Flowering sage, also known as salvia, is an excellent garden plant. It flowers for an extended period, comes in a wide variety of colors, and thrives in hot, dry conditions. The flowering sage family contains both annuals and perennials. Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to the vibrant colors of the blooms.
Flowering sage bears spikes of red, purple, pink, salmon, white or bicolored flowers. Most flowering sage cultivars grow fairly quickly and range in size from 12 to 36 inches tall. When the initial flower display begins to fade, trim off the spikes for another flush of growth and flowering.
How to Grow
Most flowering sages prefer full sun and well-drained soils, but many will bloom well in part shade. Once your plants are established, they will not need additional watering unless you are under a severe drought. Fertilize with a bloom-enhancing fertilizer once during the summer.
Diseases and Pests
Flowering sage can be subject to damping-off, powdery mildew, stem and root rots, aphids, spider mites, whiteflies and Botrytis blight. Generally, flowering sage has no major problems unless it is in a greenhouse or subjected to large amounts of cool, wet weather.
Annual cultivars include Scarlet Sage, with bright red flowers on 10-inch spikes; Lady in Red, which reaches 2 feet tall; Snow Nymph, which has white flowers and dark-green leaves; Pineapple Sage, which has red leaves and a strong pineapple fragrance; Frieda Dixon, which has pink flowers; Evolution, which has very dark, violet-purple flowers; and Gentian Sage, with true-blue flowers atop 18-inch plants.
Perennial cultivars include White Sage, which has white, wooly leaves and white flowers; Silver Sage, which giant gray leaves and silver flowers; Cleveland Blue Sage, which has aromatic gray leaves and showy blue flowers; Peruvian Sage, with flowers so dark purple that they appear black; Cieneo D' Oro, with yellow flowers and shrubby growth; Moonlight, with light yellow flowers; and Maraschino, with deep red flowers.