Salvia Companions
Salvia Companions

Similar to many members of the mint family (Lamiaceae), sages (Salvia spp.) aren't demanding. Most are low-fuss plants that are easy to grow if placed in the right location. This list suggests Salvia companion plants, many of which are also low-fuss, mint family members. They add attractive variety to the Salvia garden.

The growing requirements for any plant depend on the temperature range, soil, elevation, sunshine, moisture level and other features of the plant's native land. Great companions have similar cultural needs. So when selecting companion plants, it's necessary to consider whether their needs are compatible with those of the sages you plan to grow.

Gardeners and writers often refer to the Salvia genus as being heat tolerant and drought resistant. Although this is true of many species, there are ones that need regular watering and some that like ample moisture.

Similarly, some sages need partial shade at some point during the day whereas others almost seem to shout 'Bring on the sun; bring on the heat!' The moisture level of shady areas is another consideration. Plants that need ample water are unlikely to grow well in dry shade whereas damp shade won't do for dry garden shade plants.

This list of companions contains plants for dry, regular and damp gardens as well as for full sun and partial shade. Compare the plant descriptions -- from cold hardiness to bloom seasons -- with those for your sages and you will create companionable relationships in the garden.

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(Candy Corn Plant) Due to their bright colors and rich nectar, Cupheas are magnets for pollinators, including butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. That's certainly true for the orange and yellow, candy-corn colored flowers of Cuphea micropetala.

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(Nelson's Bat-Faced Cuphea) A tiny snout-like face emerges at the end of this Cuphea's tubular flower and beneath two red-orange petals shaped like bat ears. "Too cute!" is a typical response to these whimsical flowers that attract butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds.

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(Salvador Cuphea)  Closely related to but distinct from Cuphea oreophylla, this rare species has small flowers in great profusion.  A spreading shrubby grower, it excells in containers where it can be enjoyed close up.

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Floriferous and heat tolerant, Cuphea schumannii is also a long-blooming addition to wildlife gardens. Similar to Salvias, Cupheas are rich sources of nectar that fuel hummingbird migration. Bees, butterflies and hoverflies are among the other pollinators that love this genus.

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(David Verity Cigar Plant) Cuphea flowers are hummingbird magnets, especially the orange-red blooms of the David Verity hybrid. The blossoms have been likened to cigars due to their tubular shape and hot coloring that ends with a slightly flared and fringed yellow opening instead of petals.

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(Kristen's Delightful Cigar Plant) Hummingbirds and butterflies love Cupheas. Kristen's Delightful Cigar Plant is a spectacularly colorful hybrid that is also a magnet for gardeners who love the pastels and abundance of its bicolor flowers.

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(Chiapas Golden Fuchsia) Cool, moist and partially shady -- those are the conditions that this tall, rare shrub loves. Once native to the mountain cloud forests of Mexico's southernmost state, Chiapas, Golden Fuchsia in 1986 became extinct in the wild and now is primarily grown by botanical gardens.

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(Uruguayan Firecracker Plant) Mint-green foliage felted with a covering of fine hairs provides a cooling backdrop to the hot orange tubular flowers of this long-blooming member of the acanthus family (Acanthaceae).

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(Texas Craglily) Echeandia texensis shines in many ways. First, the delicate looking yet tough flowers are a rich shade of gold. Other stellar traits include its ability to tolerate clay soils, heat, a moderate amount of winter cold and drought.

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(Tower of Jewels) Houston, we are ready for blastoff! Excuse us, but the floriferous Tower of Jewels is so huge that it looks like a model rocket rising up from a columnar launch pad of narrow-leafed, silvery foliage.

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(Speckled Dwarf Pineapple Lily) The 'freckles' on this petite South African plant are the reddish-purple speckles on its long, lance-shaped, olive-green leaves. From summer to fall, short, rose-red flower spikes rise up from the center of this exotic foliage.

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(Lion's Ear or Wild Dagga) "Leon" is Greek for "lion," whereas "otis" translates as "ear." The appellation "leonurus" equals "lion colored." Actually, we think the tawny orange blossoms of this mint family (Lamiaceae) species look more like a lion's mane.

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(Mint Lion's Ear or Klipp Dagga) Here's another plant for Dr. Seuss gardens. Mint Lion's Ear produces intermittent, shaggy whorls of fuzzy, rosy orange tubular flowers that butterflies and hummingbirds love. The blossoms burst from prickly, round clusters on stems as tall and slender as auto antennas.

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(Island Pitcher Sage) Native to shady canyons on the coast of Southern California's Channel Islands, this threatened species is highly desirable for its ruggedness, its aromatic furry leaves and its spectacular pink flowers.

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(Queen Victoria Cardinal Flower) Calling all butterfly and hummingbird lovers in areas with chilly winters: This one's for you. Lobelias are well known for attracting pollinators. This one is extremely cold tolerant and even does well in the Rocky Mountain West.

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(Sierra Madre Cardinal Flower) Butterflies and hummingbirds love the long, scarlet and orange trumpet blossoms of this Lobelia native to the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains of Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico.

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(Giant Red Cardinal Flower) Similar to the plumage of a Northern Cardinal, the flowers of this Lobelia hybrid are startlingly red. The tubular blossoms have lips that flare at their openings into petals shaped like poinsettia bracts.

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(Scallop Shell Horehound) The mint family (Lamiaceae) is well known for fragrant, medicinal plants, including Marrubium supinum, which means "bitter" and "prostrate."

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(Lemon Spritzer Cape Fuchsia) Slender, hot pink trumpet blossoms of Lemon Spritzer Cape Fuchsia dangle from red flower spikes. They hang over variegated foliage that looks like someone sprayed it with lime, forest green and cream accents.

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(Scarlet O'Hara Hardy Gloxinia) This plant's  long, tubular, deep pink flowers dangle from apple green, leaf-like calyxes. Fuzzy red petioles connect the flowers to deep red stems rising above slightly furry, soft green leaves. This older hybrid of South American gloxinias can handle a bit of winter chill.

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(Shelby Hardy Gloxinia) Shelby's long, tubular, creamy pink flowers dangle from apple green, leaf-like calyxes. Fuzzy red petioles connect the flowers to deep red stems rising above slightly furry, soft green leaves. This Suncrest Nurseries hybrid of South American gloxinias can handle a bit of winter chill.

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(Hardy Pink & Yellow Gloxinia) This color form is rarely seen in Sinningia sellovii, which is a Brazilian species that tolerates heat and lures hummingbirds.

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(Giant Coastal Hedgenettle) Found on the Pacific coast from Northern California to Alaska, this ultra-vigorous Salvia relative is a perfect choice for wet areas in the garden. It tolerated drought, but looks its best when well watered. One of the best native hummingbird plants wherever it grows.
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(Red Betony) Heralding from the arid Southwest, this attractive and desirable perennial is one of the best hummingbird plants. Small pastel red/orange flowers make a real impact due to their numbers - this plant is often covered in flowers. And the furry leaves have a mild, fruity fragrance, especially in warm weather.

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