(Mister Jules Hybrid Sage) Long, dark, velvety stems contrast dramatically with the deep red flowers of this hybrid, spreading sage from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Arboretum.
The parent plants are Mexican Winter Sage (Salvia holwayi) -- a superior, spreading groundcover or sprawling shrub -- and Cardinal Sage (S. fulgens), which is an upright shrub with large, deep red flowers.
Not well known in the nursery trade, this is a fine choice for great winter color and hummingbird habitat in mild climates. It grows well in full sun to partial shade when given average watering based on local conditions.
We consider Mister Jules one of the best sages for covering large areas and providing a bright spot during the dark days of winter. Its flower spikes are also pretty additions to cut-flower bouquets.
These are species that grow as woody shrubs and keep their foliage year round.
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.
(Cinnabar Sage) Think of this plant as Pineapple Sage on steroids. It grows 5 feet tall and can be twice as wide in a good spot and bursts with large, furry, cinnabar red flowers all winter. Our overwintering hummingbirds adore it. This sage is hard to forget once you see it in full bloom.
Coming from the cloud forests of Southern Mexico, this species is a great choice for woodland-style gardens where it can spread out and poke its long stems up here-and-there. In partial shade, it is a rambler that forms an attractive screen. Cinnabar Sage responds well to feeding and watering, but is not delicate. It is well worth growing if you live in a mild climate.
(Red Velvet Sage) Reaching up to 18 inches tall, the floral spikes of this exotic looking Salvia are crowded with small, velvety, orange-red blossoms from mid-summer to late autumn. Its large, dark green, pebbly leaves are beautiful in their own right, making this one of our favorite sages.
Red Velvet Sage is native to Central and South America. In mild climates, it can grow up to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. So sheltering it from the wind -- by staking or situating it near plants that provide support -- is necessary to prevent breakage of the heavy, red tinged stems.
We have found that deep, weekly watering, an occasional light feeding of multipurpose fertilizer and heavy pruning in late winter or early spring keep this dramatic plant looking its best. One reward for this care is excellent stems for cut flower arrangements.
(Southern Mexican Sage) With its graceful, shrubby habit, purplish green leaves and intense tomato-red blooms, this herbaceous perennial makes a delightful display in your garden. It begins blooming in October and continues sporadically through the winter and into spring in frost-free areas.
Collected by Strybing Arboretum botanists in the late 1980s, it is native to high elevations (7,500-11,000 ft.) in the Mexican provinces of Oaxaca and Chiapas as well as in Guatemala. This is a true cloud-forest sage that best loves a planting location with morning sun and afternoon shade.
For a medium-size plant with pleasing proportions by bloom time, cut stems back to a few inches above the ground in early spring. You'll be pleased to know that although honeybees and hummingbirds love this sage, deer don't.
(Cardinal Sage) Aptly named for its cardinal red, 2-inch-long flowers that glisten in the autumn sun, this full-sun sage blooms from fall into winter. Hummingbirds love it, but deer resist its charms. Growing up to 5 feet tall, it makes a fine screen.
Cardinal Sage is another Salvia of uncertain nomenclature. Some sources identify it as Salvia fulgens, while others say it is Salvia cardinalis or S. fulgens var. cardinalis.
Cardinal Sage is native to elevations up to 11,000 feet in Central Mexico. It is a shrub in Zones 8 and 9 or an herbaceous perennial in Zone 7. Plant it in a warm spot with fertile, well-drained soil. Although it loves water, it also does well in dry conditions. We highly recommend this adaptable beauty.
(Big Mexican Scarlet Sage) This heavily blooming Salvia from Mexico has heart-shaped leaves and spectacular flower spikes up to 18 inches long from winter through spring. The blooms are bright red-orange with rich purple-black calyxes and stems.
Give this sage full sun and plenty of room, because it grows up to 10 feet tall and almost as wide. It needs protection from strong winds and rains that can cause the heavily laden, woody branches to break.
This variety of Salvia gesneriiflora often is called "Tequila" in reference to its scientific name. In 1970, botanists from Southern California's Huntington Botanical Gardens collected seed from the parent plant on the Volcan de Tequila in the Mexican Province of Jalisco.
One of the showiest Salvias we grow, Tequila also is one of our very best hummingbird plants. It's popular with butterflies and honeybees as well, whereas deer avoid it. Use it as a screen, background planting or border.
(Winter Mexican Sage) Call it the Snow Queen! From fall through spring, this graceful, colorful sage blooms through 20 degree F weather despite snow and ice. It has lovely, triangular, dark green leaves and profuse clusters of tubular, cinnabar-red flowers that puff out in the center.
in our coastal, Northern California garden, it often blooms from October through April and sometimes shoots up a few flower spikes in summer. Winter Mexican Sage is native to a wide territory from Chaipas, Mexico, to Guatemala where it grows at 3,000 to 9,000 feet in mixed pine and oak forests. It particularly appreciates locations with morning sun and afternoon shade. Use it as a mid-height groundcover, border plant or woodland garden highlight.
In colder climates treat this sage as a subshrub that dies back to the ground similar to an herbaceous perennial. Here on the edge of Zone 8 and 9, it is a shrub that can become large unless pruned. However, it's well worth the time spent trimming.
(Hadspen Roseleaf Sage) If you plant this sage in a mild-climate area where hummingbirds overwinter, you'll likely find hummers zinging back and forth among its magenta pink blossoms from fall through spring.
In the hottest climates, Hadspen Roseleaf Sage requires a bit of deep shade. It appreciates average to rich soil and regular watering. This is the largest variety of the species that we cultivate. Sometimes growing more than 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, it makes a fine screen or background planting, such as at the back of borders.
This is our largest Roseleaf Sage and is of uncertain origin. It may have been collected in Mexico by New Mexico's Mesa Garden nursery or it may be a garden hybrid. This is the plant recognized by this name in the horticultural trade.
Plant this Salvia where you want to make a bold statement. We like to pair it with Salvia mexicana varieties for contrasting color and foliage.
(Karwinski's Sage) From moist mountain areas in Mexico and Central America, this rugged, winter-blooming shrub is found in oak or pine forests at altitudes of 4,000 to 8,000 feet. This may account for this winter bloomer's ability to produce some bright, brick-red flowers even during short periods of freezing weather with temperatures as low as 20 degrees F.
Speaking of color, the reds of Karwinski's Sage vary, but hummingbirds love them all. This variety was originally collected by the San Francisco Botanical Garden.
The plant's leaves are pebbly and large -- up to 6 inches long -- with cream-colored hairs on the underside. Size is another dramatic aspect of this plant, which can grow up to 10 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Due to this generous size, it helps to plant Karwinski's Sage in a spot where it is protected against chill and winds. A south-facing wall is ideal. It makes a good screen or background planting, but can also be grown in a large patio container.
To encourage upright, compact growth, periodically remove some of the flowering branches. Or you can prune the plant down to a few active growth nodes once a year at the end of its winter flowering season when it appears there will be no more frost.
This sage is named for German botanist Baron Wilhelm Friedrich Karwinski von Karvin who explored Mexico in the early 19th century.
(El Butano Downy Sage) El Butano is a horticulturally rich area of Cumbres de Monterrey National Park in the mountains of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. El Butano Downy Sage was discovered in this area where it grows at elevations of 4,500 to 8,000 feet.
The selection that we grow was collected at 7,000 feet. The "puberula" part of the species' scientific name refers to the velvety hairs of its light green leaves.
This is a large shrub reaching up to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Its deep magenta flowers are also big, growing almost 4 inches long in clusters atop tall spikes that look pretty in floral displays.
If you live in an area with mild winter temperatures, you can expect intense color from fall into winter. Where we live on the Northern California coast, our established plants continue to bloom most years until early spring, even following snow, hail and multiple days of cold rain. Also, we've found that a hard pinch back during summer makes for a more compact plant at bloom time.
El Butano Downy Sage grows well in full sun to partial shade and in USDA Zones 7 to 11. It likes well-drained soil that is neither poor nor rich and requires average watering based on local conditions. Grow it as a screen, background planting or part of a shrub border.
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.