Most people visualize deserts and dry, sandy soil when thinking about sage (Salvia spp.). Although many Salvias are drought resistant and thrive in dry gardens, others prefer regular, and even daily. Some even tolerate persistently damp soil.
The phrases moisture loving and water loving often conjure visions of aquatic and marshland plants, yet there are few Salvias that fit into that group. Bog Sage (Salvia uliginosa) is one, although we've received reports that it also tolerates dry conditions. However, when we say that a sage is moisture loving, we usually mean one that can handle significant dampness but needs better drainage than marsh plants. An example would be the Anise Leaf Sages (Salvia guaranitica spp.). Plants that can swing from average water consumption to enduring severe downpours are particularly valuable in the Southeast.
Persistently wet soil can make it difficult for sufficient oxygen to reach roots. This causes plants to suffocate. It can also cause conditions such as chlorosis in which foliage turns yellow, limp and incapable of the photosynthesis necessary to manufacture food for the plant.
Yet there are lovely Salvias which cheerfully photosynthesize in conditions that would drown their close relatives. Most come from Central and South American rainforests or damp woodlands in Asia.
Flowers by the Sea strives to meet the needs of Salvia fans from widely varying climates, whether dry, wet or in between.
(Himalayan Sage or Kashmir Sage) The word "hians" in Salvia hians means "gaping" and refers to the hanging lip of this sage's flowers, which bloom from late spring through early fall. This may or may not the "true" species as it is described, hence the term aff or affnis in the name, which indicates that this plant is related to, has an affinity to, but is not identical to Salvia hians.
(Amethyst Sage) Growing up to 12 inches long, the triangular basal leaves of Salvia amethystina subsp. ampelophylla are the largest we know among sages. They have long silky hairs on their undersides and are fragrant when bruised.
(Stem Clasping Violet Sage) Like a candelabra lit up with whorls of violet blossoms, the erect, branching flower spikes of Salvia amplexicaulis make this native of Southeastern Europe shine. On the Grecian island of Thassos, it brightens areas near the beach.
(Tree Sage)Whether you call it a shrub or a tree, Salvia arborsecens rises up to an impressive 12 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Commonly known as Sage Tree, this Salvia grows well in full sun, but prefers partial shade.
(Rhythm and Blues Anise-Scented Sage) New for 2017, this variety is a superior version of the older standby 'Black and Blue'. Easy to grow and rewarding, this hummingbird favorite is our very best Anise Scented Sage.
(Chinese Sage) Although this is a perennial species, most people in the U.S. who are familiar with Chinese Sage, probably know the annual variety Salvia chinensis . The perennial form is reliable; we’ve grown it for several years. However, little has been written about it.
(Cinnabar Sage) Think of this plant as Pineapple Sage on steroids. It grows 5 feet tall and can be twice as wide and bursts with large, intensely red, furry flowers all winter. Our overwintering hummingbirds adore it. This cinnabar-red sage is hard to forget once you see it in full bloom.
(COOL Lavender Blush Anise Scented Sage) Dusky green and red-edged bracts surround the pale-throated lavender blossoms of Salvia COOL Lavender Blush. It's a magnet for hummingbirds.
(COOL Lavender Mist Anise Scented Sage) Bright green bracts and rich lavender blossoms sing in Salvia COOL Lavender Mist. Hummingbirds keep this bountiful bloomer buzzing.
(Columbian Mountain Sage) Deep purple bracts support the small, lighter purple flowers of Salvia cuatrecasana, which is a rare Colombian sage. White beelines mark the flowers of this long-blooming shrub, which is a hummingbird favorite.
(Giant Bolivian Sage) Hailing from Peru and Bolivia, this tender specimen is found at altitudes of 9,000 feet in the wild. This multi-stemmed, woody-based, climbing Salvia needs support. Hummingbirds love its 5-inch-long, crimson flowers, which are the longest grown by any Salvia and flower from late summer through autumn.
(Cabrillo Giant Yellow Sage) Large apricot-yellow flowers are an attraction of this cross between two Mexican species -- Salvia madrensis (Forsythia Sage) and the volcanic sage Salvia gesneriiflora (Mexican Scarlet Sage).
(Makino) We would grow this rare clone of the woodland Japanese native Salvia glabrescens even if it never flowered, because the arrow-shaped foliage is so lush, toothed and colorful. As they age, the arrow-shaped leaves transform from yellowish green to dark green.
(Gravid Sage) This tender perennial from Michoacan, Mexico, has large, rich magenta flowers that hang from the arching branches in clusters up to 12 inches long. Growing up to 5 feet tall, this sage offers an unforgettable display when in bloom.
(Purple Haze Sage) The very best purple Anise Scented Sage, period - the result of years of careful breeding aimed at developing a reliable, free flowering and easy to grow variety suitable for growing countrywide.
(Sapphire Blue Anise-Scented Sage) The large, sapphire blue flowers of this Anise-Scented Sage glow in the full-sun or partial-shade garden from summer into fall. Similar to Salvia guaranitica 'Blue Ensign', this is a somewhat taller variety of the water-loving species.
(Van Remsen's Anise-Scented Sage) Big and beautiful, this Anise-Scented Sage grows up to 7 feet tall in rich soil and has lavender-to-purple flowers. In our garden, it blossoms from late spring to fall, attracting both honeybees and hummingbirds.
(Red Veined Sage) In 1827, John Wilkes referred to Salvia haematodes as "Bloody Sage" in his Encyclopaedia Londinensis, Volume 22. This might seem mysterious when first viewing the sage's upright yet somewhat relaxed spikes of whorled, violet-colored flowers.
(Shinano-akigiri) Japan's largest island, Honshu, is home to Salvia koyamae, a shade- and moisture-loving herbaceous perennial that is perfect for woodland gardens or shady borders. It is notable for yellow flowers, which bloom from late summer into fall, as well as arrow-shaped foliage.
(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.