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Salvia nutans


(Nodding Sage) “Dancing in the air” is how garden writer Joseph Tychonievich describes the tall, graceful flower spikes of Nodding Sage, which can tower up to 5 feet tall over the plant’s 18-inch-tall foliage during the summer flowering season.

Price: $12.00
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Common name
This is the non-scientific name used for a plant. A plant may have several common names, depending on the gardener's location. To further confuse the matter, a common name may be shared by several completely different plants. At Flowers by the Sea, we rely on the scientific name to identify our plants and avoid confusion.
Nodding Sage
USDA Zones
The U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones indicate the temperature zones where a plant is likely to thrive. It is determined by the average annual winter minimum temperature. Actual winter temperatures may be higher or lower than the average.
6 - 9
Size (h/w/fh)
The anticipated mature size of the plant: Height, Width & Flower Height.
This is the average amount of sunlight that a plant needs to thrive. Generally, full sun exposure is 6 or more hours of direct sun daily while partial shade is less than 4 hours of sun or dappled shade all day. Plants may tolerate more sunlight in cooler climates and need afternoon shade in extremely hot climates.
Full sun
Soil type
This is the kind of soil that a plant needs to thrive. Most plants require a well-drained soil that allows the water to soak into the soil without becoming soggy. Sandy and clay soils can be improved by digging in compost to improve drainage.
Well drained
Water needs
Plants have specific water requirements. Water loving means the plant needs regular watering to keep the soil moist. Average generally indicates applying 1 inch of water per week, or watering when the soil is dry to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. One inch of water is equal to 5 gallons per square yard of soil surface.
Pot size
This is the size of the pot your plant will arrive in.
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?
"Yes" indicates that this plant can be successfully grown as a container plant.
Hummingbird plant?
Hummingbirds have been observed regularly feeding from this plant's flowers.
  • Salvia nutans
  • Salvia nutans
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(Nodding Sage) "Dancing in the air" is how garden writer Joseph Tychonievich describes the tall, graceful flower spikes of Nodding Sage, which can tower up to 5 feet tall over the plant's 18-inch-tall foliage during the summer flowering season. These are a slow growing sage, and often take a year to become established before blooming.

It's no wonder that one of Nodding Sage's many botanical synonyms is Salvia pendula considering the way the branches of the flower spikes curve at their tips with purple flowers dangling like bunches of grapes. As Tychonievich says in his Arrowhead Alpines blog, the flowers appear to be "suspended almost magically" over the large, green basal leaves.

The appellation nutans in Nodding Sage's scientific name refers to the drooping or nodding character of the flowers. This sage is native to the meadow-steppe lands that stretch from Hungary across Bulgaria, the Ukraine and Russia to the Caucassus Mountains on the eastern edge of the Black Sea.

Nodding Sage is cold tolerant to USDA Zone 6. Give it full sun and well-drained soil. Although it appreciates average watering based on local conditions, it also grows well in dry gardens. It is attractive as a groundcover or amid a mixed patio planter. Nodding Sage also looks lovely as an airy path edging or in a perennial border where the flower spikes can poke out above bushier sages.