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This species has deeply divided, fan-shaped leaves of blue-green to 3 feet across. It bears ivory blossoms on 6-foot-long panicles in summer. It may be shoot-hardy to Zone 6 with a deep layer of mulch.
In late summer, this large, clump-forming species bears huge plumes of delicate pink flower clusters, which eventually fade to silver.
This large, clump-forming grass has linear leaves with central white stripes. In late summer it bears huge, purplish-bronze flower clusters, which eventually fade to silver. It resents high fertility and shows considerable drought tolerance.
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.
Long, narrow leaves grow in rosettes near the ground. Flower stems shoot upward to 2 feet with 3-inch-wide, petunia-like, purple, blue, or scarlet flowers marked with broad veins of gold. Cultivars include 'Splash,' 'Bolero,' and the more compact-growing 'Casino'.
'Indigo Spires' sage is a vigorous hybrid prized for its 12- to 15-inch-long, twisting spikes of dark violet flowers. It is a non-stop bloomer from early summer through fall. Blooming can be further encouraged by pinching stem tips early in the growing season and deadheading the spikes once they fade. 'Indigo Spires' quickly grows to 4 feet high, and can be grown as an annual where not hardy.
'Maraschino' bush sage is a superb Salvia that is irresistible to hummingbirds and gardeners alike. Even after dying back to the ground in winter in the cooler zones, this plant comes back in full force each spring, reaching its full height and covering itself with cherry red blooms by midsummer. The flowers bloom nonstop through the first hard frost, and the leaves are sweetly fragrant. Plants do best when given afternoon shade. 'Maraschino' grows to 3 feet tall.
Throughout the summer, 'Mystic Spires Blue' produces long stalks of dark blue flowers, which continue to reward in abundance when deadheaded. Refresh tired plants in midsummer by cutting them back by half. This cultivar makes an excellent bedding or container plant.
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.
This short-lived, tender perennial shrub native to the Canary Islands off the African coast sends up 6-foot white-furred stems cloaked with long, felted, arrow-shaped leaves and topped, summer to frost, with plumes of purplish violet flowers clasped by red-tipped calyxes. It grows up to 4 feet wide.
This choice species boasts narrow, downy sage-green leaves and true sky-blue blossoms from summer to fall. It has woody stems and forms a beautiful specimen 12 inches tall by 18 inches wide.
This upright tender perennial provides rich color for annual bedding schemes where it is not hardy. Its deep red flowers are borne on 2- to 2.5- foot, open spikes from summer to autumn. Plants grow to about a foot wide and bear hairy, oval to heart-shaped leaves. Salvias are some of the showiest plants for containers, annual borders, and mixed borders. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them.
From late spring to fall, this easy-going perennial bears deep orange-red flowers on 3- to 4-foot-tall spikes that rise above a loose, 6-foot-wide mound of heart-shaped, sticky leaves. The native habitat for this brightly colored salvia is a very limited area at an altitude of 9,000 feet in the narrow range of the Mexican Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains.
This tender perennial from Peru is highly unusual for its dramatic, purple-black flowers and pistachio-green calyces. The flowers appear from late summer to early fall. The drama is heighted by its contrasting silvery leaves and stems, which are densely cloaked in woolly, white hairs. Plants grow to about 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide. This specimen looks great tumbling over the edge of a container.
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 perennial forms a shrubby upright clump 2 feet tall by 1 foot wide, with white mealy stems and glossy green leaves. It bears deep, lavender-blue flowers on tall spikes from early summer to frost. Salvias are some of the showiest plants for containers, annual borders, and mixed borders. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them.
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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