A deeper color for this shady sage

Photo/Illustration: Courtesty Walters Gardens
Photo/Illustration: Courtesty Walters Gardens

'Deep Blue' Arizona sage

Salvia arizonica 'Deep Blue'
Zones: 5 to 9
Conditions: Partial to full shade
Size: 8 to 12 inches tall; 12 to 16 inches wide
Notable characteristics: Southwest native, deer resistant, rabbit resistant

What is new? Arizona sages tend to have lavender-blue summer flowers, but this cultivar, as its name states, is much darker. With greens and pastels so common in the shade, a dash of deep blue can make a big difference in a design.

What does someone who has grown it say? David Salman, horticulturist for High Country Gardens in Santa Fe, New Mexico, says, " 'Deep Blue' is a selection I made from a large blooming batch of seed grown Salvia arizonica choosing it for its deep blue flower color.

This species is different from other native western Salvia because it is more adaptable to garden conditions and grows in both sun and shade. I have been growing Salvia arizonica under a linden tree in Santa Fe for many years. It can take more shade but won't bloom as well. It is a suckering grower forming a nice spreading clump under trees and seems to be able to compete with tree roots.

Typically winters in the West are drier and except at higher elevations, the snow doesn't stay on the ground all winter. This plant will probably not be suitable for zone 5 regions that get more than 25" of precipitation annually as it is native to a more arid climate.

'Deep Blue' is a very easy care perennial that grows in a wide range of soils with the exception of clay. It should be spring planted in zones 5 and 6 to get well established before winter. It needs only some organic fertilizer in fall. It can be cut back of the initial bloom to get the plant to re-flush with flowers. I've not seen any insect pests on it other than some spring aphids on the soft new growth. It can get white fly if white fly are an outdoor pest where planted (farming regions with cotton, for example)."

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