Salvia gregii ‘Rossetto’

Excellent seedling of ‘Playa Rosa’ with deep clear pink flowers for months and increased cold hardiness. To 20″ x 20″ in a season this is a ‘woody’ sage that forms a small shrub. The vivid pink flowers begin in late May and continue to frost. It takes a break from blooming in extreme heat (above 95ºF) but flowers return when cooler air arrives. Full hot sun to part shade in rich, WELL DRAINED soil. A slope is ideal- especially if it faces south. Light, consistent summer water, speeds growth, establishment and spurs rounds of bloom. Loved by hummingbirds and butterflies. Do not cut back until early spring- when all signs of a hard freeze have passed. It may be cut back hard then and will quickly erupt into a blooming machine. Great in seasonal containers. ‘Rossetto’ is lipstick in Italian. Thanks to my friend Ann Amato for the name.

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Salvia microphylla ‘Flower Child’

This species has yielded some very good cold and wet tolerant cultivars. This selection from Monterey Bay Nursery in Watsonville, CA has proved to be one of the best performers. Masses of outward facing candy pink flowers swarm the stems of this large, semi-woody Salvia. The flowers begin in May and continue unabated to frost. This is a very good hue of pink, very mixeable with other colors without clashing. To 2′ tall x 2′ wide in a single season. Well drained soil of rich to average fertility. Double dig the soil before planting to incorporate oxygen and improve drainage as well as water permeability. It excels on slopes in full all day sun with just light summer water. Flowers continue through the hottest weather- good trait in our climate where many others take a break in in the mid to upper 90’s. Drought adapted when established. Do not cut back until new growth emerges in spring- then it can be taken back by 2/3rd. New growth will erupt from semi-woody stems around the base and you are up and running. Herbaceous below about 15ºF. Returns from the base if established. Hummers, butterflies, chicks without bras dancing around like nymphs. Its got it all. Moderate deer resistance.

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Salvia microphylla ‘Royal Bumble’

This is red, no pink, very little orange, true blasting red. Our employee Chris thought we needed it and after observation I heartily agree. Bushy semi-woody perennial to 30″ x 30″ for full sun and rich well drained soil. A slope is best. Blooms unabated from May to frost. It takes a break in temperatures above 97º but resumes blooming with a cool down. This is redder ( with no white) than Hot lips with very large flowers in deeply colored calyxes. We have been impressed with the cold and wet tolerance of Salvia microphylla. Of utmost importance is to refrain from cutting them back until all danger of frost has passed, then you can go for it and regrowth to bloom is rapid. Obviously a hummingbird attractant. They stake them out, they fight and its all good fun. Long blooming Light deer resistance. Drought adapted when established.

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Salvia muelleri

This purple flowered royal sage has impressed us for years with its hardiness to cold, true purple flowers and tolerance of cold winter wet. A loose spreading perennial that adorns its tips with royal purple flower from June to frost. Never dense it prefers full hot sun and very well drained soils and light but consistent summer water. To 18″ tall by 2′ wide in time. Do not cut back until new growth pushes in spring. It needs a woody framework of branches to protect the overwintering crown. Takes blasting hot conditions. Moderate deer resistance. Very long blooming perennial that doesn’t flinch at heat and drought. The royal purple flowers are held in black calyxes. Excellent on slopes. Some wonderful companions are Epilobium (Zauschneria) septentrionalis ‘Select Mattole’ and Cuphea cyanea ‘hirtella’. Long lived perennial.

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Salvia nutans

Nodding Sage. There is no Salvia quite like this remarkable species from the mid-asian steppes. A basal rosette of large leaves supports towering 4′ stems that erupt from the center of leaves. In May-August each stem hosts multiple nodding clumps of extremely showy blue flowers. Elegant, beautiful and hardy. Forms increasing clumps in rich to average well drained soil in full sun to very light shade. Appreciates good drainage and light consistent summer water. The blue flowers are a magnet for pollinators and they swarm en masse. Excellent and groovy cut flower for large arrangements. Otherwise a stellar perennial for borders, even rock gardens. Completely winter deciduous. Blooms a long time. A Xera Plants favorite perennial.

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Salvia spathacea

Hummingbird Salvia is a Californian Sage. In rich soil it spreads liberally by underground runners to colonize large areas. That is if winter does not knock it back. Large quilted soft green arrow shaped leaves appear in early spring, by late spring 28″ tall chalice’s of rich red/pink (Raspberry) flowers erupt from dramatic and well spaced whorls. Rich to average soil that drains well. Water well in the first season to establish then very light to none in subsequent years. A Salvia of southern and central California  it has a distinctive aroma that is loved by some, despised by others. Mulch with dry leaves for the first winter or two. Doesn’t like wet plus subfreezing cold. Good, and restrained in a container. Protect containerized plants from extreme cold (below 20ºF). Nice and very dramatic cut flowers. Blooms March repeatedly until June. Great for hummingbirds, butterflies, and pollinators. Semi-deciduous in winter.

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Salvia transylvanica

Excellent, cold hardy, easy to grow, showy blue Salvia that can be hard to find. Forms a rosette of large felted deep green leaves and in summer multiple candelabras of rich blue flower spikes appear. They are wonderful for weeks. If you remove spent spikes more will appear. Blooms (re-blooms) until September. Full sun, in rich well drained soil. Rises to 30″ in bloom and forms spreading clumps to as wide in several years. Wonderful border Salvia as it accepts regular water and rich conditions. Completely deciduous in winter. Emerges mid-spring- protect new growth from marauding slugs. Once its up thats much less of a problem. Combine with Lobelia tupa, Kniphofia ‘Lightning Bug’. Easy and spectacular. Loved by hummingbirds and pollinators.

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Salvia uliginosa

Swamp sage is actually very tolerant of dry to average conditions. This special sage from South America is surprisingly cold hardy and is a large reliable perennial. 6′ tall wand-like stems terminate in rows of sky blue flowers. There is a white nectary guide on the lower lip. Forms semi-woody clumps that expand at a moderate rate to about 2′ across. Freezes to the ground below about 20ºF but is root hardy near 0ºF. Rich to average soil with regular irrigation through summer. Full sun to very light shade. Blooms appear from early June to early autumn. Excellent in the back of a border or swimming in a sea of large ornamental grass. The medium green leaves are elongated with indentation and rise up along the stem. One of the easiest and showiest of sages. Nice cut flower. Moderate deer resistance.

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Salvia x ‘Christine Yeo’

Very good Salvia that blooms non-stop medium purple flowers for months in summer well into autumn. Tall growing to 3′ and somewhat wispy. A possible hybrid with the blue flowered Salvia chamaedryoides. Hummingbirds love this free blooming hardy perennial. Freezes to the ground below the mid 20’s. Returns from the base in spring. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil in full sun. Drainage in winter is the key. Add some pumice and gravel to the planting hole and water consistently to this plant good and established. Do not cut back in the spring until you actually see new growth pushing. Then remove all the dead material. Regains stature quickly in spring.

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Salvia x ‘Silke’s Dream’

Brilliant and tall and hardy (!) Salvia that blooms continuously from late June usually up until frost. Large spikes of large tubular flowers are a curious hue. We’ve decided on Melon Red. How’s that for marketing? Other people say orange and still others scream red. The picture we have is the true color. To 30″ tall from a woody base. Not a real dense plant- kind of airy actually and benefits by having a more handsome plant in front. Hummingbirds die for this plant. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil in full sun with regular summer water. If it gets tired looking in mid summer simply give it a hair cut and water it and boom! Back at ’em. Do not cut back the plant in fall or winter- that will make it much less hardy to cold. Instead remove dead top growth when new growth emerges- usually around mid-April. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast.

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