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Salvia farinacea

Previously known as:

  • Salvia amabilis
  • Salvia virgata
Phonetic Spelling
SAL-vee-ah fair-in-ah-SAY-ah
Description

Blue sage is a herbaceous perennial in the Lamiaceae (mint) family. Growing 1.5 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide, it is native to the South Central United States and northeast Mexico. The flowers have a long bloom season. The name Salvia is derived from the Latin term salveo, which means ‘be well’ and refers to the plant's medicinal properties.

Grow this sage in full sun or partial shade. It prefers well-drained, moist soil but tolerates dry clay soil. Although blue sage is reliably perennial only in the outer coastal plain, it grows beautifully during the spring, summer, and fall and functions as an annual in the mountains and piedmont. Propagate it by stem cuttings or seed. 

Different cultivars offer flower colors from blue to purple and even white. It is an excellent bedding plant that looks neat and attractive all summer. Because the flower spikes are strong and upright it makes a good cut flower. Plant this sage in annual beds, along borders, and in naturalized areas. It is an ideal plant for butterfly, cottage, drought tolerant or pollinator gardens. This plant is seldom damaged by deer.

Quick ID

  • Erect herbs with square stems
  • Opposite ovate-lanceolate leaves
  • Chalices short, cup-like, inconspicuous teeth
  • Corollas zygomorphic, large lower lip, blue-purple

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  It is susceptible to downy and powdery mildew.

VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

 

 

More information on Salvia.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Courtyard Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blue Bedder'
  • 'Celebration Blue'
  • 'Rhea Dwarf Blue'
    compact (12-16 inches) with purple-blue flowers on dark purplish stems.
  • 'Sallyfun Blue Emotion'
  • 'Victoria'
    large, intense violet-blue flowers and dark stems
'Blue Bedder', 'Celebration Blue', 'Rhea Dwarf Blue', 'Sallyfun Blue Emotion', 'Victoria'
Tags:
#purple#hummingbirds#full sun tolerant#annuals#perennials#white flowers#wildlife plant#purple flowers#nectar plant#blue flowers#fall interest#cottage garden#cpp#bicolor#summer flowers#deer resistant#rock garden#border planting#bedding plants#cutting garden#spring interest#pollinator plant#fantz#clay soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blue Bedder'
  • 'Celebration Blue'
  • 'Rhea Dwarf Blue'
    compact (12-16 inches) with purple-blue flowers on dark purplish stems.
  • 'Sallyfun Blue Emotion'
  • 'Victoria'
    large, intense violet-blue flowers and dark stems
'Blue Bedder', 'Celebration Blue', 'Rhea Dwarf Blue', 'Sallyfun Blue Emotion', 'Victoria'
Tags:
#purple#hummingbirds#full sun tolerant#annuals#perennials#white flowers#wildlife plant#purple flowers#nectar plant#blue flowers#fall interest#cottage garden#cpp#bicolor#summer flowers#deer resistant#rock garden#border planting#bedding plants#cutting garden#spring interest#pollinator plant#fantz#clay soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Salvia
    Species:
    farinacea
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    S. Central U.S.A. to NE. Mexico
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 6 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    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:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Long Bloom Season
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are blue to purple; calyx minute, short-cylindric, teeth obscure, blue beneath mealy-white pubescence; corolla zygomorphic, blue to purple, short, tube to .3 inches long, lower lip enlarged, upper lobes short. Inflorescence is a terminal. interrupted, verticillate raceme; verticillasters 10-16 flowered.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are opposite, short-petiolate, ovate-lanceolate to narrowly oblong, irregularly serrate, minutely pubescent, acute, rotund to attenuate, minutely pubescent.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Description:
    square
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil