20 spectacular salvias to grow

Salvias really earn their keep in the garden. The great range of colours and forms makes them indispensable border plants, while the nectar-rich flowers are magnets for bumblebees and butterflies.

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Caring for salvias is easy, if you plant them in the right location. Shrubby and hardy herbaceous salvias can be overwintered if they’re given good drainage and as much sun as possible.

In colder spots, tuberous half-hardy salvias, like Salvia patens, will need to be mulched or lifted, like dahlias.

Finally, most woody-based and tender salvias will need to be moved to a warmer area in the colder months, or can alternatively be grown in a conservatory.

More on growing salvias:

  • How to grow salvias
  • What to grow with salvias
  • Caring for salvias – Golden Rules (video)

Discover 20 spectacular salvias to grow in the garden.

Shrubby and hardy herbaceous salvias can be overwintered if they’re given good drainage and as much sun as possible.

Salvia x jamensis ‘Sierra San Antonio’

Growing to a height of 75cm, this shrubby perennial salvia will produce a profusion of creamy yellow and peach coloured flowers. Plant ‘Sierra San Antonio’ in full sun, and provide good drainage to ensure its hardiness. Very drought-tolerant.

Height x spread: 75cm x 30cm.

Salvia ‘Love and Wishes’

A sensational hybrid, ‘Love and Wishes’ has a generous flowering period, usually from June to November. Rich red-purple flowers, deep burgundy stems and a tidy growth habit make this a great choice for containers. Will grow in partial shade or full sun.

H x S: 80cm x 50cm.

Salvia ‘Flower Child’

Salvia ‘Flower Child’ has a more compact growth form compared with other salvias. Bright pink flowers provide a striking contrast to the darker, blue-green foliage.

H x S: 60cm x 30cm.

Salvia ‘Javier’

If you want to add drama to your garden, look no further than ‘Javier’. Masses of velvety black buds open to reveal bright mauve-purple flowers, all contrasting with lime green foliage. Grows to around 65cm in height and is drought-tolerant.

H x S: 65cm x 30cm.

Salvia leucantha ‘Purple Velvet’

‘Purple Velvet’ is a woody salvia producing deep purple flowers held on towering stems, which can reach 1m in height. The calyces have a distinctive downy appearance. Not fully hardy, so ensure adequate protection is given in winter.

H x S: 1m x 30cm.

Salvia ‘Dyson’s Joy’

Salvia ‘Dyson’s Joy’ is an exciting bi-coloured hybrid, perfect for dry spots in the garden. Flowers profusely from May to November and is hardy in most areas if provided with full sun and good drainage. Can grow to 60cm in height.

H x S: 60cm x 30cm.

Salvia ‘Serenade’

An ideal choice if you need a hardy salvia. Deep purple stems bear luminescent violet blooms, extremely popular with bees. ‘Serenade’ can grow reasonably tall, to around 70cm, and can be grown in partial shade or full sun.

H x S: 70cm x 30cm.

Salvia patens ‘Cambridge Blue’

Few flowers match the cornflower-blue blooms of ‘Cambridge Blue’, which contrast beautifully with the deep green foliage. In colder areas, mulch or lift the tubers, as with dahlias. Watch out for slugs, which enjoy the young shoots.

H x S: 75cm x 50cm.

Salvia cacaliifolia

Salvia cacaliifolia is a native of Southern Mexico and Central America that produces eye-catching indigo flowers held on tall stems, which can reach 90cm in height, and has bright green foliage. Half-hardy, so provide winter protection.

H x S: 60cm x 30cm.

Salvia ‘Krystle Pink’

Another hardy salvia, ‘Krystle Pink’ has charming sugar-pink flowers, which appear from May to November. This shrubby variety will reach an ultimate height of 70cm.

H x S: 70cm x 30cm.

Salvia ‘Silas Dyson’

The striking blooms of ‘Silas Dyson’ put on a show from May to November. Port-coloured buds open to reveal crimson flowers. Drought-tolerant, plus hardy if given full sun and good drainage.

H x S: 60cm x 30cm.

Salvia ‘Jezebel’

A tall, shrubby perennial, ‘Jezebel’ produces masses of showy, bright red flowers, from May to November. Perfect for a dry spot and hardy if given full sun and good drainage.

H x S: 90cm x 30cm.

Salvia ‘Amistad’

A woody-based salvia, ‘Amistad’ has particularly large flowers and can grow to 1.2m in height. Deep purple flowers and even deeper purple calyces appear from May to November, and stand out against lush green foliage.

H x S: 1.2m x 50cm.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’

This ravishing clump-forming salvia is awash with violet-blue flowers from May to July. Cut ‘Caradonna’ back after flowering to encourage a second flush of flowers, and plant in a site with full sun and good drainage, to ensure hardiness.

H x S: 50cm x 30cm.

Salvia x sylvestris ‘Rose Queen’

Short on space? ‘Rose Queen’ is a more neat and compact variety compared to other salvias, and will grow to around 60cm in height.

H x S: 60cm x 30cm.

Salvia x sylvestris ‘Viola Klose’

‘Viola Klose’ is a stunning, fully hardy salvia with radiant violet flower spires, atop fresh green foliage. Grow it in full sun or partial shade and expect it to grow to around 50cm in height.

H x S: 50cm x 50cm.

Salvia ‘Purple Majesty’

Salvia ‘Purple Majesty’ in flower

‘Purple Majesty’ is similar to ‘Amistad’ but with more vivid flowers and a narrower habit. It’s hardy in milder areas and flowers from August to October.

H x S: 1.2m x 40cm.

Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’

Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ in flower

‘Mainacht’ bears spikes of closely packed, deep blue flowers that are held in pinkish bracts. Fully hardy and brings great presence to borders. It flowers from June to July.

H x S: 75cm x 45cm.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland’

Salvia nemerosa ‘Ostfriesland’ in flower

The purple stems of Salvia ‘Ostfriesland’ carry dense spikes of violet flowers for many weeks, from July to September. Fully hardy.

H x S: 45cm x 60cm.

Salvia ‘Mulberry Jam’

Salvia ‘Mulberry Jam’ in flower

Salvia ‘Mulberry Jam’ is a lovely variety with a compact and free-flowering habit. It bears rich, hot-pink flowers from August to November. Half-hardy, so needs winter protection.

H x S: 1.2m x 1m.

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Many thanks to Dyson’s Nurseries, who provided information on the plants in this feature.

Salvia cuttings

Salvias are easy to propagate by taking cuttings from their sideshoots, in spring and summer. When potting up the cuttings, use a free-draining compost and grow them on in a bright area out of direct sunlight. Keep the cuttings moist by regularly misting them.

Salvia leucantha

  • Attributes: Genus: Salvia Species: leucantha Family: Lamiaceae Life Cycle: Annual Perennial Recommended Propagation Strategy: Division Seed Stem Cutting Country Or Region Of Origin: Mexico and Central America Wildlife Value: Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. This plant is resistant to damage by deer. Play Value: Attractive Flowers Attracts Pollinators Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems): damage by deer
  • Whole Plant Traits: Plant Type: Annual Herbaceous Perennial Perennial Shrub Habit/Form: Arching Dense Spreading Maintenance: Low
  • Flowers: Flower Color: Purple/Lavender White Flower Inflorescence: Raceme Spike Flower Value To Gardener: Showy Flower Bloom Time: Fall Summer Flower Shape: Funnel Flower Description: Bicolor flowers with white corollas and purple calyces. The white does not appear until late summer into fall.
  • Leaves: Leaf Color: Gray/Silver Green Leaf Feel: Velvety Leaf Type: Simple Leaf Arrangement: Opposite Leaf Shape: Lanceolate Linear Hairs Present: Yes Leaf Length: 3-6 inches Leaf Description: Linear, lance-shaped, gray-green leaves (to 4” long) have a soft, velvet-like feel.
  • Stem: Stem Is Aromatic: No Stem Cross Section: Square
  • Landscape: Landscape Theme: Butterfly Garden Cottage Garden Pollinator Garden Design Feature: Border Attracts: Butterflies Hummingbirds Pollinators Resistance To Challenges: Deer Drought Heat Rabbits

The best time to plant out salvias is from late May to early June, or as soon as possible after the risk of late spring frosts have passed. This gives your plants the maximum time to establish and get their roots down before winter. If you purchase your plants late in the season, they are best kept frost free and planted out the following spring.

Many salvias are reasonably hardy if planted in a sheltered sunny position. The soil should not be over rich, and winter drainage must be good. It is advisable to take a few cuttings in late summer as insurance. If required the tender salvias can be lifted, potted and grown on under protection in a greenhouse or conservatory.

We recommend you trim back your salvias before planting to encourage sturdy growth. Salvias have few demands, but some are brittle and require support when planted out in an open or windy position. The frequent removal of old flower heads will promote lots more new flowers. Do not be tempted to trim back and tidy your established salvias until late spring, when the new growth has started and the risk of frosts has passed.

MAIN AVAILABILITY FOR SALVIAS IS MAY TO SEPTEMBER. DESPATCH IS SUBJECT TO WEATHER CONDITIONS.

Salvia Species, Mexican Bush Sage

View this plant in a garden

Category:

Shrubs

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Height:

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Spacing:

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Danger:

N/A

Bloom Color:

Medium Purple

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:

Unknown – Tell us

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From woody stem cuttings

By simple layering

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Foliage Color:

Bronze

Blue-Green

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown – Tell us

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Huntsville, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Monroeville, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Union Grove, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Green Valley, Arizona

Kingman, Arizona

Charleston, Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Mountain View, Arkansas

Albany, California

Amesti, California

Arroyo Grande, California

Burbank, California

Canoga Park, California

Cazadero, California

China Lake Acres, California

Clayton, California

Corralitos, California

Elkhorn, California

Encinitas, California

Escondido, California

Fairfield, California

Fallbrook, California(5 reports)

Fresno, California

Interlaken, California

Knights Landing, California

Lemon Grove, California

Long Beach, California(2 reports)

Los Angeles, California

Manteca, California

Merced, California

Moreno Valley, California

Mountain View Acres, California

Northridge, California(2 reports)

Oakland, California

Oakley, California

Oildale, California

Ontario, California

Pajaro, California

Palm Springs, California

Pomona, California

Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Redwood City, California

Ridgecrest, California

Sacramento, California(2 reports)

San Anselmo, California

San Diego, California(2 reports)

San Francisco, California

San Pablo, California

Santa Ana, California

Spring Valley, California

Ventura, California

Villa Park, California

Vista, California(9 reports)

Watsonville, California

Yucca Valley, California

Apopka, Florida

Belleview, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Deland, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Homestead, Florida(2 reports)

Inverness, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Jupiter, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Largo, Florida

Lithia, Florida

Longwood, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

North Fort Myers, Florida

Pensacola, Florida(2 reports)

Pompano Beach, Florida

Quincy, Florida

Riverview, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Winter Park, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Ashburn, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Douglas, Georgia

Flowery Branch, Georgia

Nicholson, Georgia

Rincon, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Indianapolis, Indiana

Derby, Kansas

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Hebron, Kentucky

Prospect, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Covington, Louisiana

Homer, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

Florence, Mississippi

Petal, Mississippi

Raymond, Mississippi

Saint Louis, Missouri

Pahrump, Nevada

Rodeo, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Averill Park, New York

Deposit, New York

Southold, New York

Charlotte, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Hillsborough, North Carolina

Holly Ridge, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina(2 reports)

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Grove City, Ohio

Milan, Ohio

Brookings, Oregon

Harbor, Oregon

Charleston, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina

Ladys Island, South Carolina

Manning, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Okatie, South Carolina

Orangeburg, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Knoxville, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Alice, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Atlanta, Texas

Aubrey, Texas

Austin, Texas

Belton, Texas

Brady, Texas

Bulverde, Texas

Cleburne, Texas

College Station, Texas

Conroe, Texas

Copperas Cove, Texas

Dallas, Texas(2 reports)

Deer Park, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Devine, Texas

Elgin, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas(3 reports)

Georgetown, Texas

Houston, Texas(3 reports)

Humble, Texas

Irving, Texas(2 reports)

Kingsland, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

Port Lavaca, Texas

Portland, Texas

Rowlett, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Wells, Texas

Zapata, Texas

Doswell, Virginia

Dutton, Virginia

Gloucester, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Manassas, Virginia

Smithfield, Virginia

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