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Salvia sclarea ‘Vatican White’
at Digging Dog

Clary Sage

Salvia sclarea Vatican White



Thought in ancient times to perpetuate good health, an Arab proverb asks, “How shall a man die with sage in his garden?” Our Salvias are diverse perennials, shrubs or subshrubs. Many of them hail from the Mediterranean, Mexico and South America.

Drought tolerant, reliable once established, and generally pest and disease free, they combine an array of flowers and aromatic foliage in many different sizes, shapes, and hues.

Salvia sclarea ‘Vatican White’ full sun

This nobly architectural Sage has been grown in almost every botanical sanctuary throughout human history. The catalog of its uses is extensive: a flavoring for wines and liqueurs; an oil for perfumes, potpourri and incense (thus becoming known as ‘Vatican White’); while medicinally, it is reputed to ease stomach ailments and stop the aging process!

This choice white cultivar, however, is not that easy to find, and we cultivate it for its stately presence in the border. Large, gray-green leaves—lance-shaped and leathery—remain attractive throughout the season. Each stalwart stem is topped with widely branching panicles of pure white blossoms and big, brilliant, whorled white bracts, which convey a floral effect from May to September.

Combined with the cool hues of Nepeta ‘Pool Bank’ and Euphorbia ‘Red Wing’s warmth, ‘Vatican White’ adds a bright element to an arresting composition. Requiring little water or attention, this vigorous species asks only for a superbly drained site.

Blooms June–July.

Size: 2-1/2' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Salvia sclarea ‘Vatican White’ (P-1136)
Each $7.75
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Other selections in this genus

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Our favorite plant this week: We love Astrantia major 'Lars' for it's ornate, richly colored blooms, that look great in an arrangement, either fresh or dried. Celebrating bright and cheerful colors, crowns of maroon bracts deliver gorgeous cherry red floral mounds with lighter pink centers. ‘Lars’s blooms loll high above broad deep green lobed leaves on slender stems. This energetic Danish cultivar looks a bit like an overly exuberant Italian Flat Parsley and makes an unparalleled up-front cottage-style filler that is easy to care for.

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