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Salvia officinalis (Common sage, Culinary sage, Purple sage)

Salvia officinalis Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais


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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Botanical Name: Salvia officinalis SAL-vee-ah oh-fi-shi-NAH-lis Common Name: Common sage, Culinary sage, Purple sage Genus: Salvia
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.
Noteworthy characteristics: Butterflies love salvia.
Care: Provide moist but well-drained soil in full sun. This species tolerates alkaline soil.
Propagation: Sow seed, or divide plants, in spring. Take cuttings spring through fall.
Problems: Powdery mildew, rust, stem rot, fungal leaf spots, whiteflies, aphids, mealybugs, spider mites.
Height 1 ft. to 3 ft.
Spread 1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit Clumps
Growth Pace Moderate Grower
Light Full Sun Only
Moisture Dry to Medium
Maintenance Low
Tolerance Deer Tolerant;Drought Tolerant;Frost Tolerant
Characteristics Attracts Butterflies; Fragrant Foliage; Showy Flowers
Bloom Time Early Summer; Summer
Foliage Color Evergreen
Flower Color Purple/ Lavender Flower
Uses Beds and Borders, Container, Ground Covers, Cut Flower, Dried Flower, Naturalizing
Style Herb Garden, Cottage Garden, Xeric Bed
Seasonal Interest Spring Interest, Summer Interest
Type Perennials

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Salvia officinalis 'Berggarten' Salvia officinalis 'Berggarten'
(Common sage, Culinary sage, Purple sage)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

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.

Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens' Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens'
(Common sage, Culinary sage, Purple sage)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

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.

Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna' Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna'
(Sage)
(5 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

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. 

Salvia pratensis Salvia pratensis
(Meadow clary)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

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.  

Salvia × superba Salvia × superba
(Hybrid sage)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

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.