Botanical Name: Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor’
Tricolour Sage is a spreading evergreen shrub with a compact, bushy growth habit. Over a period of 2-5 years the plant should grow to a final height of 50cm to 1 meter, with a similar width. The fragrant and wrinkled leaves are an oblong grey-green colour, variegated with cream and flushed with a red-purple blush on the youngest growth. It has light to deep blue, two lipped flowers in spring and early summer. The flowers are about 2 cm long and are held on short upright spikes.
This sage is a variety of the Common Sage, which has many culinary applications. As a culinary herb, Tricolour Sage is described as flavourful and a little sweet. The leaves may be used when picked fresh or kept and dried for later use. However, many gardeners simply treat this plant as an ornamental addition to the garden where it also functions as a bee and butterfly attractant.
Tricolour Sage prefers a full sun aspect and benefits from a somewhat sheltered position. A partially shaded border garden is an ideal position. It is not quite as hardy as some of the other sages and needs winter protection. In some regions of the world it is referred to as a semi-evergreen. Although it is a compact plant, if required it may be cut back to the base in spring.
Usually a light, moist but well drained soil type is preferred but most soils will be tolerated. As with the other sages, it is better to avoid waterlogged feet and to plant where winter rains will not create a problem. If your garden situation is not ideal, then container or indoor growth is also very suitable for this sage.
The salvia family has over 900 members with an extensive history as culinary, medicinal and ornamental plants. Ornamental salvias have become collectors items, as gardeners try to find a place in their garden for each and every one. There are salvias that will suit every type of soil and climate. More information on the Salvia genus and Common Sage (Salvia officinalis) may be found on our Common Sage page.