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 You are here    Flowers by the Sea / Categories / Salvias by Origin / Turkish Natives
Turkish Natives
Turkish Natives

There's a cool bluish haze o'er the meadow not to mention the mountains, desert cliffs, and plateaus of Turkey. Although there are other flower colors among the country's wide variety of sages -- including creams, pinks, whites and yellows – the blue spectrum abounds.

Imagine the iridescent blues, lavenders, purples and violets of peacock feathers and you can picture a canvas of Salvia species native to the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern nation. Other notable and valuable characteristics of many Turkish Salvias include:

  • Ability to withstand winter temperatures ranging from the deep chill of USDA Zone 5 to the mild climate of Zone 9;
  • Tolerance of severe summer heat;
  • Adaptability of many species to dry conditions in shade or full sunlight; and
  • Vigor at altitudes similar to those of America's high plains.


Turkey encompasses a broad range of climates and geographical features. For a relatively small country (a bit bigger in landmass than Texas) it is rich in plant diversity. This is because three major plant geographical regions converge there -- the Irano-Turanian (Iran), the Mediterranean and the Euro-Siberian. Thirty percent of the country's roughly 12,000 native species are endemic, which means they occur nowhere else in the wild without human intervention. About 50 percent of its nearly 100 species of native Salvias are endemic.

Gardeners who live in areas where temperatures swing broadly between frigid winters and fiery summers, such as in the Rocky Mountain West and on dry high-plains lands, find that Turkish Salvias are well suited to their local climate.

Although many of these colorful, tough plants are drought resistant and prefer dry conditions, others love moisture and tolerate regular watering. Dependent on the climates to which they were adapted in their native land, they do well in settings such as dry gardens, rock gardens, moist corners of the yard, woodland displays and cut flower gardens.

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(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.

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(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.

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(Golden Leaf Sage) A tinge of gold in its fuzzy, pebbled foliage gives Salvia chrysophylla its common name. Abundant lavender flowers with pale cream lower lips make it stand out in the landscape.

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(Balkan Sage) Violet-blue whorls of flowers and plentiful, fuzzy, basal leaves that reach an impressive length of 18 inches are two notable features about this hardy, herbaceous perennial, which is native to the Southeastern Balkan Peninsula.

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(Elk Dwarf Balkan Sage) Violet-blue whorls of flowers and plentiful, fuzzy, basal leaves that reach an impressive length of 18 inches are two notable features about this hardy, herbaceous perennial, which is native to western Asia. This is an extremely compact variety with dark green leaves, quite different in appearance compared with the common species.
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(Turkish Salt Sage) The common name for this plants comes from the latin halophila - salt loving. It is endemic to the central Anatolian basin in Turkey, a very diverse ecosystem of salt steppe and saline lakes. For the gardener it is a tough, hardy perennial with a most impressive floral display from early summer till fall.
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(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.

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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.

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(The Queen's Sage) Regal spikes of lavender-to-purple flowers give weight to this sage's common name. It provides a stately show of bloom during summer in USDA Zones 6 to 10. Cold hardy and heat tolerant, this impressive perennial comes from the mountains of Turkey.

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(Siberian Sage) Deep violet flowers surrounded by burgundy bracts form a handsome contrast with the pebbly, mint green foliage of this drought-resistant sage. It comes from the Central Asian steppe, which is similar in climate and geography to America’s high plains.

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(Romanian Sage) Here's a great selection for mixed Salvia borders in zones with colder winters. This herbaceous perennial features deep violet flowers in large whorls atop tall, branched spikes.

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