sage) What a winner for fascinating flowers! Hot Lips Sage has solid red, solid white and two-tone combinations all on the same plant and often at the same time. The variations are random. You might say that this shrubby sage is mixed-up, but its confused coloring makes it highly desirable.
The flowers, which primarily bloom in spring and fall, flower more during cool weather and when regularly watered and fertilized. We have never determined any reason for its color variations or any conditions that standardize their pattern.
This Mountain Sage has a tightly branched form. Often, it is covered with so many flowers that they seem to outnumber the small, green leaves.
Depending on local climate, Hot Lips works well in either a perennial or shrub border. It's a fine addition to a dry garden. We love and highly recommend this mountain treasure from Oaxaca, Mexico.
(Red Velvet Mountain Sage) This is one of the most intense red-flowering variety of Mountain Sage we grow. Medium-sized flowers are profuse on this large, vigorous plant -- particularly in spring and fall. Dark stems and calyxes intensify the plant's drama along with glossy green foliage.
In a mixed group of Mountain Sage and the closely related species Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii), Red Velvet is always the first plant you notice.
Red Velvet can handle full sun, but particularly flourishes in partial shade. It even blooms in full shade. It needs well-drained soil and regular watering based on local conditions. At 48 inches tall and wide, it is ideal for a shorter screen or background planting, especially in a native garden. In the cooler part of its range, it works well in perennial borders. In warmer zones, group it with shrubby Salvias.
We highly recommend this fast growing, lovely plant. Thank you to Luen Miller of Monterey Bay Nursery for developing this exceptional Salvia microphylla.
(Royal Bumble Mountain Sage) Almost black, the stems and calyxes of this UK hybrid form a pleasing contrast with its scarlet flowers and aromatic, glossy green leaves. Bloom time is spring to fall. This Mountain Sage suckers freely and forms a dense clump.
The flowers are velvety and long blooming. This fast-growing hybrid survives drought, but appreciates regular watering. It does particularly well in partial shade. Except for needing good drainage, it isn't fussy about soil type.
Royal Bumble looks pretty in borders and does well in dry gardens. It is a colorful choice for native gardens. Grow it as a screen or background plant and in native plant gardens.
We love and highly recommend this sage. So do butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds.
(Vermilion Bluffs® Mexican Sage) The brilliant red flowers of Vermilion Bluffs bloom abundantly from August to October. This variety of the Mexican native Salvia darcyi is cold hardy to Zone 5b at altitudes up to 5,500 feet.
Salvia darcyi comes from Mexico's eastern Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range where it grows at altitudes up to 9,000 feet. Denver Botanic Gardens developed Vermilion Bluffs to withstand the colder winter weather of the Rocky Mountain region. It is a welcome substitute for Salvia microphylla or Salvia x jamensis , which struggle in cold weather.
This sun-loving sage likes loamy soil. Plant it in shrubby borders, dry flower gardens and containers. Its underground runners form a tough mat that blocks weeds.
The wrinkly, soft green foliage forms a graceful mound that glows against the bright flowers, which attract butterflies and hummingbirds. After frost, the foliage dies to the ground like an herbaceous perennial. Then it returns in spring.
We can't help but highly recommend this easy-care plant.
Vermilion Bluffs is a registered trademark of Plant Select.
(Christine Yeo Sage) A chance hybrid of two Mexican sages --Salvia microphylla and S. chamaedryoides -- Christine Yeo Sage is long blooming and features deep purple flowers with white eyes.
Heat tolerant, cold hardy and drought resistant, this well-branched subshrub blooms like crazy and has deep green, rose-like leaves. It originated in horticulture writer Christine Yeo's garden in England.
This is an ideal Salvia for borders, edging, groundcover or entryway containers. Honeybees love Christine Yeo Sage, but deer avoid it.
(John Whittlesey Sage) Hardy, vigorous and long blooming, John Whittlesey Sage is a hybrid of D'Arcy's Sage (Salvia darcyi) -- a native of Mexico -- and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla), which is native to the American Southwest and Mexico.
The long flowering season of this sage makes John Whittlesey Sage a garden favorite; it begins bursting with salmon-red blooms early in the growing season. You can grow it as a bedding plant in areas with winters cooler than those of USDA Zone 7. In warmer zones, this tidy sage is an herbaceous perennial.
In coastal areas, John Whittlesey Sage is a great stand-in for the plethora of little-leaf species -- Mountain Sage, Autumn Sage (S. greggii )and Jame Sage (S. x jamensis) -- that often struggle with humidity.
Hummingbirds love the bright red flowers of this full-sun, heat-tolerant plant that makes a tall but effective groundcover. However, it is generally used in mixed borders.
Horticulturist Mike Thiede of Chico, California, developed this sage and named it for John Whittlesey of Canyon Creek Nursery in Oroville, California.
(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.