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The branches of this shrub are slightly upright, taking a softer fountain shape as they lengthen. The leaves are mottled in shades of white, pink, and green, maturing to green and cream. Stems turn a striking red.
This hybrid of S. nemorosa and S. sylvestris is a drought-tolerant perennial that lends vivid purple-blue hues to the garden from summer to early fall on 1.5- to 3-foot-tall spikes. Deadheading prolongs bloom. The spikes rise from a clump of silvery green leaves that grows to about 2 feet tall and wide.
This drought-tolerant perennial bears abundant pure blue flower spikes in early summer and until fall if spent flowers are removed promptly. It forms an erect clump 20 inches tall by 18 inches wide, with wrinkled, softly hairy leaves.
This drought-tolerant perennial bears deep violet-blue flower spikes in early summer and then sporadically if spent flowers are removed promptly. It forms an erect clump 2.5 feet tall by 1.5 feet wide, with wrinkled, soft hairy leaves.
This biennial or short-lived perennial is grown for its massive, downy-silver rosettes of foliage. In its second year, it spawns plumes of white or pinkish flowers with gray calyces in mid- to late summer. The plant has a spiky form, 3 feet tall by 2 feet wide. Locate it where the rosettes can be easily seen.
Pitcher sage is a wonderful wildflower found growing over a wide area of the Great Plains. Blooming in late summer and early fall, this perennial is admired for its sky blue flowers and remarkable xeric qualities. This salvia grows to 30 to 36 inches in height, but may be pinched back for bushier growth.
Found in the Great Basin deserts of the western U.S., Salvia dorrii is by far one of the most beautiful native Salvia species. A small, woody shrub, it comes into bloom in late spring with short spikes of showy purple bracts and blue flowers. The semievergreen foliage is distinctively silvery gray and highly aromatic. It grows to 18 inches high.
This sage is eye-catching in and out of bloom, with its attractive basal rosette of feathery foliage and showy display of dense flower spikes. The flowers come in shades of blue, white, and light pink, but the dark blue strain (S. jurisicii 'Blue') is the most desirable. Best planted in enriched garden loam, Yugoslavian cutleaf sage blooms in late spring.
This drought-tolerant perennial produces flower spikes in shades of violet, purple, or white to pink, with purple bracts. It blooms from early summer to autumn; reblooming is most reliable if spent flowers are promptly deadheaded. It has wrinkled leaves and forms an erect clump 3 feet tall by 2 feet wide. This species is most noted for its many S. sylvestris hybrids.
This drought-tolerant perennial is noted for its vivid indigo flowers along deep purple-black stems, which gives it a bicolor appearance. It blooms in early summer and then sporadically if spent flowers are deadheaded. It forms an upright clump, with the flower spikes rising to 2 feet in height; its wrinkled, softly hairy leaves form a mound 1 foot high. Plants spread 1 or 2 feet wide. These are some of the showiest plants for containers and mixed borders. Butterflies love them.
Cooks and gardeners alike are indebted to this classic, evergreen perennial for the unique, pungent flavor and aroma that its gray-green leaves produce. It forms a 2.5-foot-tall by 3-foot-wide bush with woody stems that may be trimmed back to newly emerging growth or strong stems in spring. In early to mid-summer, it sends up lavender-purple flower spikes; it has both ornamental and culinary qualities in an herb garden. It tolerates alkaline soils, but not wet winter conditions.
Cooks and gardeners alike are indebted to this evergreen perennial for the unique, pungent flavor and aroma that its gray-green leaves produce. S. 'Berggarten' is more compact than the species, forming a 2-foot tall by 3-foot wide bush with woody stems that may be trimmed back to newly emerging growth or strong stems in spring. In early to mid-summer, it sends up purple flower spikes. It boasts attractively rounded leaves and, like the species, has both ornamental and culinary qualities in an herb garden. It tolerates alkaline soils, but not wet winter conditions.
Dwarf common sage is a tightly compact form of the culinary common sage (S. officinalis), which is notable for its narrow, fragrant, gray-green leaves and lavender-blue, white-lined flowers in late spring or early summer. It is extremely xeric and does not self-seed. 'Minimus' grows to just 15 to 18 inches tall.
Cooks and gardeners alike are indebted to this evergreen perennial for the unique, pungent flavor and aroma that its gray-green leaves produce. This cultivar has leaves suffused with steely-gray purple. It forms a 1.5-foot-tall and wide bush with woody stems that may be trimmed back to newly emerging growth or strong stems in spring. In early to mid-summer, it sends up lavender-purple flower spikes; it has both ornamental and culinary qualities in an herb garden. It tolerates alkaline soils, but cannot survive wet winter conditions.
Giant-flowered purple sage has been winning over gardeners the past few years for its remarkable summer blooms and tough-as-nails demeanor. Native to the dry foothills and mountains of southern California, this sage is considered a woody shrub. It features showy, aromatic silver foliage and bicolored flower spikes with lavender-purple calyces and long, hummingbird-pollinated blue flowers. It grows from 24 to 36 inches high.
This woody-stemmed perennial produces sticky spikes of deep violet or, rarely, white to pink flowers. It blooms from early summer to autumn; reblooming is most reliable if spent flowers are deadheaded promptly. It has wrinkled leaves and forms an upright clump 3 feet tall by 1 foot wide. This salvia is most noted for its many hybirds with S. nemerosa.
A familiar native shrub, American elderberry is commonly seen along streambanks and roadsides and in moist woodlands and thickets throughout eastern North America. It has pinnate leaves with toothed leaflets and small white flowers borne in large flattened clusters in summer. Purple-black, round fruit comes next, attracting wildlife to the garden. Elderberries typically grow to about 12 feet high, but they tolerate pruning to a smaller size. Fruit is edible when cooked.
This choice specimen livens up the garden all season long with its stunning leaves of green splashed with gold. It bears flattened, creamy white flowers that mature into glossy black fruit. It grows more slowly than most elderberries. It makes an attractive specimen.
This vigorous cultivar has attractive dark green leaves with yellow margins that fade to white. In summer, it bears flattened clusters of creamy white flowers which mature in fall to glossy black fruit. Plants grow 10-20 feet tall and wide.
This choice specimen has a graceful habit with finely divided golden foliage that emerges as bronze. It is less susceptible to sun scorch than the other gold varieties. It bears creamy white flowers that mature into red fruits.
Heirloom dahlias, gladioli, and cannas offer flower colors and forms unmatched by more recent introductions
by Scott Kunst
Annuals Pep Up Perennial Borders
Use the flowers and foliage of annuals to spark summer’s show
by Elisabeth Sheldon
Experts Pick Their Favorite Plants
We asked 42 gardening experts from around the country to select their favorite plants. Now you can see the complete results of the survey.
Alliums All Season Long
Deer resistant and dynamic, these bulbs provide color from the first showers of spring to the last leaves of fall
by Stephanie Cohen
Sweetly Scented Annuals
Pique your senses all season long with colorful, long-blooming beauties
by Danielle Ferguson
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