By Carl Wilson, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Agent, Horticulture
Salvia and summer go together like lemonade and hot weather. When the weather warms up, salvias shine. Grow different species as annuals, foliage specimens and perennial flowers.
Mealycup sage, S. farinacea, is widely grown as an annual in both containers and beds. Its deep, violet blue or white flowers are borne on tall spikes from midsummer to frost. The mid-green leaves and hairy white stems add ornamental value. Keep spent flowers clipped to maintain continuous bloom.
Silver sage, S. argentea, is a Colorado Plant Select plant. Its large, elephant ear leaves are striking because of a covering of long, silky-white hairs. It grows best in drier soils and will not prosper if soils are too wet. In early summer, 2 feet high, candelabra-like flower stems arise to bear white, helmet-shaped flowers. Silver sage is hardy to Zone 4.
Perennial salvias include S. x superba May Night (shown above). The superior quality of the long-blooming, indigo-blue flowers earned this plant a perennial plant of the year designation. Another worthy perennial sage is Clary sage, S. sclarea (right) with pink to cream or blue flowers. Both are hardy to Zone 5.
Photos: Judy Sedbrook.
© CSU/Denver County Extension Master Gardener 2010
888 E. Iliff Avenue, Denver, CO 80210
Date last revised: 01/05/2010