Salvia Spathacea Plant

Overview

Salvia spathacea is a perennial herb and dicot that originates in California (central and southern regions). It is also endemic, which means that it appears only in California. The herbaceous plant species is also commonly known as both hummingbird sage and pitcher sage. Salvia spathacea generally appears in coastal areas. They are part of the Salvia, or sage, genus within the Lamiaceae family.

Characteristics

Salvia spathacea has a fruity, light fragrance. It blooms between the months of March and May, and has flowers that are generally a deep lilac-rose color. The perennial, evergreen plants have flowering stems and woody bases, and can grow to be between 1 and 3 feet in height. The leaves (which are shaped like arrows) are a vibrant green color, and, upon contact, are highly fragrant. They have rounded teeth and can have wrinkles. The flowers can be various colors, including pale pink, green, purple and magenta. The plants have a sticky feel.

Geography

Salvia spathacea appears only in California, particularly in the southern and central regions of the state. They appear in the coast ranges from San Diego all the way north to the Sacramento Valley. Salvia spathacea appears as a coastal sage scrub, and is often grown in oak woodlands, in damp soils near the Pacific Ocean and on shady or open slopes.

Cultivation

These evergreen plants bloom between the spring and summer months. They can manage well on both light shade and cool sun. Partial sun or full sun is preferable. Salvia spathacea is extremely tolerant of both drought and frost. The plants have low watering needs. They are adaptable to many different kinds of soil, but well-drained soil is preferable.

Uses

Salvia spathacea is commonly used as an ornamental plant due to its attractive and bright flowers, and also for its pleasant fragrance. It can be used for borders and beds. Due to the fact that the plant is low maintenance, it also works well on city streets.

Propagation

Salvia spathacea can be propagated easily with either rhizomes or seeds. Seeds for Salvia spathacea need to be accumulated as quickly as possible, in order to avoid them being predated by pests. One possible disease that could affect the plant is powdery mildew, which can be managed and eliminated simply by spraying a milk and water dilution. However, in general the plants are resistant to most disease and pests.

Keywords: salvia spathacea, hummingbird sage, pitcher sage

About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, eHow.com and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.