Only a few Salvias thrive in full shade. The ones listed here are reliable performers in low light conditions, but not dark areas.
Click here for a discussion of what constitutes full shade.
(Purple Leaf Tall Big Leaf Sage) Bright green on top, the long leaves of this distinctive sage are a dark, furry purple on the undersides. Like the more typical green form of Salvia macrophylla, this variety has cobalt blue flowers that seem to float in airy clusters on 12-inch-tall branching spikes.
(Creeping Big Leaf Sage) Cobalt blue flowers float in airy clusters above the giant, velvety, green leaves of this South American native. Short and spreading by woody rhizomes, this is an ideal groundcover. As a bold statement in a container, it has no equal.
(Tall Big Leaf Sage) Cobalt blue flowers seem to float in airy clusters on 12-inch-tall branching spikes above the bright green, velvety foliage of this South American native. Up to 5-feet tall, tidy and upright in habit, this sage makes a fine background or border planting when massed.
(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.
(Royal Bumble Mountain Sage) Almost black, the stems and calyxes of this UK hybrid form a pleasing contrast with its medium-size scarlet flowers and glossy green leaves. Bloom time is spring to fall. This Mountain Sage suckers freely and forms a dense clump.
(Red Sage, Chinese Sage, Dan-shen) The bright red, finger-like roots of Salvia miltiorrhiza have a long history in traditional Chinese herbal medicine.
(Elk Blue Little Sage) if it were up to us, we would never have named this plant Little Sage. Although it is dainty, it is also one of the most fascinating species we grow. We particularly love its pebbly, oval leaves that are a shiny purple/green on top and a furry white below.
(Kyushu Woodland Sage) We are in love with this short forest sage from Kyushu, Japan. Its clusters of large creamy flowers pale as fresh-churned butter begin blooming in September. Even when not blooming, its foliage is showy in a shady garden.
(Formosan Woodland Sage or Tai wan qin zhu cao) A native of Taiwan, this Salvia nipponica grows well in hot, humid climates as well as milder locales.
(Rosy Bract Sage) Sub-shrub salvias have both woody and soft, herbaceous growth. Rosy Bract Sage is a tidy, small leafed sub-shrub smothered with large clusters of 1/2-inch, violet-blue flowers and rosy red bracts. Its bracts deepen in color as the season proceeds.
(Hummingbird Sage or Pitcher Sage) No sage we grow is more attractive to hummingbirds than this one. Spectacular in all ways, it is one of our favorite Salvias with its fragrant, evergreen foliage and jewel-like flowers and bracts.
(Yellow Hummingbird Sage or Yellow Pitcher Sage) The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden introduced this rare yellow variety of fragrant Hummingbird Sage. Similar to other varieties of this species, Avis Keedy is alluring to butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds.
(Burgundy Scarlet Sage) Blood red to burgundy, the drooping blossoms of this sturdy, long flowering Salvia are the first that anyone comments on in a mixed planting. Use it singly as a dramatic garden accent or container plant; mass it for a stunning effect.
(Variegated Scarlet Sage) Crimson flowers topping bright yellow foliage mottled with deep green make this one of the most spectacular Salvias we grow.
(Elk White Scarlet Sage) The first tall white Salvia splendens variety, this new introduction from Flowers by the Sea is vigorous and free flowering all season long.
(Faye Chapel Scarlet Sage) A vivid red, the drooping blossoms of this sturdy, long flowering Salvia are large and numerous. Use it singly as a dramatic garden accent or container plant; mass it for a stunning effect. This is an heirloom plant from the Atlantic Coast, where it has been grown as a hummingbird plant for decades.
(san ye shu wei cao) So what do all those Pinyin words mean in this sage’s common name? We’ll give you an answer to the best of our ability in a minute. Meanwhile, we need to note that this medicinal Asian sage has handsome foliage and deep violet flowers.