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The light, lavender-blue flowers, which attract butterflies to the garden, bloom in July, and often last throughout September. Russian sage is a particularly striking plant when grown along with white, yellow, or orange flowered perennials. Tones down bright yellow in the garden as well. Its silver-gray, deeply cut foliage and stiff stems are striking in the winter. -Santa Rosa Gardens
This vigorous, but noninvasive perennial flowers from early summer into autumn with bright red, purple, or white blossoms. The narrow blossoms are up to 4 inches long, and are held on long stalks above pointed, slightly puckered leaves. It grows to 4 feet high and wide.
This easy, fast-growing annual cascades 3 feet or more from window boxes or hanging baskets. It's a prolific bloomer, with nonstop, violet flowers approximately 1.5 inches wide blanketing the foliage. Plants bloom from May through the first frost.
This sturdy, upright perennial reaches 2 to 4 feet tall. In July and August, and through September with deadheading, it bears flowers in shades of white, coral, pink, red, lavender, and violet, depending on the cultivar. Some have a lighter or darker eye, and others have variegated leaves. Many of the cultivars are fragrant; scent is most noticeable at night.
Obedient plant is a clump-forming native perennial that grows aggressively. From midsummer to early fall, spikes of purple or pink (and sometimes white) flowers rise above sharply toothed leaves to four feet high.
Plectranthus cultivars are popular foliage plants, but some gardeners grow them for their blooms, and one of the best bloomers is 'Mona Lavender'. This cultivar has abundant lavender-purple flowers that complement the dark green leaves (with purple undersides and stems). These plants thrive in light to deep shade. -Tom Nelson, Regional Picks: Northern California, Fine Gardening issue #127
This dramatic cultivar has bright green leaves that are richly edged with cream. It bears lavender-blue blossoms in spring, and grows from 1.5 to 2 feet tall.
'Purple Pavement' has large, ruffled blossoms with a purple-red color and strong fragrance. In the fall, the blossoms give way to large, handsome hips, and the foliage turns from green to shades of yellow and maroon. This shapely shrub with dependable repeat bloom it is especially good for a late display, when the hips appear alongside fall asters and other perennials with assertive autumn colors. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121
This three-foot-tall evergreen shrub bears many tubular, blue or purple, petunia-like flowers on dark stems over a long period. Each flower lasts for just one day. It is a fast grower that may self-seed aggressively. Use in a border, container, or at waterside. Can be grown as an annual in cooler areas.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
This compact perennial forms a bush less than 1.5eet tall by 1 foot wide, with indigo stems and glossy green leaves. It bears deep, navy blue flowers on medium spikes from early summer to frost.
This native of Texas and Mexico has a woody base and can form a dwarf, evergreen shrub, 1 foot tall by 1 foot wide. It has small, leathery leaves and bears bright flowers in shades of pink, purple, or yellow from early summer to frost.
This downy, bushy, evergreen subshrub produces white or purple flowers clasped by soft purple calyces from late summer to frost. It grows 3 feet tall by 3 feet wide, and is great for the border. Salvias are some of the showiest plants for containers, annual borders, and mixed borders. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them.
This unusual tender perennial displays an electric color combination when its vibrant purple-blue flowers open from bright chartreuse calyces. Fortunately, glossy, bright green leaves hold their own until the show gets started in August (and continues until frost). It forms a tall bush, 6 feet tall by 6 feet wide, which is great for the back of the border. Salvias are some of the showiest plants for containers, annual borders, and mixed borders. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them.
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.
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