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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.
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 short-lived perennial from the Himalayas has scented, hairy leaves and forms a small shrub 2 feet tall by 2 feet wide. It bears 1.5-inch-long purplish-blue flowers with white lips (called bee lines) from early to late summer. The flowers are clasped by rusty colored calyxes that accent color of the blooms. Salvias are some of the showiest plants for containers, annual borders, and mixed borders. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them.
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.
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.
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.
West Texas cobalt sage is a marvelously distinct species that can be enjoyed by gardeners farther north, as long as they purchase the west Texas form, which is quite cold-hardy. This salvia has rigid stems with narrow, pungent leaves and resembles a bright green, upright grass for much of the growing season. In early fall, cobalt blue flowers burst open almost overnight and are a big draw for hummingbirds. Thanks to its deep roots, this wildflower is extremely xeric. West Texas cobalt sage grows to 4 feet tall.
This prolific cultivar has dark green foliage and bears nodding blue flowers from mauve buds. It grows to a compact height of 18 inches tall. It may become invasive and difficult to eradicate once established.
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