Salvia Plant Varieties

Written by justintomlinson
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Salvia Plant Varieties
Red is the classic salvia bloom colour. (red salvia image by Michelle Reimers from

Salvia, commonly called sage, is a member of the mint family. There are hundreds of salvia species around the world and they can be perennials, annuals, biennials or shrubs. Salvias can vary widely in height, width, shape and flower colour. Red is the classic bloom colour for salvia, but gardeners can choose from blue, purple, white and pink varieties as well. Some salvia varieties aren't hardy in colder northern climates, so are treated as annuals.

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Wild Clary Sage

Wild clary sage (salvia verbenaca) is also sometimes known as vervain salvia. It blooms in midsummer, with flowers ranging in colour from blue to violet. Wild clary sage grows best in full sun, reaching heights of 18 inches to 24 inches. Space plants 15 inches to 18 inches apart in the garden. Wild clary sage is favoured for home gardens because it is drought tolerant, has average watering demands and attracts birds, bees, and butterflies. The plant can survive over the winter in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 10; in other areas, treat it like an annual.

Golden Sage

Golden sage (salvia africana-lutea), is commonly called beach salvia, Bruin of Sandsalie, or brown salvia. It can be cultivated in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11; its brown or bronze flowers are on display from late winter into early spring. A perennial shrub, golden sage can grow 1 foot to 10 feet tall, depending on conditions. It can grow in full sun, partial shade, and even light to moderate shade in some cases. To allow enough room for it to grow, space plants 2 feet to 3 feet apart in the garden. Golden sage can be propagated from herbaceous stem cuttings or soft wood cuttings. It also can be sowed from seed indoors before the last frost. Like other salvia varieties, this plant is drought resistant.

Indigo Woodland Sage

Indigo woodland sage (salvia forsskaolii) has medium-size blue flowers that start blooming in late spring and las into midsummer. The plant grows 2 feet to 3 feet tall, and is a prolific self-sower that tends to grow in clumps. Space plants 18 inches to 24 inches apart in the garden. Indigo woodland sage can be found in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 7, where it thrives in full sun but can tolerate partially shaded areas. This plant is best cultivated by starting seeds indoors before the last frost. If you allow the seed heads to dry on the plants in your garden, you can collect the seeds and save them for planting in the spring.

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