Salvias A to Z
Salvias A to Z

Flowers by the Sea grows all the hundreds of plants in this catalog, which are mainly the sages (Salvia spp.) in our A to Z list. The green menu banner at the top of this page also shows plants grouped by characteristics, origins and uses.

Using our menu, you can search Salvias by topics, such as the color of their flowers, the seasons in which they bloom, their cultural needs for sun and water, the USDA Cold Hardiness Zones in which they thrive and the kinds of sages that appeal to butterflies and hummingbirds. You can also look by origins, which is particularly helpful for native plant gardeners. However, if you know the scientific or common name of the Salvia you want and just need to see if we carry it, the A to Z list is a quick route to that information.

Salvia gains its name from the Latin word salvare which means to heal or save. Herbalists have used various species for centuries as folk medicines. Nowadays, medical researchers are studying many sages, which are also gaining popularity as long-blooming landscaping plants that require little fuss.

With about 900 flowering species -- including annuals, perennials and shrubs -- Salvia is the largest genus in the mint family (Lamiaceae or Labiatae). Salvias are noted for their mint-family traits of square stems and double-lipped, tubular flowers. Many are intoxicatingly fragrant. The genus contains about 900 species worldwide with its largest concentrations native to the Americas, the Mediterranean, Central Asia (including Turkey) and the Far East. Some plants from other Lamiaceae genuses are included in the A to Z list, because they are so closely related to Salvias that we tend to think of them as true sages.

The A to Z list encompasses single representatives of species as well as species for which we offer so many cultivars, such as the Autumn and Mountain Sages (Salvia greggii and S. microphylla spp.), that they have their own subcategory in the Special Salvia Groups part of our index.

Sages are endlessly fascinating due to their diversity. They offer a broad array of long-blooming, vibrantly colored flowers. Their leaves range from fuzzy to glossy with shapes and sizes varying from smooth lances tinier than the nail of a little finger to toothed, rumpled foliage broader and far longer than a man's hand. Many are perfect for dry, full-sun gardens while some do well in shady areas with excessive moisture. Sages save many a gardener facing difficult growing conditions.

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(Big Grape Sage) This lavender-flowered native of Northern Mexico resembles Salvia melissodora (Grape Scented Sage), but is bigger and also has larger leaves and flowers. It's a great companion plant for its little brother, which shares the same cultural needs and affinity for Zones 8 to 10. Both bloom from summer into fall.

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(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.

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(Rusty Sage)  Named for its leaves shaped like the tips of lances, this nearly care-free, evergreen sage from South Africa has enchanting rusty rose flowers that bloom from fall (spring in its native land) into winter.
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(Wild Pink Lemmon's Sage) Botanists Sarah Allen Plummer Lemmon (1836-1923) and John Gill Lemmon (1832-1908) collected Salvia lemmonii in the sky islands of southeastern Arizona while honeymooning. A contemporary seed collector found this variety growing wild in New Mexico.
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(Wild Rose Lemmon's Sage) Botanists Sarah Allen Plummer Lemmon (1836-1923) and John Gill Lemmon (1832-1908) collected Salvia lemmonii in the sky islands of southeastern Arizona while honeymooning. A contemporary seed collector found this variety growing wild in New Mexico.
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(Pink Mexican Bush Sage) Although native to Mexico and Central America, this elegant variety of Salvia leucantha was hybridized in South Africa. It is compact, long blooming and profusely covered by soft pink flowers surrounded by velvety white bracts.

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(Mexican Bush Sage or Velvet Sage) This variety of Mexican Bush Sage has purple and white flowers that bloom from summer into fall. Fuzzy leaves, stems and calyxes are characteristic of its species, so this native of Mexico and Central America is also called Velvet Sage.
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(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.

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(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.

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(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.

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(White Mischief Mexican Bush Sage) Profuse white blossoms and true white velvety bracts make the flowers of this South African hybrid a lovely choice for a wedding. In our experience, many of the plants sold as White Mischief are not the real thing. This tough, compact, long blooming sage is.

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(White Headed Sage) One of the most visually stunning members of the genus, this large growing, tender, winter blooming species from the mountains of Ecuador will turn every head with its furry white calyxes and brilliant magenta red flowers.

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(Spreading California Purple Sage or Spreading California Gray Sage) Songbirds love this California native as do honeybees and hummingbirds. This Salvia leucophylla clone was collected in 1982 by Dr. Dale Smith of University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB #82152) at Point Sal near Santa Barbara.

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(Giant Colombian Red Mountain Sage) In 1898, physician and medical plant researcher Henry Hurd Rusby (1855-1940) found this towering sage with large, deep red flowers in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains of Colombia.

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(Oaxaca Orange Wooly Sage) Tall, eye-catching spikes of dusky red-orange flowers that bloom from summer into fall make this one of our most impressive Salvias. Plus it's cold hardy into Zone 7.

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(Litta's Purple Sage) From the cloud forests of Oaxaca, Mexico, comes this lovely shade-loving sage. Large, fuzzy, purple-pink flowers clusters bloom from late fall into early spring. We have received reports that this subshrub is hardy in Zone 8 if mulched.
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(Saint Isidro's Sage) This hardy, lavender-blue-flowered Salvia comes from Southern Texas and has the same breeding as the famous Ultra Violet Autumn Sage. Although it needs warmer winter temperatures and has smaller foliage, it also does well in stressful conditions, including drought.

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(Ultra Violet Hybrid Sage) Hardy is a word bandied about by gardeners and nurserymen. Its use is often exaggerated. But this fine hybrid deserves to be called "the hardiest Autumn Sage." It's Zone-5 hardy, drought resistant and has lovely, soft purple flowers. Ultra Violet is a winner.

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(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.

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(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.

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(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.

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(Forysthia Sage)  This statuesque perennial grows up to 10 feet tall, but spreads only 3 feet wide. It is a late bloomer from Mexico's Sierra Madre Oriental mountains where it grows at altitudes of 4,000 to 5,000 feet and tolerates temperatures down to 20 degrees F.

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(Red Stem Forsythia Sage) The thick, square, red stems of this variety of Forsythia Sage make it conspicuously different from the species and from everything else in your garden. Its jointed stalks look a little like rhubarb gone mad!

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(Silver Leaf Forysthia Sage) It's the foliage of this clone that makes it so different from its parent plant. The leaves are a lovely silver and smaller than the green leaves of the species. However, they both have buttery yellow, Forsythia-like blossoms.

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