There are 700 – 1000 Salvias, the largest genus in the mint family. In this post we’re focusing on TEN amazing Salvia plants (Sages) for your garden or container. Blooming as we speak (late August) and flowering like gangbusters much of Spring – Fall, this genus of herbal and ornamental plants is one of my personal favorites. Why, do I love them so much?
Hmm… let’s see…
Reasons Salvias are a Love and Must for the Garden
Fragrance – squeeze the leaves and enjoy from amazing fruity to yummy complex.
They bring ecology to the garden – attracting amazing hummingbirds, honeybees, butterflies and healthy ecology where you can watch the stir over morning coffee or on a mid-day moment.
Excellent range of flower color – from bright colors like blues, purples, magenta, reds, white to soft pastels.
Easy to grow – just give them good drainage and sun.
Make good cut flowers – produce an abundance of flowers on elongated stems.
Many make excellent container plants – see below, which of the 10 are good for containers.
Deer resistant – herbal plants not a favorite of deer.
Many are winter blooming – in mild climates.
And, if you’re growing fruits or veggies Salvias are smart because…
Yields in vegetable and fruit production increase because there are more insects to do the pollinating. Source: ‘The Plant Lover’s Guide to Salvias.’
Here are 10 Salvias Worth Knowing/Worth Growing!
1. Salvia n. ‘Lyrical Blues’ – (Lyrical Blues Meadow Sage)
USDA zone: 4-9. With a fast growth rate, this hardy Salvia with upright spikes of violet-blue is a good choice for many. Size: 24″ tall and wide. Exposure: Full sun. Water: Moderate to low. Bloom time: Spring-Summer. Good container plant. Heat tolerant.
2. Salvia ‘Heatwave Blaze’ – (Heatwave Series)
USDA Zone: 7. This Salvia is part of the Heatwave series and is an excellent plant for hot/dry conditions in soils that drain well. Size: 30″ tall x 36″ wide; this shrubby sage is a compact grower with long flowering. Flowers: Coral pink. Plant in mass or singly. Heatwave series are selections from S. greggi/microphylla complex. Water: Deeply + occasionally during growing season. Exposure: Full sun/part shade.
3. Salvia chamaedryoides – (Germander Sage)
USDA zone: 7. This is a grey leaved sage with deep blue flowers. Semi-hardy evergreen shrub. Size: 18″h x 36″ w. Exposure: Full sun. Water: Low. Good container plant. Not a showy plant from a distance, so plant on path or among rocks. Also, a good dry cottage garden companion plant. Bloom time: Spring -Fall.
4. Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ – (Indigo Spire Sage)
USDA zone: 9. Size: 4-5′ tall + wide. Flowers: Small indigo-blue flowers clasped in dusky purple calyces. Stems are long wands. Flower color deepens with cool fall weather. Can be leggy for containers. Origin: A hybrid of S. longispicata and S. farinacea. Note: Though not a hardy sage, you can enjoy this plant as an annual as it grows fast! If you go the annual route, plant it in late spring/summer and enjoy the growing season and wildlife it brings!!
5. Salvia ‘Orchid Glow’
Hardiness: 10-15 degrees F. Size: 1-2′ tall + wide. Upright growing and abundant flowering. Flower color: Bright magenta. Exposure: Sun to part shade. Water – Moderate to low.
6. Salvia m. ‘Mesa Azure’
USDA zone: 7. There are a number of selections from the Mesa series and this is a nice blue-violet one! This plant is not the most prolific bloomer, gracing the plant a good balance of flowers and foliage. Bloom time: Spring – Fall. Flowers: blue-violet. Exposure: Sun/part shade. Size: 18 -24″ tall and wide. Water: Moderate to low. Semi-evergreen. Good container plant.
7. Salvia’Amistad’- (Friendship Sage)
USDA Zone: 8. This evergreen sage from Mexico is Size: 3-5′ tall x 4-6′ wide. Bloom time: Summer -Fall. Often winter blooming! Water: Moderate. Exposure: Full (cool) sun/part shade. Parentage: (S. guaranitica x S. gesneriiflora) Flowers: Royal purple emerging from near black dark bracts. Shiny midnight calyces accent 2” royal purple tubular flowers on large, graceful, upright spikes. Soil: Fast draining.
8. Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ – (Hot Lips Sage)
USDA zones: 7-10. This unique red and white sage is all the rage,and has been for years! Exposure: Sun/part shade. Water- moderate to low. Size: 3′ x 3′. Growth rate: Fast. Flowers: Red and white bi-colored blooms. Bloom time: Summer – Fall. Often winter blooming! Good for hot and dry climates and hot and humid climates.
9. Salvia ‘Mystic Spires Blue’ – (Compact Indigo Spires Sage)
USDA zone 7. This heat loving, compact blue flowering sage has good upright growth. Plant it in a container where it’s excellent, or Size: 2-3′ x 2-3′. Growth rate: Moderate. Bloom time: Summer – Fall. Often winter blooming! Flowers- Blue. Exposure: Full sun. Water: Moderate. Parentage: (S.longispicata and S. farinacea)
10. Salvia leucantha ‘Santa Barbara’- (Santa Barbara Mexican Bush Sage)
USDA zone: 8a. Size: 3′ tall + wide. Mexican bush sage is the most widely planted Salvia planted in California. It is an excellent, easy Salvia tolerant of many soils, though good drainage is important. Cut old foliage to the ground in spring. Great cut flower. Bloom: Summer – Fall in mild climates. Hot climates, will flower in Fall.
Though just a drop in the ‘sage bucket’, the ten sages in this post are popular growers in Mediterranean and similar climates. Several included can handle colder winters so check USDA Zones and yours. If you like sages and want to learn more, there are many excellent books and online resources. I have a copy of The Plant Lover’s Guide to Salvias by John Whittlesey and recommend this as a gorgeous guide with more than 150 salvias chock-full of amazing photos and info. And finally, Salvias are an excellent choice for cottage, rustic and Mediterranean style gardens. Keep in mind that though Salvias are over-all easy to grow: good drainage is a must!
I’ve also included my Etsy link where you can find a good selection of Salvia Plants. Many of the merchants on this page offer free shipping.
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