are a staple in many gardens, with good reason. Consisting of
dozens of species and cultivars, and encompassing annuals and
perennials as well as herbs, you are certain to find one that
is perfect for your garden.
gardeners are familiar with scarlet sage, Salvia splendens.
This annual bedding plant prefers full sun, but will perform in
partial shade. Provide is with well-drained soil and consistent
moisture. While most commonly available in a deep red color, newer
cultivars give gardeners a choice of lavender, blue and white
blooms. The big selling point of scarlet sage is its long blooming
season, from late spring through the first frost.
sage, Salvia farinacea, is another of the annual salvias,
unless you're in the eastern part of the state, where it may be
winter-hardy.It reaches a height of 2 to 3 feet with blue, purple
or white flower spikes. 'Victoria Blue', 'Strata' and 'Empire
Purple' are some of the newer varieties.
sage, Salvia officinalis, is the choice for herb gardens,
with fragrant leaves that can be used fresh or dried for seasoning
meats. Many varieties are available, with foliage ranging from
gray-green to purple to variegated forms. Garden sage prefers
full sun and well-drained soil, but is rather drought tolerant
once established. It is winter-hardy through most of the state.
Pineapple sage, Salvia elegans, is a nice companion, with
a scent that lives up to its name.
bush sage, Salvia leucantha, is a tender perennial that
reaches 3 to 4 feet and is also drought tolerant. Flower spikes
are long, with purple and white blooms in late summer. Plant in
full sun as a specimen or accent plant.
hybrid perennial salvias, Salvia x superba, are the best
choice if you want perennials and live in the Piedmont or mountain
region. Many excellent varieties are available, including 'May
Night', 'East Friesland', 'Blue Queen' and 'Rose Queen'.
JC Raulston Arboretum currently displays more than 20 different
salvias. Compare their great diversity in the enormous Perennial
Border and within the adjacent annual trials area.
All photos by Robert E. Lyons