Salvia 

(sal’ vee-ah)

Common name: Sage

Family: Lamiaceae, Mint

Height x width: 12-48" x 12-36" depending on species

Growth rate, habit:  moderate to fast; upright, branched

Foliage: opposite, 4-sided stems; varies with species but generally lanceolate to oblong, often hairy, often 3-6" long; often variously scented when bruised

Flowers:  2-lipped in terminal and axillary whorls; size and color varies with species, generally red flowers are annuals

Hardiness: zones 4 through 8 to 10, depending on species

Soil: moist, well-drained, drought tolerant

Light: full sun

Pests and Problems: occasionally leaf spots, rusts; white fly

Landscape habit, uses: border, pots, butterflies and hummingbirds depending on species

Other interest: from the Latin salvare, to heal, refering to the supposed medicinal properties of some species; popular genus in recent years with many offerings; variously native, depending on species with many native to Central and South America

Other culture: cool evenings promote longer bloom and depth of color; many species, especially those less cold hardy need heat to perform and bloom best; many tender perennials are grown as annuals in northern zones

Propagation: stem cuttings, division in spring but slow to reestablish

Species: Of the 900 or so species, the following are the most commonly seen perennial ones, with biennials so noted; others may be annual or biennial; heights may vary, the one given being generally the maximum.
 
 
 
Species hardiness flowers height, in.
aethiopis (biennial) 7-9 off white 24
apiana 8-10 white 48
argentea (biennial) 6-8 white, yellow 36
arizonica 7-10 blue 24
azurea 5-9 blue 48+
blepharophylla 8-10 scarlet red 18
bulleyana 7-9 pale yellow, black 36
cacaliifolia 8-10 dark blue 36
candelabrum 8-10 violet blue 36
chamaedryoides 7-10 blue 18
clevelandii 8-10 blue 24
confertiflora 8-10 red 36
farinacea 8-10 light blue 18
forskaohlei 5-8 violet-blue 48
greggii 7-10 red 18
guaranitica 7-10 violet-blue 48+
hians 6-9 bluish 36
interrupta 8-10 blue 36
involucrata 8-10 pink 48+
jurisicii 4-7 deep blue 24
koyamae 6-8 yellow 24
lavandulifolia 5-10 violet blue 12
leucantha 7-10 blue, white 36
lyrata 6-9 lavender 24
microphylla 8-10 red 48+
nemorosa 5-7 violet blue 36
officinalis 4-7 purple 30
patens 8-10 deep blue 36
pratensis (haematodes) 3-7 blue 36
regla 8-10 orange-scarlet 48+
rutilans 8-10 bright red 36
sclarea (biennial) 5-9 whitish blue 36
sinaloaensis 8-10 deep blue 12
x superba 5-9 purple 36
x sylvestris (nemorosa) 4-7 violet blue 36
uliginosa 6-10 blue 48+
verticillata 5-8 lilac 36


Cultivars: those marked * may be more commonly seen.
 
Cultivar species flowers other
‘Alba’ greggii white  
‘Alba’ pratensis white  
‘Albiflora’ officinalis white narrow leaves
‘Argentina Skies’ guaranitica pastel blue  
‘Atroviolacea’ pratensis dark violet  
‘Aurea’ officinalis purple golden leaves
‘Baumgartenii’ pratensis light violet  
‘Berggarten’ officinalis blue gray-green leaves
‘Blue Ensign’ guaranitica blue, green sepals  
‘Black and Blue’ guaranitica dark blue tall 5-6’
*‘Blue Hill’ (‘Blauhuegal’) x sylvestris blue long bloom
*‘Blue Queen’ (‘Blaukoenigin’) nemorosa violet blue 18-24", from seed
‘Cherry Queen’ greggii hybrid cherry red long bloom in south
‘Cienego D’oro greggii pale yellow 15-18" 
‘Costa Rica’ guaranitica dark blue similar to Black and Blue
‘Desert Blaze’ greggii red white margins on lvs
*‘East Friesland’ (‘Ostfriesland’) x sylvestris violet blue compact 18"
*'Eveline' hybrid pink-purple compact, long bloom if deadhead
‘Furman’s Red’ greggii bright red upright 36"
var. grandiflora azurea large, pale blue 36"
‘Haematodes’ pratensis lilac  
‘Icterina’ officinalis purple light green leaves, wavy
*x ‘Indigo Spires’ farinacea hybrid blue vigorous in South
‘Keter’s Red’ greggii orange red  
‘Lubecca’ x sylvestris violet blue 30"
‘Lupinoides’ pratensis bluish white  
‘Marashino’ greggii hybrid cherry red  
*‘May Night’ (‘Mainacht’) x sylvestris dark blue 18", large flowers
‘Montrose Best’ x sylvestris reddish blue from NC nursery
‘Purple Majesty’ guaranitica hyb. deep purple 5’ tall
*’Purple Rain’ verticillata dark purple compact 18"
‘Purple Splendor’ guaranitica dark blue smooth leaves, 36"
‘Purpurescens’ officinalis purple purple leaves
‘Red Velvet’ greggii hybrid velvet red 36"
‘Raspberry Royale’ greggii hybrid magenta late summer, fall
‘Rose Queen’ (‘Rosakoenigin’) nemorosa rose from seed
‘Rose Wine’ x sylvestris rose 2’
‘Rosea’ pratensis rose purple  
‘Rubicundra’ pratensis rose red  
‘Rubrifolia’ officinalis purple red narrow leaves
‘Salicifolia’ officinalis purple very narrow leaves
‘Tenorii’ pratensis deep blue  
‘Tricolor’ officinalis purple leaves variously colors
‘Turkestanica’ sclarea lilac to pink taller than species
‘Variegata’ pratensis light blue, white  
‘Viola Klose’ x sylvestris dark blue  
‘Wesuwe’ x sylvestris red purple 18"

(most photos courtesy Missouri Botanical Gardens plantfinder)


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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