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 You are here    Flowers by the Sea / Categories / Salvias by Origin / African Natives
African Natives
African Natives

From the plant-rich Cape of South Africa to to the Highlands of Ethiopia, the African continent has some of the most unusual and floriferous Salviasanywhere in the world. Most are also drought and heat tolerant.

Many of these sages are the subjects of modern medical research, because indigenous African peoples have a long history of using them in herbal remedies and still rely on them medically. All the ones we grow and list here are beautiful and reliable garden performers.

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(Blue African Sage or Blousalie) A handsome, densely branched shrub with small, gray leaves, this Salvia puts on a show when in full bloom. The pale blue flowers bloom on foot-long spikes that cover the plant. Each flower has a large, trumpet-shaped, green-and-red bract at its base.

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(Kirstenbosch Golden Sage) This clone of the durable and tough Golden Sage was selected at Kirstenbosch, the famous South African Botanic Garden. It is more vigorous than Golden Sage and often grows larger.
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(Wooly Canary Island Sage) The pale magenta, parrot-beak flowers of this sage, supported by deeper magenta bracts, heat up the landscape. But when you get close, it may be the velvety texture of the foliage that makes you sigh.

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(Rough Blue Sage) Honeybees and butterflies love this deer-resistant shrub, which grows wild on the southwestern Cape of South Africa. It is a member of the most diverse plant community in the world, the fynbos -- an Afrikaans word, meaning "fine bush" and referring to scrub plants or shrubbery.

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(Pilgram's Rest Pink Sage) Spring into summer, this heat-tolerant sage from South Africa produces lilac and white blossoms with profuse, fragrant, gray foliage. It's the burgundy calyxes, which turn a rusty pink after the flowers blossom, that give this sage part of its common name.

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(Greek Sage) Most of the dried culinary sage sold in the United States is Greek Sage. Frescoes on the island of Crete dated to 1400 BC depict this plant, which was used by the Phoenicians and Greeks for cooking and medicine. It is an ancient and beloved friend of mankind.

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(Rusty Sage)  Named for its leaves shaped like the tips of lances, this nearly care-free, evergreen sage from South Africa has enchanting rusty rose flowers that bloom from fall (spring in its native land) into winter.
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(Minty Kilimanjaro Sage) Leaf-like, fuzzy, violet bracts surround the 1-inch-long flowers of Salvia merjamie, which is native to the East African highlands from Ethiopia to Tanzania as well as Yemen and grows on Mount Kilimanjaro.
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(Wildesalie) Dominant white beelines mark the violet-blue flowers of this heat- and drought-tolerant sage from South Africa. Dramatic burgundy bracts surround the flowers, which contrast handsomely with dense, fine leaved, olive green foliage of Salvia muirii.
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(Scrappy African Sage) Although not well known in U.S. nurseries, this fragrant sage with luminous white flowers is highly desirable for hot, sunny areas in USDA Zones 8 to 10. Native to the botanically rich mountains of South Africa, it grows at elevations up to 6,200 feet.
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(Coastal Blue Sage) Native from the sandy shores to brushy slopes of South Africa's East Cape, this sub-shrub sage is noted for growing easily in gardens elsewhere. Its lovely purplish-pink flowers have a subtle blue sparkle in bright sun and bloom spring to fall.
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(Xobo Valley Sage) Although petite, the rare Xobo Valley Sage is eyecatching due to its lacy, bright green foliage and powder blue flowers. It's even possible that this long-blooming sage may have caught Nelson Mandela's eye as he grew up in the Wild Coast area of South Africa's Eastern Cape.

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(Somalian Mountain Sage) Large, powder-blue flowers combine with 4-inch-long, furry, lime-green leaves -- a winning combination at bloom time from summer into fall. The flowers are unusual, because they generally grow on the branchlets and the terminal end of each stem.
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(Mauretania Tingitana Sage) Native to Northern Africa and Saudi Arabia, this sage gets by on little water. and has a long history of cultivation going back 400 years. It wove throughout various countries in the Middle East and North Africa before arriving in Europe in the 1700s and was first described scientifically in 1777.

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(Wild Sage) Toothed and attractively wrinkled, the gray-green, basal foliage of Wild Sage contrasts prettily with deep lavender-to-purple flowers supported by grassy green bracts. This cold-hardy sage is native to northern Africa and parts of Asia and Europe.

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(Savannah Blue African Sage) Two South African sages are the parents of this stunning hybrid with large, sky-blue flowers and densely branching, attractively cut foliage. Tough and adaptable, this dry garden plant grows in full sun or partial shade.
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