Salvia is a broad group of flowering plants ranging from floriferous annuals that look great in containers or flower beds to tall, bushy perennials that fill out a shrub or perennial border. Most salvias that gardeners are familiar with grow less than 3 feet tall and bear spiky, colorful flowers in summer.
Salvias all grow best in full sun on fertile, well-drained soil. I like mixing and matching perennial salvias with other perennials such as evening primrose and everblooming, low-growing daylilies to produce a contrast of colors in summer. Birds, bees, and butterflies love salvia flowers. If you cut back spent blooms, the plants will even rebloom later in summer. Annuals salvias have colorful flowers that bloom their heads off all summer in containers or in beds. Keep deadheading these flowers and they just keep blooming. Here are some of my favorite salvias in the garden:
- ‘May Night’: This award-winning perennial is hardy to Zone 5 and produces unusual dark purple flower spikes that stand 30 inches above the ground. It’s a striking plant when placed next to light-colored flowers such as coreopsis.
- ‘Lady in Red‘: Another award winner, ‘Lady in Red’ features brilliant red flowers that only grow 16 inches tall. This annual keeps blooming all summer long.
- Pineapple Sage: This shrubby, late-blooming perennial is mostly grown as an annual. It has pineapple-scented leaves, produces red flowers, and grows 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. This plant will add a magnificent display of color to your late-summer and fall flower border.
- Clary Sage: This salvia is different because the color comes from the leaf bracts, not the flowers. The plants grows 20 inches tall and the colors range from white to purple. It makes a great cut flower.
- ‘Blue Angel’ Sage: This annual has amazing bright blue, tube-shaped flowers and stands 28 inches tall. It looks great when grown next to silver-foliaged flowering plants such as artemisia.