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Salvia azurea is often confused with:
Salvia farinacea Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue'
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Eryngium planum Eryngium
Baptisia tinctoria Baptisia tinctoria
Viola pedata Viola pedata

Salvia azurea

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
SAL-vee-uh a-ZOOR-ee-uh
Description

Blue sage is a delicate herbaceous, clumping perennial in the Lamiaceae (mint) family native to South and Central United States.The genus name Salvia is derived from the Latin term salveo, which means ‘be well’ and refers to the plant's purported medicinal properties. Azurea refers to the sky-blue color of the showy two-lipped tubular flowers.

Plant blue sage in full sun to partial shade in sandy or shallow-rocky soil. It prefers moist soil as long as there is good drainage but tolerates occasional drought.  Flowers appear from mid-summer to fall for long lasting interest in the garden. Cut the stems back by 1/2 in the late spring to promote fuller more compact growth as stems can flop over with the weight of the flower spikes and this occurs especially in organically rich soils.  This plant is resistant to browsing by deer.  Propagate it by division or seed. 

Blue sage grows from 3 to 5 feet high and has showy blue flowers that attract bees and butterflies, so consider it for pollinator gardens.  This native works well n the middle of perennial borders, in prairie gardens, and open meadows.  It is also at home tucked into a rock or cottage garden.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

More information on Salvia.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Nekan'
    larger blue flowers than species; more robust
'Nekan'
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#native perennials#blue flowers#low maintenance#cottage garden#NC native#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#delicate#long bloom time#rock garden#border planting#clumping#flowers mid-summer#gray-green leaves#NC Native Pollinator Plant#flowers late summer#border middle#rocky soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#flowers early fall#bee friendly#meadows#shallow soil tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Nekan'
    larger blue flowers than species; more robust
'Nekan'
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#native perennials#blue flowers#low maintenance#cottage garden#NC native#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#delicate#long bloom time#rock garden#border planting#clumping#flowers mid-summer#gray-green leaves#NC Native Pollinator Plant#flowers late summer#border middle#rocky soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#flowers early fall#bee friendly#meadows#shallow soil tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Salvia
    Species:
    azurea
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South and Central U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    North Carolina south to Florida; west to Texas; north to Nebraska and Minnesota.
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts butterflies and bees.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    drought, shallow rocky soil, deer, dry soil
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Granular and mottled, 2-3mm ovoid nutlet containing 1 seed
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Simple, linear obovate or lanceolate gray green leaves 3"-4" long
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Diseases
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Insect Pests