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Cultivating Color: Pastel Perennial Sages for Xeriscape

First posted on Aug 11, 2015

Cultivating Color: Pastel Perennial Sages for Xeriscape

Pastel Salvias add a soothing touch to the landscape. Yet soft flower colors may conceal tough personalities.

That's true for the ten drought-resistant Salvias highlighted in this post. They range from 2 to 4 feet tall when in bloom and are ideal choices for borders and low-water cottage gardens.

A Palette of Xeric Pastels
Xeric is another way to say "low water." Xeriscape is the art of designing colorful landscapes with low-water plants.

Not everyone who lives in a dry climate wants a cactus garden. And not all cottage gardens are filled with pansies and peonies. Here are some tough sages -- organized by color -- for soft, country-style gardens that thrive even when rainfall is scarce.


  • Cedros Island Sage (Salvia cedrosensis), Zones 9 to 11, offers silvery foliage and violet-blue flowers. Don't overwater; this sage loves dry conditions.
  • West Texas Sage (Salvia reptans), Zones 5 to 9, has true blue flowers and grass like foliage. Expect butterfly visits.
  • Hairy Sage (Salvia villosa), Zones 8 to 11, has fuzzy silvery foliage and sky blue flowers with white beelines to guide the honeybees it attracts to its nectar.


  • Two-Lip Spotted Sage (Salvia indica), Zones 8 to 11, has flowers with beak-like, lavender upper lips and spotted purple and white lower lips. Butterflies and honeybees love it.


  • Lowrey's Peach Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii 'Lowrey's Peach'), Zones 7 to 9, is a creamy, peachy orange that hummingbirds find alluring.


  • Cold Hardy Pink Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii 'Cold Hardy Pink'), Zones 5 to 9, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds with its hot pink blossoms.
  • Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea), Zones 8 to 11, grows well from full sun to full shade. Its pitcher-like pink blossoms are surrounded by burgundy bracts. It's a hummer magnet.
  • Topanga Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea 'Topanga'), Zones 8 to 11, has rich pink flowers surrounded by fuzzy green and burgundy bracts. Hummingbirds adore it.


  • Elk Lemon Light Jame Sage (Salvia x 'Elk Lemon Light'), Zones 6 to 9, dispels the idea that yellow flowers aren't for hummers. This one is pale.
  • Golden Girl Sage (Salvia 'Golden Girl'), Zones 7 to 9, has deeper yellow flowers tinged with rosy pink. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds enjoy it.

Finding Pastels in Our Catalog
The quickest ways to find pastel Salvias in our online catalog are through (1) our Salvia Finder where you can indicate a wide range of selection criteria including color and (2) the Salvias by Color pull-down menu in the product menu atop our homepage. In either tool, click on the pastels category to reach a long queue of plants. Questions? Please call or send us an email. We're always glad to help.

Edited Dec 25, 2020 04:00 PM
Alicia Rudnicki for FBTS


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