Indigo, heliotrope, lavender, lilac, magenta, mulberry, orchid, plum and violet are all names among the dizzying array of purples in the garden. Salvias (true sages) come in a wide range of purple flower colors, and many are just as attractive to hummingbirds as reds. Both purples and reds are the product of anthocyanins, the pigments that give blueberries, eggplant and certain grapes their luscious colors. Here are some of the best purple-flowered sages.
(Friendship Sage) Thank you Rolando Uria of the University of Buenos Aries for this very fine plant. Discovered in 2005 at a plant show in Argentina, this truly unique hybrid sage has generated a great deal of excitement in the Salvia world.
(Indigo Spires Sage) Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ gains its name from long spikes of rich, deep purple-blue flowers that stand tall and also arch and twist gracefully. It is a chance hybrid discovered growing amid Salvia farinacea and Salvia longispicata at Southern California's Huntington Gardens.
(Paula Flynn Sage) Floral spikes with whorls of bluish-purple flowers rise up amid the slightly relaxed, upright foliage of the mystery plant Salvia ‘Paula Flynn’. It features pebbly, deep green leaves with white, fuzzy undersides.
(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.
(Hummingbird Falls Anise-Scented Sage) Salvia BODACIOUS® ‘Hummingbird Falls’ is the world’s first hanging basket sage and a plant that hummingbirds battle over. It’s a natural alternative to plastic and glass nectar feeders that require frequent cleaning and refilling.
(Smokey Jazz Anise-Scented Sage) The dusky black calyxes of Salvia BODACIOUS® ‘Smokey Jazz’ support large flowers shaped like parrot beaks the unique color of boysenberries — a hue between red and purple.
(Purple & Yellow Yunnan Sage or ji ye shu wei cao) Confusion about this plant's scientific name cause it to appear in some sources as Salvia flava var. megalantha. Whatever you call it, this Chinese species from Yunnan Province has enchanting yellow and purple flowers that attract viewers as well as honeybees.
(Caucasus Sage) This hardy ground cover sage grows 4 to 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The velvety white fur of its foliage aids moisture retention. Its soft, royal purple flowers make it stand out. We think this Salvia deserves to spread far and wide.
(COOL Fandango Anise Scented Sage) A combination of dark, rosy bracts and magenta blossoms make Salvia COOL Fandango dance. It’s vivid, floriferous, and a hummingbird favorite.
(Elk Magenta Hybrid Sage) Combining the best characteristics of both parents, this robust, large leafed hybrid has deep magenta and white flowers that delight hummingbirds.
(Elk Red-Violet Hybrid Sage) A very special new hybrid Sage, featuring small but very numerous deep red-violet flowers on a vigorous, easy to grow plant. Loved by bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. A FBTS introduction.
(Fashion Burgundy Sage) Pendulous deep burgundy blossoms and dark bracts attract the eye to Salvia Fashion Burgundy™. Although similar looking to an Australian Wish Sages, it is more compact than the Wishes or the Skyscraper series.
(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.
(Autumn Enchanter Japanese Woodland Sage) Salvia glabrescens ‘Autumn Enchanter’ has bicolored orchid pink flowers that are larger and bloom earlier than those of S. glabrescens ‘Shi Ho’. Autumn Enchanter is also more floriferous, blooms longer, and grows more rapidly with greater vigor.
(Autumn Equinox Japanese Woodland Sage) Although similar to the Japanese native Shi Ho Woodland Sage, Salvia glabrescens 'Autumn Equinox' has much larger flowers that are bicolored purple and bloom earlier. Autumn Equinox is also more floriferous, blooms longer, and grows more rapidly with greater vigor.
(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.
(Raspberry Autumn Sage) Dark calyxes and stems contrast intensely with the bright berry-colored flowers of Salvia greggii ‘Raspberry’. It's one of our fastest growing, earliest blooming Autumn Sages and has fragrant foliage.
(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.
(Jerusalem Sage) This lovely herbaceous perennial is native to Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank. Its clear pink flowers change at times to a pink highlighted with violet lines and dots. Prominent glandular hairs on the buds, bracts and floral stems exude a fragrance that is delightful on a warm day.
(Yugoslavian Cut Leaf Sage) This is a rare Baltic steppe plant that grows beautifully in sunny locations with little water and excellent drainage. It is endemic to a the Orlova Brdo region of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
(Midnight Mexican Bush Sage) The typical Mexican Bush Sage has purple flowers surrounded by furry white bracts. This clone from the San Francisco Peninsula has deep purple flowers, calyxes and stems. It is a good groundcover due to a mounding habit, smaller size and generous amounts of flowers.
(Santa Barbara Mexican Bush Sage) This compact Mexican Bush Sage was found in the Santa Barbara garden of Kathiann Brown. It is, without a doubt, the finest short Mexican Bush Sage -- hardy, tough and long blooming. Add drought tolerance and dark, rich purple flowers to its list of merits.
(Variegated Mexican Bush Sage) Although slow growing and somewhat finicky, this sage is a must-have for lovers of unique foliage. It has small purple flowers and highly variegated leaves with stems that are slightly twisted. The overall look is compact and dense.