The salvia species covers several types of sage plants including autumn sage, meadow sage, lilac sage, blue sage and more.
Botanical and Common Name: The salvia species covers several types of sage plants including autumn sage, meadow sage, lilac sage, blue sage and more. Hardiness Zones: Some sages are tender annuals and while this article will over the perennial species that can be hardy up to zone 3 or 4 so check specific cultivar information for details. Plant Category: The salvias covered in this article are herbaceous or woody perennials. Bloom Time and Color: Most perennial sages bloom beginning late spring/early summer and continue all season into the fall. Salvias are usually highly attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and, less often, honeybees. Foliage: Salvia foliage is ornamental, often aromatic, textured or evergreen. Growth Habit and Dimensions: See specific cultivar information for details. Preferred Conditions: All the salvias covered in this article prefer full sun and are highly drought tolerant once established. Poor soil is also tolerated and in fact many of these native sage species don't do well in over-rich or highly fertilized soil. Maintenance: Salvia responds well to pruning, especially S. greggii which can developed old, woody stems without some cutting back. Pruning will encourage bushier growth and reblooming. Pests or Diseases: Typically disease and pest free. Sometimes white flies can be a problem, as can leaf rust. Propagation Methods: Salvias grow from seed, cuttings or division. Not all seedlings will grow true to the parent form when propagating hybridized cultivars. Companion Plants: Plant salvias with other drought tolerant plants such as Crape Myrtle,, Coreopsis, or Yucca Seasons of Interest: Salvia flowers last for months providing interest through all of the summer and fall. The foliage of some cultivars provide evergreen winter interest as well. Uses in the Garden: Plant perennial sages in mixed borders, rock gardens, xeriscapes, low-maintenance gardens, hummingbird or butterfly gardens, cottage gardens, deer resistant beds and native meadow plantings. Other Uses: Some sages were used medicinally or for culinary purposes. Varieties and Cultivars: Salvia greggii Zones 7-9. These Autumn Sages (also called Texas Sage) tend to be more shrub-formed plants that grow to 4'tall and 2'wide with an irregular, vase shaped growth habit. Usually evergreen, this salvia also has a long bloom season that begins mid-spring and doesn't end until frost. Pruning can encourage a second flush of blooms. S. greggii 'Furman's Red': Hardy to zone 6 this cultivar has deep-red, fragrant flowers starting in the early summer. If winter dieback occurs the crown will survive and generate new growth in the spring. Evergreen in warmer climates. For more info on purchasing this item click here. S. greggii 'Wild Thing': Blooms June through October with hot-pink to bright red flowers and aromatic foliage. 2005 Plant Selection Winner. For more info on purchasing this item click here. S. greggii 'Pink Preference': A medium pink Texas Sage that grows 2' tall and 3' wide. Great for containers. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Salvia nemorosa (Also called Salvia sylvestris) Generally hardy through zone 4. Known as Meadow Sage they are typically self-seeding and drought tolerant plants making them excellent naturalizing plants for a dry, full-sun situation. S. nemorosa 'Marcus': This sage is a dwarf form with flower spikes that reach only about 10" tall! The lance shaped leaves are highly attractive, as are the season long violet-blue flowers. Perfect for border edges, front of mixed borders and containers. For more info on purchasing this item click here. S. nemorosa 'Cardonna': Aromatic foliage grows in a 1' clump while the violet flower spikes can grow as tall as 2'. Humid weather can cause a lag in flowering so prune back if that occurs to encourage the sage to rebloom again in the fall. For more info on purchasing this item click here. S. sylvestris 'May Night' (also seen as Saliva nemorosa 'May Night): The 1997 Perennial Plant of the Year for deep blue flowers that are long-lasting and fragrant. Grey-green, lance-shaped leaves are also aromatic and form compact 18" clumps. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Salvia verticillata 'Purple Rain' Zones 4-9. A hardy purple flowering sage commonly called "Lilac Sage", this salvia is popular for the colorful fragrant blooms. Less upright than other salvias, 'Purple Rain' has a slightly arching, open habit and flowers last for months. For more info on purchasing this item click here. This 'Plant Highlight' was written exclusively for Sooner Plant Farm by Angela England .To read more from this talented writer about other highlighted plants and interesting gardening stories click here. All copyrights reserved by Sooner Plant Farm. No reproduction of this article in whole or in part is allowed without the permission of Sooner Plant Farm.