Salvia -- A Sage Choice
A cinch to grow, Salvia dazzle for months on end with an intense show of color. Valued for its scent of the chaparral as well as its range of unusual colors, this heat lover is easy to grow and irresistible to hummingbirds. These adaptable beauties prefer poor dry soil conditions and will sulk if given too much water or rich soil. Blooms are even more profuse with an occasional deep watering so long as the soil drains well. Prune after blooming to encourage fresh foliage. After putting on a long-lasting show, give Salvia a rest by sheering to the ground in winter for an abundant new display in spring and summer.
Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara' – Another little jewel, this Dwarf Velvet Sage has the same rich purple flowers and long-blooming nature of the popular Mexican Sage but with a more manageable size of only 2-3 feet without pruning. The purple flowers contrast nicely against the white stems and light green foliage.
Salvia mexicana 'Limelight' ('Chartreuse') – The striking color combination of violet-blue flowers peeking out from densely packed yellow-green calyxes on tall stems up to 6 feet certainly puts this Salvia in the limelight. The impressive Mexican Sage is abuzz with bees and hummingbirds from late summer through fall.
Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips' – This remarkable sage has unique two-tone flowers with a white upper hood and cherry red lower lip. The color of individual flowers varies throughout the plant depending on the temperature, ranging from pink to white to solid red. 'Hot Lips' provides months of intense floral display. Growing to 2 or 3 feet, this is a good choice for smaller gardens.
Salvia uliginosa – Before you wonder why we recommend an ?ugly? Salvia, 'uliginosa' is Latin for damp, marshy or wet because this beauty is well-suited for the edge of a pond or moist soil but will also thrive in dry sites. The tight clusters of sky-blue flowers of Blue Spike Sage sway high over deep green foliage from late spring through fall.
Salvia 'Purple Majesty' – This regal Salvia has an upright habit worthy of its royal name. Hummingbirds actually fight over the spikes of rich purple flowers that cloak this vigorous shrub from June through early November. The dark green leaves are large and heavily textured, providing a glorious contrast to the velvety flowers. Grows to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide.
Salvia 'Waverly' (Mark's Mystery Sage) – The origins of this Salvia might be a mystery, but there is no doubt about the grace and beauty of its long lavender stems covered with white tubular flowers that bloom from mid-summer through the first frost against a backdrop of dark green mint-like leaves. Grows to 5 feet tall and wide.
Salvia chamaedryoides – For a true blue Salvia, nothing tops Germander Sage. The pure blue flowers appear almost year-round except in the coolest months of winter. The silvery-gray foliage and small mounding habit to 18 inches tall make this an excellent front-of-border or container plant. Pair with Salvia 'Hot Lips' for a Fourth of July theme
Salvia coahuilensis – This pretty little sage comes from the mountains of Coahuila, Mexico. Coahuila Sage is an ideal ground cover or border plant with its shiny, deep green leaves and its extraordinary show of intensely colorful purple flowers. The narrow leaves have a nice, spicy aroma.
Salvia clevelandii – Lavender-blue flower color and the delectable fragrance of its gray-green foliage make Cleveland Sage a favorite among California native sages. This handsome, rounded shrub has many spikes of amethyst whorls that are useful in both fresh and dry flower arrangements.
Salvia spathacea – Native to coastal California, Hummingbird Sage has adapted to grow well in the shade of oaks as well as full sun. The fruity-scented foliage and dense whorls of magenta flowers that grow on 2 foot spikes are particularly attractive to hummingbirds, as the name implies. Salvia spathacea is one of the first plants to bloom in winter, as early as February but typically from March to May.