Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Drought tolerance is characterized by a plant's ability to get by on less water. Yet native climate often defines the boundaries of this trait. The plants in this list all share the ability to grow in arid conditions when water is scarce.

A plant that tolerates and perhaps thrives on less than 15 inches of annual rain may be overwhelmed by moisture in a state where drought lowers the annual average from 50 to 40 inches. But Flowers by the Sea also gladly provides information if you ask about Salvias and companion plants that are appropriate for drought in damper parts of the nation.

One definition of drought is a below-average amount of rain and snow over an extended period, such as during more than one growing season. Yet drought is caused by more than a shortfall of local precipitation.

Even if your area’s seasonal average of moisture is at a historically normal level, the level in another region may not be. If waterways and dams connect the two regions -- such as in the American West -- low river levels can mean decreased water storage and drought for both areas. Furthermore, if your region’s population is growing but its water supply isn’t, that can also lead to drought due to insufficiency.

This adds up to a web of trouble that can only be untangled through water conservation. One effective conservation measure is to design gardens with plants that are attractive yet need little water. These are called xeriscapes, waterwise landscapes and dry gardens.

Drought tolerance is closely connected to the term "xeric," a Greek word for "dry” and the root of xeriscape. Xeriscapic plants include species accustomed to arid climates or dry summer/wet winter growing conditions, such as along coastlines with Mediterranean climates.

The Salvias and companion plants in this list share the ability to grow when water is scarce. They are attractive even while surviving minimal summer water. Many are native to arid regions or are from Mediterranean climates.

Before ordering plants, please carefully consider your local growing conditions in order to select species that will be right for your climate and yard. We're happy to provide recommendations.

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(Iranian Sage)  Mixed in with short perennials that bloom over a wide range of seasons, Salvia staminea makes an attractive contribution to short borders during its summer bloom time. Our strain has dark bracts surrounding pastel white-to-blue-to-lavender flowers. The dark green, branching foliage has oblong to oval-shaped leaves.

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(Dandelion Leaf Sage) Brush or bruise the basal foliage of this Moroccan Salvia and it exudes a citrusy fragrance. Petite and heat tolerant, this is a sturdy, adaptable groundcover.

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(Texas Blue Sage) This is a cutie and a tough customer once established. It even grows well in caliche soils. Although Salvia texana typically blooms only during spring in Texas, it has a longer season stretching into fall up north.

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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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(Salvia VIBE®'Ignition Purple') Purple once was a color reserved for royalty. Salvia VIBE® 'Ignition Purple' has deep royal purple flowers that are rare in a Jame Sage hybrid.  They bloom spring to fall for your enjoyment.

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(VIBE® Ignition White Sage) Never before have we seen such a pure white among the species to which Jame Sages are related. We love this purity as well as the bright green calyxes supporting the large flowers of Elk White Ice and giving it an overall crisp look.

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(Hairy Sage) In 1877, J.G. Schaffner of Germany -- also known as Johann Wilhelm Schaffner -- collected the small, airy looking Salvia villosa while working as a pharmacist in the town of San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
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(Mid-East Sage) Native to the mountains shared by Israel and Lebanon, this tidy sage is drought resistant, heat tolerant and long blooming. Its basal foliage rises up and spreads only about 18 inches, but it has long flower spikes.

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(Windwalker® Royal Red Salvia) Salvia darcyi x S. microphylla 'PWIN03S' is one of the top 2015 plants for USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 5 selected by Colorado's Plant Select®, a nonprofit organization that focuses on promoting plants for low-water gardens.

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(Bee's Bliss Sage) If you are looking for a California native sage to use as a groundcover, Bee's Bliss is a fine choice. Low-growing, widespreading and colorful, it is ideal for choking weeds.

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(Calamity Jane Sage) A super tough shrub with white to pale lavender flowers, this sage is named for Martha Jane Canary (1852-1903), better known as the sharpshooting frontierswoman Calamity Jane of Missouri.
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(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.

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(Elk Bella Rosa Jame Sage) The large, creamy pink and burgundy flowers of this sage are stately in contrast with its deep green, veined, ovate foliage that is pleasantly fragrant. Elk Bella Rosa is as elegant as its name implies. It's also long blooming.

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(Elk Blue Note Sage) In Europe and Australia there is a popular and widely used seed grown Salvia variety called 'Blue Note'. Our offering, 'Elk Blue Note', is the result of several generations of careful breeding and selection.

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(Elk Chantily Lace Jame Sage) What color are the flowers of this FBTS introduction?  Lavender? Periwinkle? Taffy?  Yes to all for this hard to describe but easy to love plant.

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(Elk Cranberry Red Sage) With larger-than-expected deep red flowers and dark stems, this outstanding new variety from FBTS is without a doubt a "Best of Breed" plant.
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(Elk Crème Anglaise Jame Sage) Framed by minty green foliage, the blossoms of Salvia x ‘Elk Crème Anglaise’ transition from dreamy pale pink throats to white skirts. They look delectable.

 

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(Elk Crimson King Jame Sage) Sometimes words fail us when trying to describe a unique new color. Definitely red, but with a clear blue overlay and a blue eye. Featuring masses of flowers that delight pollinators, this FBTS introduction is new for 2017.

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(Elk Lemon Light Jame Sage) We are proud to offer this luminescent, pure yellow Salvia x jamensis -- a color breakthrough from our own breeding program. The bright, light blossoms cool the landscape similar to white flowers, but with colorful impact.  The glossy green leaves are quite small - a very attractive and distinctive characteristic.

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(Elk Plum Parfait Jame Sage) It's a toss-up as to which are more dramatic -- the deep purple calyxes so dark they almost look black or the plum-colored flowers with pronounced white beelines. Elk Plum Parfait is a rare treat.

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(Elk Raspberry Moose Sage) The deep raspberry flowers of this Salvia x Jamensis look good enough to eat, like spoonfuls of a silky, mouthwatering mousse dessert. Yet the 'moose' in its name isn't a misspelling. It refers to flowers that are larger than normal for a Jame Sage.

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(Elk Twilight's Rosy Glow Jame Sage) Rosy red hairs accentuate the upper lip of each dusky, salmon-pink blossom of this cheery Jame Sage. The flowers are tiny but abundant and are supported by bright green calyxes.

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(Elk Xanadu Jame Sage) Like the magical, fictional land of Xanadu, there’s something heavenly about this sage. The flowers of Salvia x ‘Elk Xanadu’ look ethereal due to the bluish cast of their magenta-pink blossoms supported by deep magenta and green calyxes. It's a powerful attraction for pollinators, including hummingbirds.

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(Purple Stem Sage) Deep purple stems and cobalt blue flowers with pronounced white beelines and dusky gray calyxes cause this sage to command attention.

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(Sally Greenwood Sage) Sally Greenwood's small gray-green leaves are a striking backdrop for the complicated, velvety royal purple of its abundant flowers overlaid with a blue sheen. It's an unusual sage both in color and its tight, mounding habit.
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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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(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').

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(Waverly Sage) A pale pink to lavender blush adds delicate color to the white flowers of Waverly Sage, which are supported by plum-colored calyxes. Its mid-green leaves are lance shaped and veined.

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(Auriculate Sage) Both Culinary Sage (Salvia officinalis) and Greek Sage (Salvia fruticosa) are grown in the spice trade as the Sage of commerce. As they are closely related and share much of the same range in the wild, hybrids between the two have been known to exist for a long while. These hybrids go by many names: Newe Ya'ar Sage & Silver Sage being two of the most common. The natural hybrid of these species is found on an island in Croatia, and the accepted name for it is Salvia x auriculata.
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(California Sunset Hybrid Jame Sage) Entranced is the only word to describe how we felt when we first saw the sunset pastels of this Jame Sage. After growing it for multiple seasons, we are just as impressed by its compact, well-branched form.
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