The Top Salvias

By Dave Whitinger

Let's see the most popular Salvias cultivars in our database:
#1: Blue Anise Sage (Salvia coerulea 'Black and Blue')

@mom2goldens says, "I plant this every year because it is a hummingbird magnet. They prefer it over the nectar in the feeder. It's such a gorgeous plant. In our zone it does slightly better in a little light shade: The plants seem to grow larger and flower more heavily. It keeps producing flowers until frost, which is a great advantage in the late season garden."


#2: Blackcurrant Sage (Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips')

@bonitin says, "This is an amazing plant. When I bought it the flowers were bicolor: red and white. The same plant later on produced entirely white flowers, and now the first blooms in late May-June are entirely red. It proved to be very tough too, having gone through a very severe winter with long periods of hard frosts without damage. It is very drought resistant too."


#3: Sage (Salvia nemorosa 'Mainacht')

@SongofJoy says, "Selected as the 1997 Perennial Plant of the Year. Outstanding for its compact growth habit, profuse deep purple flower spikes and vigorous re-blooming nature. "May Night" thrives in hot, sunny planting sites. The first flush of flowers comes in late spring. Deadheading and a little extra watering assures heavy re-blooming."


#4: Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)

@RickCorey says, "Leaves fragrant, used to make tea or jelly. Edible flowers attract bees & butterflies.
Semi-erect growth habit. Bag seed heads to collect seed. Seed doesn't store well.
Provenance: Mexico. Older name: S. rutilans. Family: Lamiaceae.
Grows as annual in Zone 6.
Other propagation method: softwood cuttings.
Height 36" to 48", prefers full sun.
Spacing: 24" to 36""


#5: Culinary Sage (Salvia officinalis)

@Mindy03 says, "Honey bees get nectar and pollen from this plant."

@gardengus added, "This semi-woody subshrub is an easy-to-grow evergreen perennial herb that is used in many recipes.
It is also added to some medicinal teas.
It is easy to dry and store for winter use. Simply pick the leaves or cut whole branch tips and hang to dry.
For tea, just hand crush the dry leaves and add a small amount to loose-leaf teas before steeping. (This is a strong herb and a little will add much flavor.)
For seasoning in cooking, remove stems and crush leaves in a mortar and pestle. This is called ''rubbed sage.'' Leaves must be completely dry to use this method.

I use most of my sage to season fresh sausage and homemade bread stuffing."


#6: Blue Sage (Salvia azurea)

@Danita says, "Salvia azurea is a lovely, easy-to-grow plant here. It blooms in late summer and fall with long wispy stems topped with sky blue flowers. The hummingbirds and butterflies use this plant some, but it's more of a bee plant. It's been very drought tolerant and has survived severe drought and watering bans.

My Climate: USDA Zone 7b, AHS Heat Zone 7/8, Humid"


#7: Salvia (Salvia 'Wendy's Wish')

@Danita says, "'Wendy's Wish' is a wonderful hybrid Salvia with spires of bright fuchsia colored flowers with brownish-pink calyces that was found in Wendy Smith's garden in Australia. The leaves are dark green and glossy. It is a sterile, interspecific cross so it has a very long bloom period and doesn't set seed. This plant is patented and part of the proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, therefore the name 'Wendy's Wish'. It can take Sun to Part Shade (prefers part sun-part shade in the south.) It has performed very well for me in a container and I love the flowers. It is attractive to hummingbirds. I have been overwintering it on a porch that gets close to freezing but not below and it doesn't go dormant. I haven't tried overwintering it outside yet.

My Climate: USDA Zone 7b, AHS Heat Zone 7/8, Humid"


#8: Hummingbird Sage (Salvia coccinea 'Coral Nymph')

@sallyg says, "I've had this for years. It's a lovely coral color. They self sow, and they grow easily, although they sprout a bit later than you might expect. Once blooming, they go nonstop until frost."

@Marilyn added, "One of my favorite Salvias! I love it! It's a beautiful Salvia!

I love the color of the flowers, that it's long blooming, that it attracts hummers, butterflies, and bees, and that it's easy to care for during the season. I rarely see seedlings from it, but maybe I disturb the soil too soon.

I try to order at least one every year."


#9: Hummingbird Sage (Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red')

@Marilyn says, "This is my Mom's favorite, as well as mine. She always wants a container of 'Lady in Red' for Mother's Day from me every year. She and I love it, and the many hummingbirds that visit it love it too!

It self sows, has many blooming flowers, is a beautiful color of red, and is easy to maintain.

I plant many pots of it into containers, and the ones in the ground self sow from the previous year and I'll get more plants! Sometimes, it self sows from one container into another container and the next year, I'll get a new free plant!"


#10: Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha)

@Lavanda says, "I have raised this lovely plant on and off for years. In my borderline zone 7b/8a, it acts as a half-hardy perennial, lasting for a few years (not more than three seasons), until a colder than normal winter takes it out for good. I then replace them.

They drive hummingbirds crazy with joy.

I like to use them to surround the birdbath."


#11: Sage (Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna')

@BookerC1 says, "Details from plant tag, from Lowes:
"Dig hole 2 times width of pot. Set top of root ball even with ground level. Combine planting mix and soil. Fill to ground level and tamp. Form water basin; water to settle soil. Add layer of mulch. Check often for water needs until established. Fertilize spring and summer, or before new growth begins. Cut back after flowering.""


#12: Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)

@CarolineScott says, "Clary Sage has colored bracts.
The color is not actually flowers."

@Bonehead added, "This is an invasive plant in Washington. It spreads by seed, so it would be a good idea to deadhead before the seeds form if it is a problem in your locale. I would like to have one in my herb garden for medicinal purposes, and thus far my county has not had a serious infestation so I believe I can manage this cautiously."


#13: Tropical Sage (Salvia coccinea)

@plantladylin says, "I received seeds of this plant from a friend and love that it reseeds itself in my garden. It blooms from early summer until fall in a full sun location."


#14: Sage (Salvia 'Indigo Spires')

@Marilyn says, "Love this Salvia! I planted it one year in the ground, but I don't really have the space for it. I might plant it in an extra large container next year as it isn't hardy where I live.

It's really worth growing!

I also noticed that as the season progressed into the cooler fall days, the color of the flowers became more beautiful, richer, and darker."


#15: Lyreleaf Sage (Salvia lyrata)

@plantladylin says, "Salvia lyrata is a native wildflower here in Florida, found throughout the state. The leaves form a basal rosette and the plant grows to 24 inches in height. Whorls of pale purple to bluish-pink flowers are borne on the 1 to 2 foot tall hairy stem that emerges from the rosette. Flowers have a 3-lobed upper petal and a longer 2-lobed lower lip. The fruit of Lyreleaf Sage is an open cup-shaped brown pod containing 4 seeds.The plant reseeds readily and can become weedy. Salvia lyrata is found in habitats of disturbed sites, roadsides, forest margins and fields."



#17: Salvia (Salvia 'Amistad')

@Marilyn says, "Salvia 'Amistad' is a very new Salvia. The flowers are purple and it is a hybrid. They look like the shape of Salvia 'Black and Blue'. This Salvia has generated a great deal of excitement in the Salvia world. It's a hummingbird magnet!

Rolando Uria of the University of Buenos Aries discovered this wonderful Salvia in 2005 at a plant show in Argentina and wanted to share it with everybody. Amistad is Spanish for friendship, hence the common name of Friendship Salvia.

Rolando Uria stated he didn't want this Salvia patented, intending for the plant to be freely distributed around the world, and he gave a cutting to a grower in the US when the grower was in Argentina, but after the cutting came to the US, it unfortunately got into the hands of a US company that is going to have it patented."


#18: White Sage (Salvia apiana)

@SongofJoy says, "This plant is suitable for dry conditions, especially where winters are dry. Stems can turn black and die if the plant is too wet. The entire plant is very likely to die if wet conditions are prolonged. In areas with summer humidity, White Sage is not likely to be successful."


#19: Violet Sage (Salvia nemorosa 'Blauhugel')

@Marilyn says, "This is a beautiful Salvia and is easy to grow. A great choice to add some blue to the garden. I've been growing 'Blue Hill' for many years and I love it. Dependable every year. I've grown it in the ground and this year I've planted another one in a 20-inch container and it is doing great."


#20: Mountain Sage (Salvia clevelandii)

@sheryl says, "One of my favorite plants - it reminds me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book. The flowers are pompoms strung on a stem, one arising from the next. The leaves are the felty gray-green that is so typical of many desert plants, and they give off a very particular scent when crushed.

To say that the plant is aromatic is an understatement. I love the smell, some people don't - probably because it can be strong. I carried one home from a sale in my car once and it perfumed the whole car.

If you plant this flower, please remember that it is a desert plant and must be given excellent drainage or it will suffer from root rot."


#21: Mexican Sage (Salvia mexicana 'Limelight')

@RickCorey says, "According to Richard F. Dufresne, Salvia mexicana `Limelight' may grow to 4 feet in full sun, with 18" spikes. He gives the hardiness zone as "8 (7?)"."

@Bubbles added, "This has been a reliable, pest-free perennial with low water requirements. I have it growing in full sun, where it is also open to the elements of wind and cold. It freezes to the ground each winter and comes back in late February. It will grow to about six feet tall and six feet wide by late summer in my garden. The long bloom spikes consist of gorgeous electric blue flowers emerging from lime green calyxes. It will bloom from late summer to the first hard freeze. It attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and neighbors (for those showy blooms).

This salvia was discovered growing in Quertaro, Mexico by Robert Ornduff in 1978. It is also known as Lolly Jackson salvia as it supposedly was found growing in her front yard garden."


#22: Bog Sage (Salvia uliginosa)

@chelle says, "The foliage of this plant emits a rather unpleasant odor, but I find it to be a completely undemanding resident of my rather wild, moist and sunny seasonal stream bed. The blooms are dainty and a wonderfully pleasing clear, bright blue."


#23: Mealycup Sage (Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue')

@mcash70 says, "In past years I had little luck growing Salvia: They always got powdery mildew, became spindly, and finished blooming in no time. This spring while I was at the nursery, a plant with very striking blue flowers caught my eye. It was Victoria Blue Sage, Salvia farinacea. I decided to take a chance on this one, and I am very happy that I did.

After purchasing it in a 6-inch pot, I planted it in a part sun and shade area of the garden, adding a slow release fertilizer at the time of planting. With ample water it has grown vigorously, forming a nice clump and producing many spikes of beautiful, intense, deep-blue flowers on blue stems, above deep-green foliage. This is a beautiful easy-care plant and will be replaced next year, as it is an annual in my zone 3a garden."


#24: Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii 'Wild Thing')

@Marilyn says, "I love this Salvia! Love the color and the fact that it's hardy for me! I live in zone 6 and only a few greggiis that I can think of are hardy where I live.

The color is a gorgeous rose pink and I look forward to seeing it in bloom every year! I try to plant 'Wild Thing' in my garden every year, so that it will be more colorful and become more attractive to the hummingbirds."


#25: Lilac Sage (Salvia verticillata 'Purple Rain')

@Skiekitty says, "Another weed of a salvia. Zone 5 winters are no problem, even with absolutely no protection. Gets huge. Mine's about 5' around and about 18"-24" tall in the middle of summer. Dies back to the ground every winter. Not a deep green, but more of a silvery green foliage."


The most thumbed-up image in the Salvias area is shown below:



About Dave Whitinger
Thumb of 2020-03-17/dave/72728eDave is the Executive Director of National Gardening Association.

 
Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Salvias by Josietruehl Sep 21, 2019 3:54 PM 0
Thanks for the zones by Oberon46 Sep 13, 2015 10:40 AM 0
It is Salvias Week! by Marilyn Sep 12, 2015 4:45 PM 3
Salvia x sylvestris 'Mainacht' (May Night), May 19 and 23, 2015 by csandt Sep 12, 2015 4:31 PM 1
salvias by katie1cana Sep 12, 2015 4:23 PM 2
Salvia madrensis/Forsythia Sage by greene Sep 12, 2015 7:02 AM 0
I miss Salvia patens and it's gorgeous colours by Mutisia Sep 11, 2015 8:13 PM 2

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