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Salvia nemorosa

Previously known as:

  • Sclarea nemorosa
  • Sclarea punctata
Phonetic Spelling
SAL-vee-uh nem-or-OH-suh
Description

Woodland sage is a clump-forming, deciduous perennial in the Lamiaceae (mint) family native to Europe and west-central Asia. It may grow as high as 3 feet and 2 feet wide. Salvia, the genus name, comes from the Latin word salveo, meaning ‘be well’. 

This is an easy plant to grow in full sun to partial shade in average, moist, well-drained soil. It prefers sandy or gravelly soil but tolerates most well-drained soils even dry soils. It is drought tolerant and is seldom damaged by deer or rabbit browsing. Propagate it by seed or stem cuttings.

The violet-blue flowers appear on dense spike-like racemes from June to September. Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Once the plant has bloomed and the stem has turned brown, cut it down to the basal leaves and new flowers will appear. They often repeat bloom more than once. Many cultivars exist to extend the flower color and size range available.

Use woodland sage in the front of a perennial border in groups of three or more for the best effect. It is also useful in a pollinator or cottage garden, along walkways, and in small spaces.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious 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 landscapes:
Pollinator Garden- Full Sun Floricyle
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Balyriclu' Lyrical™ Blues
    Dark burgandy buds violet blue flowers, compact
  • 'Caradonna'
    Dark purple stems and blue-violet flowers
  • 'May Night'
    Dark violet blue purple flowers in May-June
  • 'New Dimension Rose'
    vivid rose pink flowers on upright 10-12" flower stalks.
  • 'New Dimensions Blue'
    Dark blue flowers, 1-2 feet tall
  • Pink Profusion
  • 'Swifty Violet Blue'
'Balyriclu' Lyrical™ Blues, 'Caradonna', 'May Night', 'New Dimension Rose', 'New Dimensions Blue', Pink Profusion, 'Swifty Violet Blue'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#small spaces#drought tolerant#perennials#wildlife plant#nectar plant#blue flowers#low maintenance#cottage garden#rabbit resistant#air pollution tolerant#multistemmed#violet flowers#deer resistant#border planting#clumping#flowers mid-summer#gray-green leaves#nectar plant spring#flowers early summer#flowers late summer#walkway planting#small group plantings#sandy soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#flowers early fall#HS302#bee friendly#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Balyriclu' Lyrical™ Blues
    Dark burgandy buds violet blue flowers, compact
  • 'Caradonna'
    Dark purple stems and blue-violet flowers
  • 'May Night'
    Dark violet blue purple flowers in May-June
  • 'New Dimension Rose'
    vivid rose pink flowers on upright 10-12" flower stalks.
  • 'New Dimensions Blue'
    Dark blue flowers, 1-2 feet tall
  • Pink Profusion
  • 'Swifty Violet Blue'
'Balyriclu' Lyrical™ Blues, 'Caradonna', 'May Night', 'New Dimension Rose', 'New Dimensions Blue', Pink Profusion, 'Swifty Violet Blue'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#small spaces#drought tolerant#perennials#wildlife plant#nectar plant#blue flowers#low maintenance#cottage garden#rabbit resistant#air pollution tolerant#multistemmed#violet flowers#deer resistant#border planting#clumping#flowers mid-summer#gray-green leaves#nectar plant spring#flowers early summer#flowers late summer#walkway planting#small group plantings#sandy soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#flowers early fall#HS302#bee friendly#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Salvia
    Species:
    nemorosa
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The leaves have been used in Turkish medicine to stop bleeding by applying externally.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe and west-central Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 6 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    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:
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Lavender to violet-blue flowers with reddish-purple bracts densely packed in whorls on racemes held above the leaves June to September in flushes.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    3-4 inch long green or gray-green leaves have a wrinkled appearance and toothed margins. Aromatic when crushed.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Description:
    Square green stems
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bats
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Pollution
    Rabbits