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Salvia (Sage)
at Digging Dog

Including Salvia microphylla, Salvia nemorosa, Salvia pratensis, Salvia guaranitica, and Salvia involucrata

Salvia

Sage

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.

View a slideshow of plant images from this genus


Salvia x ‘Allen Chickering’  full sun  new plant  drought tolerant

Undaunted by deer and drought, this Salvia leucophylla and Salvia clevelandii progeny is a California native originating at Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens. Brew a delicious tea from its spicy scented, graygreen leaves and delight in the hummingbirds, bees and butterflies drawn to its abundance of tubular deep lavender blooms that comprise evenly spaced, ball-like clusters. With a dense shrubby profile, this good-looking reliable Sage will grow quickly in a sunny well-drained locale.

Blooms June–August.

Size: 3' high x 3'–4' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia x ‘Allen Chickering’ (P-0336)
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Salvia argentea  full sun
Salvia argentea

This bold Mediterranean native serves up a remarkable portion of eye catching appeal on its almost platter-sized, soft and silky white, felted foliage. Emerging in a dramatic basal clump, new leaves are crinkled, but flatten as they grow, while their margins retain a sinuous wave. A spectacular showing of dramatic 2 to 3 ft. candelabralike stems are decorated in small, white, hooded flowers, each with a slight tinge of pink and a subtle grayish calyx.

After the bloom, leaves transmute to a pale gray-green, and when cooler weather returns, they turn silvery once again. Positively show-stopping along a dry wall, or in the herb garden with Lavender and Rosmarinus ‘Maltese White’, Salvia argentea demands well drained soil, tolerates drought, and will live longer if spent flower stalks are attentively removed.

Blooms June–July.

Size: 5' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia argentea (p-0678)
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Salvia arizonica  full sun  partial shade
Arizona Sage
Salvia arizonica

A loose mound of luxuriant verdant foliage and trailing stems, this native of southern Arizona, Texas and northern Mexico thrives in the partial shade of small trees and shrubs. With a multitude of small, bright purple flowers held by smoky violet calyxes and a refreshing minty scent, Arizona Sage makes a delightful understory for Euphorbia griffithii ‘Great Dixter’.

Blooms June–July & again in September.

Size: 18" high x 2' & spreading; hardy to zone 7.

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Salvia arizonica (p-0771)
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Salvia azurea ‘Nekan’  full sun
Pitcher Sage
Salvia azurea Nekan

Highly esteemed for its densely packed whorls of true sky blue flowers, this U.S. native assures a scene stealing, late season hurrah that beckons both butterflies and gardeners. Numerous slender stems stand tall while narrow, linear gray-green leaves are covered in a downy softness. Exhibiting a vigorous drought, heat and cold tolerant nature, this stalwart beauty deserves a prime position in more gardens.

Blooms July–September.

Size: 3'–4' high x 2'–3' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Salvia azurea ‘Nekan’ (P-0162)
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Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’  full sun

A bee’s bliss, a gardener’s good friend, and very welcome indeed is this Salvia’s ability to grow in difficult, dry conditions. An excellent ground cover, ‘Bee’s Bliss’ bears abundant clusters of lavender-colored blossoms, which embellish its bright, dense mat of slender-leafed, aromatic, gray-green foliage. It willingly spills over a wall, softening hard edges, and maintains a tidy look without much care.

Blooms June–August.

Size: 12" high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’ (p-0802)
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Salvia brandegeei ‘Pacific Blue’  full sun
Santa Rosa Island Sage
Salvia brandegeei Pacific Blue

The species hails from California’s Channel Islands, while the vigorous cultivar comes from a selection made at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden. Possessing a versatile tough-as nails persona, long-lived ‘Pacific Blue’ is an upright, mutistemmed shrubby Salvia defined by arched branches and winsome, dark green slender leaves with pebbled surfaces, felted white undersides and a spicy scent. Abundant tiered whorls of dark lavender-tinged blue blooms adorn this fast growing, hummingbird minion that can handle extreme drought, summer water and an array of soils.

Blooms April – June.

Size: 3'–4' high x 4'–6' wide; hardy to zone 8.


Salvia brandegeei ‘Pacific Blue’ (P-1539)
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Salvia cacaliaefolia  full sun
Guatemalan Blue Vine Sage
Salvia cacaliaefolia

Touted some 70 years ago by British garden writer William Robinson, this exceptional, long blooming Salvia offers fuzzy gentian-blue flowers. Its small but abundant, vividly colored blooms garnish terminal racemes above a many stemmed emerald-green foundation of thick triangular leaves.

Indigenous to the mountainous regions of southern Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, Salvia cacaliaefolia can be found growing as high as 8000 ft., its slow-to-spread, creeping roots thriving with well drained soil, regular water and high shade. A harbinger of cool, late season color, it can be positioned right up front next to Geum ‘Starker’s Magnificum’.

Blooms July–October.

Size: 2'–3' high x 3'–4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia cacaliaefolia (P-1322)
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Salvia chiapensis  full sun  partial shade
Chiapas Sage

A high-elevation, cloud forest denizen of Chiapas, Mexico, this tender Salvia champions dark green varnished leaves and bright fuchsia-colored blossoms. Widely spaced whorls house grape-hued calyxes and flashy flowers above an airy evergreen foundation of upright stems and deeply veined elliptical leaves, which are attached by long reddish petioles. Tantalizing in a container, hanging basket or the perennial bed, Chiapas Sage detests poor drainage, prefers moderate water, needs a protected winter spot and a pruning to maintain its bushy shape.

Blooms July – October.

Size: 2'–3' high x 3'–4' wide. Zone 8/9.

Salvia chiapensis (P-1538)
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Salvia clevelandii ‘Whirly Blue’  full sun  drought tolerant
Salvia clevelandii Whirly Blue

Native to southern California’s chaparral country and distinctive amongst the shrubby sages for its large deeper colored blossoms, you can usually smell this extremely long blooming, drought tolerant cultivar before it comes into view. The pleasantly sweet and woody aroma is a grace note to its handsome habit. Evergreen, narrow linear leaves have a pewter green tone, punctuated by a springtime flash of bright green stems. Excellent in dried arrangements, ‘Whirly Blue’s rich violet flower whorls, enhanced with dusky mulberry-colored calyxes, are favored by hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. Prune regularly to ensure an attractive appearance.

Blooms June – October.

Size: 4-1/2' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia clevelandii ‘Whirly Blue’ (P-1502)
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Salvia confertiflora  full sun
Salvia confertiflora

With velvety, reddish purple stems, smooth, bright green new foliage that matures to a textured dark green, and fuzzy, vermilion flowers, this Brazilian native is lush and tantalizing. Wonderful cut or dried, the 6 to 10 in. long flower spikes make a bold statement in the fall border with Asters and grasses, and combine beautifully with mounding perennials.

Blooms September–November.

Size: 5' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia confertiflora (p-0214)
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Salvia corrugata  full sun
Salvia corrugata

Widely distributed in the Andes from southern Columbia to Peru, Salvia corrugata features deeply puckered, dark green foliage. While newly emerging leaves have downy, copper-colored undersides, each mature lance-shaped leaf has a sheen on top and contrasting grayish tomentose below. Light gray-green, fuzzy stems are crowned with showy racemes of deep blue flowers held by violet calyxes. This distinctive, upright Salvia makes a great specimen for the mixed border.

Blooms August–October.

Size: 3-1/2'–5' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia corrugata (P-0965)
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Salvia ‘El Cielo Blue’  full sun  partial shade
Blue Sky Sage
Salvia  El Cielo Blue

Selected by Yucca Do Nursery, the interesting foliage of this upright Mexican native makes it one of our favorite Sages. Broad, tapered leaves have an unusual bluish hue on top, while undersides turn purple as they mature. Contrast this with the vivid green of the new growth, and you’re in for quite a foliar show. Well loved by hummingbirds, the small, iridescent, deep purple flowers display a splash of white in their throats.

Blooms late August–October.

Size: 4' high x 2' wide. Zone 8/9.

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Salvia ‘El Cielo Blue’ (P-0866)
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Salvia ‘Eveline’  full sun

Acclaimed garden designer, Piet Oudolf selected this marvelous Salvia pratensis hybrid for its tidy compact habit and unusual two-toned prolific blooms. Tall upright sturdy branched spires parade a multitude of carmine-colored buds and pink flowers nestled in dark purple calyxes. Light green aromatic leaves—ovate, wrinkled and sporting crenate margins—weave a comely basal clump that wards off deer, tantalizes the hummingbirds, requires good air circulation and appreciates a trim after blooming to promote new growth. (uspp#14,905)

Blooms May–July.

Size: 20"–2' high x 15"–18" wide; hardy to zone 4.

Salvia ‘Eveline’ (P-1772)
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Salvia forsskaolii  full sun  partial shade
Salvia forsskaolii

The large, almost triangular leaves of this Bulgarian native make a striking base for the long spires of white-streaked, violet-blue blooms. Robust flower stems arch gracefully above the basal foliage, which lies close to the ground. Accent the beautiful foliage and position midborder in well drained soils with fine textured perennials and grasses like Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’.

Blooms June–September.

Size: 2' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 6.

Salvia forsskaolii (p-0215)
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Salvia greggii ‘Lowry’s Peach’  full sun
Salvia greggii Lowry’s Peach

And what a peach it is! Hailing from the Mexican hills above Ciudad Victoria, this shrubby, evergreen Salvia displays saturated coral flowers with buttery throats, nearly nonstop from the last frost to the first. Held by wine-tinged stems, the appealing small, glossy green foliage and cocoa-tinted calyxes offer a contrasting foil for the vividly colored blooms. Drought tolerant ‘Lowry’s Peach’ is prized by hummingbirds, and promises a lively show en masse in any sunny border. Regular pruning ensures continued bloom and a pleasing form.

Blooms May – October.

Size: 2-1/2' high x 2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia greggii ‘Lowry’s Peach’ (p-1139)
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Salvia greggii ‘Wild Thing’  full sun
Salvia greggii Wild Thing

Plant aficionado Tom Peace helped establish this lavishly hued, west Texan’s notoriety. Quick to grow, full of vigor and more tolerant of cold, damp winters than most other greggii species, ‘Wild Thing’s leafy, good-looking form presents lustrous green foliage and droves of vivid cherry-pink flowers with contrasting wine-colored calyxes. Plant next to Agastache ‘Apricot Sunrise’ and Verbascum ‘Sixteen Candles’ for a wild, long blooming vignette.

Blooms June–September.

Size: 3' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 6.

Salvia greggii ‘Wild Thing’ (P-1224)
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Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’  full sun  partial shade
Black and Blue Guarani Sage
Salvia guaranitica Black and Blue

An absolute favorite of our hummingbirds, this eye catching Salvia offers abundant, deep cobalt blue, tubular blooms and nearly black calyxes on 15 in. terminal flowering spikes all summer long. More compact than many of the guaranitica species, ‘Black and Blue’ provides complementary color for the shining blooms of Crocosmia ‘Star of the East’.

Blooms mid-July–October.

Size: 3-1/2' high x 3' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ (P-0772)
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Salvia guaranitica ‘Blue Ensign’  full sun  partial shade
Salvia guaranitica Blue Ensign

Pennantlike spikes of large, Cambridge blue, tubular flowers and bright green calyxes proudly rise above the spade-shaped leaves, which cloak ‘Blue Ensign’s upright, but freely branching stance. A drift mid-border makes a compelling statement with the yellow-orange coloring of Euphorbia ‘Fern Cottage’s fall foliage nearby.

Blooms mid-July–October.

Size: 3-1/2'–4' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Blue Ensign’ (p-1138)
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Salvia holwayi  full sun  partial shade
Salvia holwayi

Hailing from the cool highlands of Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico, this vigorous Salvia volunteers hundreds of brilliant cardinal red, whorled blossoms in late fall. A yellow-green cast infuses young growth while mature leaves are darker green. Marked by light green grooves, the numerous, wine-infused lax stems become obscured by prominently veined triangular leaves, which taper to pronounced narrow tips.

Paying homage to Edward Holway, an American mycologist and plant collector who traveled to Mexico in the early 1900s, Salvia holwayi blooms all winter long in warmer areas, gracing its lush and bushy good-sized mass with much appreciated color and hummingbird food.

Grateful for a well drained, humus rich spot and a hard cut after blooming, it creates a verdant backdrop for the mixed border, an excellent conservatory plant in colder climates and a splendid long lasting cut flower when they’re aren’t many others around.

Blooms October–December.

Size: 4' high x 4'–6' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia holwayi (p-1345)
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Salvia involucrata ‘Hidalgo’  full sun
Roseleaf Sage

Large and rounded, dusky magenta buds cluster at stem tips and open into brilliant pink, fuzzy tubular flowers toned down by deep purple calyxes. Handsome, dark green nearly heart-shaped leaves are arranged in pairs and complement red petioles on strong straight stalks.

Revered by hummingbirds, this bushy Salvia makes a perfect addition to the meadow garden, and along with Salvia ‘Nekan’ and Aster ‘Ochtendgloren’ augments a late season blend of blue and pink.

Blooms August–mid-October.

Size: 4' high x 3' wide. Zone 8/9.

Salvia involucrata ‘Hidalgo’ (p-0296)
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Salvia involucrata ‘Mulberry Jam’  full sun
Mulberry Jam Roseleaf Sage

A selection from Betsy Clebsch’s garden, ‘Mulberry Jam’ is smaller and more upright than the species. Large, rounded, dusky magenta buds open into vivid, fuzzy pink, tubular flowers nicely toned down by deep purple calyxes. Revered by hummingbirds, this bushlike Salvia makes a perfect addition to the meadow garden with Salvia ‘Nekan’ and Aster ‘Ochtendgloren’ for a blend of late season pinks.

Blooms June–mid-October.

Size: 4' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia involucrata ‘Mulberry Jam’ (p-0713)
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Salvia x jamensis ‘Pat Vlasto’  full sun
Pat Vlasto Autumn Sage

One of the toughest cultivars of the species, this radiant long blooming Sage can handle a variety of growing conditions. Against a fine textured background of small, glossy green leaves, the watermelon-colored flowers are offset by red-hued stems and sable-colored calyxes. For echoes of warm color, pair ‘Pat Vlasto’ with Phygelius ‘African Queen’.

Blooms June–mid-October.

Size: 3' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia x jamensis ‘Pat Vlasto’ (P-1107)
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Salvia leucantha x elegans ‘Anthony Parker’  full sun
Anthony Parker Bush Sage
Salvia leucantha x elegans Anthony Parker

Frances Parker of South Carolina discovered this unlikely cross and named it for her grandson. Blessed with attributes from both parents, ‘Anthony Parker’ features extraordinary, nearly 2 ft. long spires of midnight purple-black, leucantha-like flowers topping attractive leaves and young downy white stems. The broad-based, grayish green foliage tapers to a point, and displays a venation similar to Salvia elegans.

Gracing an herbaceous border or even an arrangement, this robust Salvia’s dark flowers will set Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ aglow.

Blooms August–October.

Size: 3'–4' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia leucantha x elegans ‘Anthony Parker’ (p-1140)
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Salvia melissodora (Yucca Do Form)  full sun
Grape-scented Sage

The name of this charming Sage, long used by the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico for medicinal purposes, comes from the Greek words meaning fragrant and honeybee. Bees, moths, butterflies and hummingbirds alike are attracted to the sumptuous, nectar-laden panicles of pleasantly scented, periwinkle flowers and fuzzy, sable-colored calyxes.

Elegant leaves with downy silver undersides embellish its graceful upright presence.

Blooms May–October.

Size: 5'–6' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia melissodora (Yucca Do Form) (P-0774)
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Salvia mexicana ‘Compton’s Form’  full sun
Salvia mexicana Compton’s Form

Lavish dark buds are a prelude to the striking compact whorls of fuzzy purple flowers and black calyxes displayed on 18 in. spikes. ‘Compton’s Form’ has distinctive, deep green polished foliage, a bit finer textured than that of ‘Limelight’, and an erect, bushy habit.

Blooms August – early November.

Size: 5' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia mexicana ‘Compton’s Form’ (P-0711)
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Salvia mexicana ‘Limelight’  full sun
Salvia mexicana Limelight Salvia mexicana Limelight

Whorls of densely packed, chartreuse terminal buds on strong upright stems provide exciting contrast to the lush green color of ‘Limelight’s foliage. In flower, this cultivar is sure to take center stage as deep bluish purple blooms peek out from the vibrant yellow-green calyxes. Cut back each season to encourage new growth at the base and to maintain a pleasing shape.

Blooms August–early November.

Size: 6' high x 6' wide; hardy to zone 8.


Salvia mexicana ‘Limelight’ (p-0608)
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Salvia microphylla  full sun  new plant
Salvia microphylla

Naming this natty Salvia "small leaves" is like identifying a Ferrari by its tires. The long blooming scarlet-red flowers and thick wine-red stems, which are inscribed with a notable silver-white stripe running down each side, provide dynamic counterpoints to pleasantly scented, lustrous green serrated leaves. Indigenous to southeastern Arizona and Mexico's mountainous regions, where it is known as "myrtle of the mountain", our cutting propagated strain forges a dense, shrubby evergreen patch. The proud parent of many popular cultivars, its steadfast good looks promise a lot of mileage.

Blooms July–October.

Size: 3' high x 3' wide. Zone 8/9.

Salvia microphylla (p-0129)
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Salvia microphylla ‘Dennis’ Pink’  full sun
Salvia microphylla Dennis’ Pink

Touted as one of the best pink-colored microphyllas, these good-sized flowers are not shy in the least. With a full-bodied fuchsia pink hue, the freely borne blooms feature dark charcoal-tinged calyxes, hooded upper petals and prominent lower lips illuminated by singular white splotches. Peaking in spring, continuing through summer and ending with an autumn grand finale, the exuberant long lasting display energizes a bushy aromatic mass of wiry stems and green blunt-tipped, finely toothed leaves. This Salvia remains relatively root-hardy through chilly winters.

Blooms May – October.

Size: 3'–4' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia microphylla ‘Dennis’ Pink’ (P-1537)
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Salvia microphylla x greggii ‘Red Velvet’  full sun  partial shade
Salvia microphylla x greggii Red Velvet

Big, brilliant and red, these lavishly colored flowers are double the size of any other microphylla or greggii. Blooming spikes and calyxes the color of dark chocolate dramatically present the plush-as-velvet showing, while a handsome, full bush of glossy, somewhat rounded rich green foliage supports it.

Introduced by Texas’s Yucca-Do Nursery and Scott Ogden, ‘Red Velvet’ thrives in warm, dry climates, can endure humidity and assures a vivacious presence, especially when partnered with Penstemon Chiapas sp.

Blooms June–October.

Size: 4' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Salvia microphylla x greggii ‘Red Velvet’ (p-1359)
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Salvia microphylla ‘Hoja Grande’  full sun  partial shade

Painted in pretty lipstick shades of cherry-red and magenta, slender whorled flower spikes festoon this shrubby evergreen Salvia. Warm, rosy brown calyxes and attractive ripple-edged green leaves heighten the showy long lasting blooms.

Introduced by Yucca-Do Nursery, the amenable ‘Hoja Grande’ hails from Mexico’s Nuevo Leon, and in our garden jazzes up neighboring Phlomis russeliana, while easily tolerating dry conditions whether the weather’s hot or cool.

Blooms May–June & September–October.

Size: 3'–4' high x 3'–4' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Salvia microphylla ‘Hoja Grande’ (P-1421)
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Salvia microphylla ‘San Carlos Festival’  full sun
Salvia microphylla San Carlos Festival

This captivating Salvia celebrates a festival of color! Splashed with highly saturated magentas and rich ruby throats, the dazzling flowers unfurl from sable-colored calyxes by the hundreds, beginning in spring and extending until fall.

Discovered in Tamaulipas, Mexico, ‘San Carlos Festival’ is well-loved for its extraordinary floral abundance and its attractive compact form, each medium green leaf emphasizing a textured surface, serrated undulating margins and a somewhat triangular shape that broadcasts bronzy tones come winter.

Blooms May–November.

Size: 2' high x 2-1/2'–3' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Salvia microphylla ‘San Carlos Festival’ (p-1361)
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Salvia microphylla ‘Wild Watermelon’  full sun  partial shade
Salvia microphylla Wild Watermelon

“Exuberant” best describes the way extra large, deep watermelon-pink flowers dress up this robust, relatively cold resistant Salvia.

Collected by Don Mahoney at 7000 ft. on Mexico’s Mt. Cerro Potosi, ‘Wild Watermelon’ not only boasts boisterously colored blooms with white-marked throats but neat good-looking foliage and a hardy crown that spreads by layering itself. Most abundant in spring and fall and only sporadically over the summer, its high-spirited floral hues invite a glance either spotlighted in a favorite pot, or backed by white blooming Cistus in the mixed border.

Blooms May–June & again in September–October.

Size: 3'–4' high x 4' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia microphylla ‘Wild Watermelon’ (p-1360)
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Salvia nemorosa ‘Amethyst’  full sun
Salvia nemorosa Amethyst

With the violet-blue tones of the blossoms, and the similar but rosier shades of the enduring calyxes and prominent streaks that mark the leafy upright flower stems, this richly colored Salvia is a jewel. With wavy-edged foliage, this long bloomer exhibits a handsome fullness. Softening the edge of our pathway in the company of Origanum ‘Ed Carmine’, a violet theme is created, while the addition of Kniphofia ‘Border Ballet’ adds a lively splash of melon to the picture.

Blooms early June–September.

Size: 2-1/2' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Amethyst’ (p-0813)
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Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’  full sun
Salvia nemorosa Caradonna

Unique, blackish magenta tones darken the lustrous flower stems of this superb new cultivar. Set against these upright and lengthy, dark stalks, the violet blossoms appear dazzling, and will bloom well into fall with attentive dead-heading.

A chance seedling found in a German nursery, ‘Caradonna’s tidy base of textured green foliage and plum-hued blooms impart harmonious accents to Sedum ‘Matrona’s smoky colors.

Blooms June–early October.

Size: 2'–2-1/2' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ (p-1133)
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Salvia nemorosa ‘Negrito’  full sun

Studded with radiant bluish violet flowers, crowded spires rise above a low growing shapely bed of textured green crimple-edged leaves. Persistent darker purple calyxes festoon the long lasting floral splendor, extending interest well after the tubular petals are spent. A compelling European cultivar that is hard to find in this country, ‘Negrito’ makes an ideal trouble free companion for the rosy hues of Origanum ‘Lizzie’s Hybrid #2’ and Sedum ‘Red Cauli’.

Blooms June–early October.

Size: 2'–2-1/2' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Negrito’ (P-1771)
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Salvia nemorosa ‘Rosenwein’  full sun
Salvia nemorosa Rosenwein

German for ‘Rose Wine’, let this Salvia bathe your garden with bright rose-hued flowers. Adorning a low mound of tidy green foliage, the upright leafy spikes are offset by prominent, dark earthy pink calyxes and buds of the same shade. Position in the front of the border with Geranium ‘Mavis Simpson’ and Kniphofia ‘Safranvogel’ for an intoxicating display.

Blooms June–August.

Size: 2' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Rosenwein’ (p-0966)
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Salvia nemorosa ‘Sensation Rose’  full sun

We have Dutch nurseryman, Nico Rijnbeek to thank for this exciting new small-statured Salvia. A handsome bed of scalloped-edged, quilted green leaves hosts lovely clear pink flowers with darker calyxes on short branching spires. Its profuse long lasting display, maintained by regular deadheading, and diminutive size make it just right in a container, along a path or anywhere space is limited. (pp#18230)

Blooms May – August.

Size: 15" high x 15" wide; hardy to zone 4.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Sensation Rose’ (P-1553)
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Salvia nubicola  full sun
Himalayan Yellow Sage
Salvia nubicola

“Nubicola” means “dweller among the clouds,” and the name proclaims its hardiness. The robust, erect stems of this bushy Himalayan native support a wealth of yellow-flowered spires, each bloom warmed by tiny maroon spots and held by bright green calyxes, along with a plenitude of large, arrow-shaped leaves. For an engaging late summer vignette, highlight its vigor by planting with Aster ‘Lady in Black’, Nepeta parnassica and Aconitum ‘Arendsii’.

Blooms mid-August – October.

Size: 4'–5' high x 3-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Salvia nubicola (p-0865)
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Salvia ‘Phyllis’ Fancy’  full sun  partial shade
Salvia  Phyllis’ Fancy

A stylish offspring of Salvia leucantha and possibly Salvia chiapensis, this chance seedling, named for Phyllis Norris, originated at the U.C. Santa Cruz Arboretum. It resembles Salvia ‘Waverly’, though its larger well-groomed frame is more hardy, its green leaves less coriaceous and its bicolored blooms sport a decidedly bluer cast. Attention-grabbing foot long spires are embellished with fuzzy light lavender flowers, each nestled in a bicolored calyx, which are dark inky blue on top and green below.

‘Phyllis’ Fancy’ favors moderate water, good drainage and survives temperatures to 8°, but will die back to its roots.

Blooms July – August

Size: 18"–2' high x 2' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia ‘Phyllis’ Fancy’ (P-1714)
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Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’  full sun  drought tolerant

Hailed as one of the most drought tolerant plants in the trade, this tough-as-nails evergreen Salvia can handle a California summer without water, sandy or clay soil in either coastal, mountainous or desert gardens, and sports good looks to boot. Masses of sparkling blue-violet flowers populate spaced ball-shaped clusters atop a rounded, somewhat woody frame with aromatic ashy green leaves.

A chance seedling of Salvia clevelandii and Salvia leucophylla selected by Las Palitas Nursery owner Bert Wilson, ‘Pozo Blue’ makes a handsome addition to fresh or dried arrangements, as well as rocky banks and dry borders, while attracting butterflies, California Quail, hummingbirds, and plant enthusiasts. It can handle a California summer without water and sandy or clay soil in either coastal, mountainous or desert gardens.

Blooms June – October.

Size: 5' high x 5' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’ (P-1585)
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Salvia pratensis ‘Swan Lake’  full sun

After years of breeding, Jelitto Seeds has just recently introduced this pure white Salvia. Rich green foliage with a wrinkled texture and ruffled margins forms a lush, leafy mound beneath the upstanding snowy spikes. Each delicate, luminous flower nestles in a calyx on a tiny pedestal of small green bracts.

Showy ‘Swan Lake’s species name translates as “growing in meadows,” referring to its sunny native European haunts. A natural for relaxed garden settings amid grasses, it easily accepts varied conditions, especially cold temperatures.

Blooms June–August.

Size: 20" high x 12" wide. Zone 3/4.

Salvia pratensis ‘Swan Lake’ (p-1283)
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Salvia pratensis ‘Sweet Esmeralda’  full sun
Salvia pratensis Sweet Esmeralda

Arising from Jelitto’s Meadow Ballet Series, this steadfast 2008 introduction features erect, tall spires dressed in pretty dark pink hooded flowers with rosy carmine tints on extended lower lips. Long-petioled, green crinkled leaves forge a handsome thick leafy mound, anchoring the vividly colored summer-long display that entices bees and doesn’t ask for much—only sunshine, deadheading and average garden soil.

Blooms June – August.

Size: 20" high x 12" wide. Zone 3/4.

Salvia pratensis ‘Sweet Esmeralda’ (P-1586)
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Salvia pratensis ‘Twilight Serenade’  full sun

Back in 2005, Jelitto first introduced the Meadow Ballet Blend, an easy-to-grow hardy group of Meadow Clary Sages renowned for their richly hued, perfect-for-cutting floral spikes that unfurl within a year of being planted. ‘Twilight Serenade’ is the most recent individual color selection, boasting distinctively hooded, lavish blue-violet blossoms on upright 20 in. green stems above an attractive green rosette of ruffly toothed leaves.

Though the species is a sun-loving, European meadow denizen, this long blooming cultivar will look fantastic right up front in your garden accompanied by Bouteloua curtipendula and Elymus ‘Canyon Prince’.

Blooms June – August.

Size: 20" high x 12" wide. Zone 3/4.

Salvia pratensis ‘Twilight Serenade’ (P-1620)
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Salvia przewalskii  full sun  partial shade

Handsome troops of sturdy sable-colored branching stems curve up and out, delivering plump reddish violet blooms with white stamens and fuzzy mahogany calyxes in ornate widely spaced whorls. Described by long petioles and delineated veins on the flip sides, extremely large, bright green leaves compile a lush looking basal mound.

Populating Chinese rocky slopes, stream banks and forest margins, this Salvia is legendary for its medicinal attributes, prefers well-drained soil and is striking alongside Euphorbia longifolia’s chartreuse blooms.

Blooms July – August

Size: 18"–2' high x 2' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia przewalskii (P-0661)
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Salvia ‘Purple Majesty’  full sun  partial shade

A mainstay at the back of the border, this regal Salvia is a cross between Salvia guaranitica and Salvia gesneraeflora. Rising above the textured mint-green leaves, spikes of vibrant violet-blue blooms add glorious color all summer until frost, and are adored by hummingbirds everywhere. With its upright stance and cool shades, ‘Purple Majesty’ complements the warmer hues of Helianthus angustifolius (Pale Form) for a splendid autumn union.

Blooms June–early November.

Size: 5'–6' high x 3' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia ‘Purple Majesty’ (P-0967)
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Salvia reptans  full sun

Originally from the high mountains in Mexico, this plant comes to us from Jim Lockman of Oakland, California. It has a soft character with delicate blue flowers and fine textured, light green, spidery leaves, which grow on basal stems. You can cut it back for a second bloom before it disappears in winter. Salvia reptans is perfect in drifts, as an accent in the rockery, or contrasted with Rudbeckia ‘Swiss Gold’.

Blooms August–September.

Size: 15" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Salvia reptans (p-0131)
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Salvia reptans West Texas Form  full sun
Cobalt Sage
Salvia reptans West Texas Form

The richest shade of cobalt blue saturates these late blooming flowers as they ride a sea of tall stems clad in needlelike green leaves. Discovered in the Davis Mountains at 4000 ft. by Pat McNeal’s keen eye and closely related to Salvia pitcheri, this no-fuss Texas beauty is uniquely upright, while the species is lax. West Texas Form endures drought, poor rocky soil and humidity. An association with Gaura ‘Summer Breeze’ makes for a carefree look.

Blooms mid-August – September.

Size: 3' high x 3' wide. Zone 6/7.

Salvia reptans West Texas Form (P-1587)
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Salvia sclarea ‘Vatican White’  full sun
Clary Sage
Salvia sclarea Vatican White

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)
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Salvia semiatrata  full sun
Salvia semiatrata

Intricate bicolored flowers, a lovely blend of lilac-colored upper petals and midnight purple lower lips, are held by muted pink calyxes against a foil of handsome, dark green, textured foliage. Perfect for the rocky border or atop a wall where its detail can be enjoyed at eye level, this small-leafed hardy Mexican native combines well with Phygelius and Geranium ‘Buxton’s Variety’ and its long lasting blooms make an excellent addition to any flower arrangement.

Blooms June–October.

Size: 3' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia semiatrata (P-0712)
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Salvia ‘Silke’s Dream’  full sun
Salvia  Silke’s Dream

Discovered by Art Petty of Austin, Texas, this dream Salvia cross inherits the best qualities of both its parents. Like darcyi, it features fantastically colored blooms, and like microphylla, its good-looking stance is short and compact.

Summer brings plentiful, 15 in. spikes of warm-hued, dark orange-red flowers and by fall, the round-tipped, somewhat reflective green foliage is completely blanketed by them. Renown for an easy going, stalwart and floriferous nature, ‘Silke’s Dream’ tantalizes us with its passionate display, while counterposing Salvia corrugata’s deep blue spires.

Blooms July–October.

Size: 2' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Salvia ‘Silke’s Dream’ (p-1358)
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Salvia sinaloensis  full sun
Sinaloa Blue Sage
Salvia sinaloensis

Indigenous to the Mexican province Sinaloa, this compact bushy Salvia displays tantalizing color. Low growing stems initially trail on the ground, concealed by dark green, textured leaves infused with plum-purple hues, and bronze-tinted new growth. Well above the narrow foliage, deep blue, airy, upright spikes feature spaced whorls of sable calyxes and vivid flowers marked with two subtle white lines on each lower lip.

A charmer for the border’s edge, a stone wall or the rock garden, Salvia sinaloensis spreads by underground rhizomes, disappears in the winter, and appreciates well drained soil.

Blooms June–October.

Size: 6"–10" high x 15"–18" wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia sinaloensis (p-1134)
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Salvia uliginosa  full sun  partial shade  new plant
Bog Sage

Uliginosa means "of the marshes", in this case those between the forests of southern Brazil and Argentina's fertile pampas. Eye-catching white flecked azure blue flowers soar atop slender branching stems lined with narrow lance-shaped green leaves. A quick-to-establish colonizing perennial, Bog Sage presents an airy, strong and erect habit that doesn't need staking and flourishes in moist niches along streams or ponds and in ordinary garden conditions, even tolerating heavy or dry soil. For a spectacular effect, plant it alongside Anemone 'Andrea Atkinson'.

Blooms August–October.

Size: 4'–5' high x 15" & spreading; hardy to zone 6.

Salvia uliginosa (P-0997)
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Salvia ‘Ultra Violet’  full sun

Selected by Lauren Springer and Scott Ogden in Ft. Collins, Colorado, this fantastic new hybrid originated from a hummingbird initiated cross between Salvia lycioides and Salvia greggii. Legions of iridescent deep violet-pink 2-lipped blooms dazzle upright flower spikes and fine cut glistening deep green foliage that shapes a compact rounded habit. Cold hardy ‘Ultra Violet’ lures butterflies, appreciates well-drained soil, withstands drought, rabbits and deer, and looks ultra-fine in just about any landscape. (uspp#21,411)

Blooms June–September.

Size: 18"–20" high x 2'–2-1/4' wide. Zone 5b.

AVAILABLE SUMMER 2015

Salvia ‘Ultra Violet’ (P-1773)
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Salvia urica  full sun
Blue Bush Sage
Salvia urica

Hailing from the warm, moist mountainous haunts of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, this tender, yet irresistible Salvia produces inch long, whorled deep blue-violet flowers on short stalks above a verdurous semi-upright mass. Lax stems carry velvety soft, dark green textured leaves that are deltoid in shape and saw-toothed along the margins. Tended by green calyxes, the long blooming flowers feature unusual incurved lower lips with light undersides and provide a cool-colored late season fanfare, complementing roses and pink or white blooming Asters.

A topnotch container specimen, Blue Bush Sage needs to be protected when temperatures drop to 30°.

Blooms August – November.

Size: 2'–3' high x 2'–3' wide. Zone 9/10.

Salvia urica (P-1480)
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Salvia vanhoutii (Burgundy Form)  full sun  partial shade
Van Houtt’s Brazilian Sage
Salvia vanhoutii (Burgundy Form)

This showy Salvia makes a dazzling container plant. The large, layered, burgundy buds have pointed sepals and open into numerous dark carmine-colored flowers with wine-red calyxes. Intriguing raised red ridges run horizontally around the stems at regular intervals like rungs on a ladder, connecting the reddish leaf petioles of each pair of opposite leaves.

Be sure to provide winter protection, as Salvia vanhoutii is hardy only in warmer climates.

Blooms July–October.

Size: 4' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia vanhoutii (Burgundy Form) (p-0775)
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Salvia verticillata ‘Purple Rain’  full sun
Salvia verticillata Purple Rain Salvia verticillata Purple Rain

When Virgil wrote “Steep thyself in a bowl of summertime,” he may well have been inspired by this Salvia. Petals of deep purple gather like raindrops in tiered pools to form these whorled flowers. Broad, opposite, almost thistlelike triangular leaves provide a solid base for the tall, branching stems.

Blooms June–September.

Size: 2' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 6.

AVAILABLE SPRING 2015


Salvia verticillata ‘Purple Rain’ (p-0132)
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Salvia ‘Waverly’  full sun
Salvia  Waverly

Like a well planned composition, this Salvia blends white fuzzy flowers, blushed with the palest of pinks and predominate purple calyxes against a graceful foil of textured grayish green foliage.

Given to us by David Salmon of High Country Gardens, we planted it in front of Cotinus ‘Grace’, whose leaves repeat the deep color of ‘Santa Barbara’s calyxes.

Blooms late June–early November.

Size: 3' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia ‘Waverly’ (p-0660)
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Latest News

Give the Gift that keeps on Growing!

Special Offers from The Digging Dogs for Shopping Online & at the Nursery

Order a $50.00 minimum of plants described in our Holiday Collection to receive 10% off your purchase. Plus, we’ll wrap them in silver & tie them with a bow for FREE!

15% Discount on purchases of $100 or more for any plants listed on our website or available here at the nursery!

15% Discount on Gift Certificates of $100 or more. That’s $100 worth of plants for only $85! (Purchase one for yourself... cash it in on your Spring 2015 order!)

For discounts, place code “Holiday2014” in the Comment Box on the online order form; for gift-wrap, place code “Gift-wrap” in the Comment Box.

If you wish to receive your order by Christmas:

California orders must be received no later than Sunday, December 21 to be delivered by December 24!

For all other States, plant orders must be received no later than Monday, December 15, to be delivered by December 24!

Sale dates are November 25 thru December 29, with the last ship date being December 30th, 2014.

Digging Dog’s Holiday Collection

This year’s seasonal, gift-quality offerings feature an eclectic array of horticultural treasures that promise a little something for everyone, sure to delight those gardeners on your gift list. Our selection of grasses, perennials and shrubs can be showcased in diverse garden settings across the country. Most are easily cultivated, many oblige a wide variety of growing conditions and all of them are in some way outstanding. We wish you a happy holiday season!

Perennials:

  • Asphodeline lutea
    King Spear
    Native to the eastern Mediterranean, this clumping member of the Lily family greets spring with intriguing spirals of tightly wrapped bladelike foliage, patterned like green candy canes. Emerging from blue-hued grassy tufts, these leafy flowering spikes soon become dense with fragrant citron-yellow, star-shaped blooms, which look striking in drifts beside Omphalodes ‘Cherry Ingram’ and Euphorbia ‘Jade Dragon’. Zoë was the first to discover the hard, marble-sized, green fruit that appears after the flowers fade. Hardy to zone 6. (p-0361)
  • Astelia chathamica ‘Silver Spear’
    Silvery and swordlike, the stiff foliage grows in clumps and bears some resemblance to a Yucca. Highlighted with subtle bands in many shades of muted green and silver, the broad reflective leaves will make a dramatic presentation in your favorite container, or try planting Astelia as a specimen with Muhlenbergia rigens and Salvia melissodora in the rockery. Hailing from New Zealand, this unusual member of the Lily family prefers well drained soil. Hardy to zone 8. (P-0718)
  • Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’
    Shrouded in mysterious tiny black-purple foliage, ‘Lady in Black’ offers sprays of small white flowers with a healthy blush of pink. Unlike ‘Prince’s tight clumping habit, this tall and elegant Dutch lady has spreading upright stems that spread over time. Hardy to zone 4. (p-0700)
  • Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Rose Pearls’
    Fanciful, pretty-in-pink flowers dress up this Cyclamen’s marbled, glistening greenery. Interplant ‘Rose Pearls’ with the white blooming Cyclamen hederifolium and a marvelous autumn vignette is yours for the viewing. Hardy to zone 5. (p-1207)

    cyclamen

    Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Rose Pearls’

  • Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Silver Leaf Pink’
    With dainty pink blooms poised above, a silver effulgence splashes across the surface of each polished, prominently veined leaf in a unique fashion, sometimes concealing any sign of greenery, while rich wine hues warm the undersides. Place ‘Silver Leaf Pink’ beneath Elaeagnus ‘Quicksilver’ to enhance the elegant frosty display. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1559)
  • Cyclamen hederifolium ‘White Pearls’
    The pristine white nodding flowers gracing this hederifolium cultivar show like comets against the deep green and very decoratively patterned foliage. ‘White Pearls’ serves as a clean and classy understory for Carpenteria ‘Elizabeth’. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1206)
  • Dianthus ‘Inchmery’
    A study in delicacy, this fragrant shell pink double blossom harmonizes with the blues of Nepeta and Lavender, or with yellows. Hosted atop bluish tumps, the buds that appear in May are a joy in their own right, long and linear, revealing a deep maroon stripe around each base. Hardy to zone 5. (p-0057)
  • Dianthus ‘Mendlesham Frilly’
    Aptly named, ‘Frilly’s semidouble flowers are just that, bright pink with fringed petals and a dainty look. Sue and Peter Russell of Mills Farm Plants in England bred this cultivar as one of their highly successful ‘Mendlesham Series’, a group of Dianthus selected for neat, compact form, demure appearance, intense fragrance, and repeat bloom. Hardy to zone 5. (p-0739)
  • Eucomis ‘Toffee’
    Pineapple Lily
    With bronzy merlot-colored undulating margins, the olive-green swordlike foliage shows off reddish toffee-shaded linear streaks on top, while curious burgundy stipples and striations mark the undersides. The warm-looking, somewhat erect rosette gets a cheerful lift when staunch flower stalks transform into pastel columns of star-shaped rosy pink flowers topped by leafy forelocks. Zone 7/8. (p-1450)

    eucomis

    Eucomis ‘Toffee’

  • Euphorbia amygaloides ‘Ruby Glow’
    A gorgeous medley of deep burgundy, bronzy maroon and ruby red suffuses this Euphorbia’s head turning foliage. Cresting a well-groomed base defined by plush evergreen leaves and sturdy stems, plentiful ebullient chartreuse blooms provide vivid contrast. Compact, hardy and downright irresistible ‘Ruby Glow’ can be nestled near the front of the border, along a pathway or showcased in a patio container. (uspp#22,200) Hardy to zone 6. (P-1724)

    euphorbia

    Euphorbia amygaloides ‘Ruby Glow’

  • Gunnera tinctoria
    Everything about this amazing Chilean native is BIG! A super-sized perennial of prehistoric-looking, gargantuan magnitude, Gunnera tinctoria projects a bold, dignified persona. Palmately lobed leaves with toothed and frilled margins unfurl to 5 ft. across atop thick edible stalks that emerge from underground rhizomes, rich in tannins. Launching a large cob-shaped inflorescence inhabited by tiny rusty red flowers, the enormous domed mound adds sheer mass and a coarse stiff texture to the landscape. Although the Chilean Rhubarb sulks in high summer humidity, it is undemanding and quick to establish in moist areas, given A LOT of room and winter protection for the crowns. Hardy to zone 7. (P-1317)
  • Helleborus niger ‘HGC Jonas’
    Promising early winter floral magic, this superbly bred selection boasts a luminous bevy of yellow-stamened crisp white petals atop burgundy stems. Defined by 7 petals, as opposed to the usual 5, and a light green or blush pink coloration as they age, full forward-facing flowers rise from dark green toothed leaves that shape a lustrous evergreen foil. Perfect for holiday decorating, ‘Jonas’ can be enjoyed in bouquets, in a lightly shaded mixed planting or a magnificent container specimen on the patio. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1806)
  • Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Ivory Prince’
    Also known as Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Walhelivor’. With dark dusky pink buds and outward facing, easy-to-view ivory-petaled blooms, this vigorous Lenten Rose is aptly named. Innovated by the truly gifted English breeder David Tristram, and vegetatively propagated, ‘Ivory Prince’s exquisite flowers reveal a subtle infusion of colors, from soft green and antique rose on the inside to earthy plum hues on the exterior. Sturdy wine-tinted stems and princely, deep green leatherlike foliage marked by light prominent veining and toothed margins maintain a pleasing evergreen presence all year long.(PPAF) Hardy to zone 5. (p-1325)

    helleborus

    Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Ivory Prince’

  • Heuchera ‘Blackout’
    Smooth ultra dark foliage, burnished with a gemlike luster, is this Heuchera’s stylish signature. Celebrating more vigor and more black than those of its dark rival, Heuchera ’Obsidian’. Elegant lobed leaves fashion a compact mound, which offsets urn-shaped creamy white flowers. ’Blackout’ is a mysterious midnight-hued springboard for golden grasses, yellow-leafed perennials, Japanese Painted ferns and silvery Pulmonarias. (pp#25,280) Hardy to zone 4. (P-1636)
  • Melianthus major
    Honey Bush
    Big, bold, blue and architectural pretty much sums up the fantastic posture of this quick growing South African native. Deeply divided in an exotic feather-like fashion, the glaucous steely blue-green leaflets are sharply toothed, while gracefully curving downward. Erect and thick gray-green stems host the highly textured foliage that can grow up to 18 in. long and makes an enduring addition to arrangements. Elevated above the tropical-style foundation, intriguing one ft. long terminal spikes showcase deep brick-red bracts with green stamens, later followed by ornamental papery seed pods.Evergreen in warmer climates and choice for a container in colder areas, the Honey Bush grows into a spreading subshrub, sculpting a dramatic specimen if given room to move, average moisture, well drained soil and a heavy winter mulch. Hardy to zone 9. (P-0894)

    melianthus

    Melianthus major

  • Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
    Licorice-black, ¼ in. wide, spidery blades, delicate, bell-shaped purplish white flowers on dark spikes, and shiny bluish black fruit are all good reasons to invite this versatile perennial into your garden. The ebony-colored evergreen tufts with newly emerging green leaves can be dramatically juxtaposed against golden Carex elata ‘Aurea’ or Athyrium niponicum pictum’s silver flushed fronds. Nestled in between rocks, along pathways, near water or en masse as an easy going ground cover, Black Mondo Grass competes well with other plant roots, and favors well drained soil, periodic trimming and filtered sun. Hardy to zone 6. (P-1475)
  • Primula capitata ssp. mooreana
    Native to the coniferous forests of Tibet and southwestern China, Primula capitata was once used to cure headaches and please the palette in thick soups and rice. This species is named for its blue-violet, pincushionlike flowers that open face down in early spring. We plant it by paths or steps in shady rock gardens so that we can sit and look at the silvery powder on the green stems. It can take full sun, but only if planted in a moist loam or boggy location. Hardy to zone 5. (P-0212)
  • Saxifraga stolonifera ‘Maroon Beauty’
    Strawberry Begonia
    Named for its slender strawberry-like red runners and flashy maroon undersides, this colonizing Saxifraga hosts intricately etched evergreen rosettes of thick rounded gray-green leaves with scalloped margins, silver hairs and pewter veins. Rising above the low growing velvet soft mat, wispy 5-petaled pink-tinged white flowers are loosely arranged on delicate 18 in. stalks. Appreciative of shade and evenly moist well-drained soil, ‘Maroon Beauty’ lends enchanting accents to the woodlands, rockery or a small container. Hardy to zone 7. (P-1819)

    primula

    Helleborus, Primula, and Saxifraga

  • Selinum wallichianum
    This refined Himalayan beauty happens to be one of our favorite perennial umbellifers. With untold elegance, infinitely divided leaves craft a delicate, lacelike transparency. The compact yet airy green canopy is framed by distinctive, purple-infused branching stems that elevate a charming, late season display of white flattened umbels. Subduing the riotous array of summertime blooms, it seldom needs staking, appreciates a well draining moist niche and can be sited amid Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’ and Echinacea Big Sky ‘Sunrise’. Hardy to zone 7. (p-1406)
  • Yucca dismetiana ‘Blue Boy’
    Dressed in gray icy greens and powder blues with a dusky purple overlay, this handsome pastel-hued treasure exhibits a tough disposition. Rigid evergreen leaves with sharp pointed tips and fine-toothed margins craft a rounded barrel-like rosette that develops slowly, its amethyst coloration intensifying as the weather heats up. Waxy white pendulous flowers draped on stout panicles deliver late summer sparkle. Unfazed by mettlesome deer, drought, moisture and humidity, ‘Blue Boy’ can harmonize with Melianthus ‘Antonow’s Blue’ and Festuca ‘Superba’. Zone 7/8. (P-1495)

    yucca

    Yucca dismetiana ‘Blue Boy’

  • Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’
    Adam’s Needle
    Touted as one of the most attractive variegated Yuccas available, this Japanese cultivar’s stiff spiky foliage comprises a mesmerizing close set, evergreen rosette. Achieving an added luster when long, curly white margin fibers seem to capture the moonlight, each spine-tipped leaf is etched by celadon green margins and a bold, creamy gold central stripe, which becomes brighter in mid summer. ’Color Guard’s imposing silhouette can stand alone, be juxtaposed with Plectranthus ’Longwood Silver’s soft felted foliage or be planted en masse. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1781)

Grasses:

  • Carex oshimensis ‘Gold Strike’
    Oshima Sedge
    Arching upward and out, this Carex’s lush foliage is elegant. A glinting cascade of refined, evergreen blades presents dark green margins with broad, alabaster-colored central stripes that mature to creamy yellow. Languishing if it’s too hot, slow spreading ‘Gold Strike’ thrives in moist, well drained sites, and makes a bold statement when its densely set, variegated tussocks are planted in a meandering swath amidst Pulmonaria ‘Benediction’ or Epimediums. Hardy to zone 6. (G-0461)

    carex

    Carex oshimensis ‘Gold Strike’

  • Carex tenuiculmis
    New Zealand Sedge
    A cozy fusion of colors—from dark chocolate and cappuccino to reddish bronze—distinguish this fine textured evergreen sedge. Whether positioned in a border, cascading over a wall or embellishing a container, the long and narrow, arching foliage fashions a loosely arranged, graceful mound whose rich warm tones juxtapose green and golden leafage to great affect. Carex tenuiculmis favors moist soil, and can be brought inside wherever it’s not winter hardy. Hardy to zone 7. (G-0471)

Shrubs:

  • Berberis thunbergii ‘Concorde’
    Concorde Japanese Barberry
    Draped in deep maroon velvety purple foliage, this splendid diminutive shrub maintains a dense rounded slow growing profile. Small bell-shaped yellow flowers, enhanced by warmly colored sepals, sparkle against opulent deciduous leaves, eventually giving way to a wintertime showing of bright red berries. Perfectly sized for edging, responsive to pruning and unyielding to deer or drought, ‘Concorde’ is a refined and easily maintained contender for containers, border frontage, low hedges and knot gardens, especially when paired with silver and green companions. Hardy to zone 4. (S-0754)
  • Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’
    Purple Beautyberry
    A beacon for the fall border, this deciduous Korean species is considered by many to be the most refined Beautyberry, and its boldly hued early September fruit occurs well before other varieties. Small and shiny, rounded berry clusters achieve an astonishing, almost electric lavender hue. Flowers are delicate, diminutive and pink, quietly dressing up its handsome, very green leaf mass and gracefully rounded form. ‘Early Amethyst’ prefers well drained soil, tolerates some drought, appreciates a late winter pruning and produces more fruit when planted in groups. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0587)
  • Cordyline australis ‘Red Star’ Cabbage Palm
    Bold, bronzed and tropical-themed, ’Red Star’s long sword-shaped dark burgundy blades are applauded as the most handsome and the hardiest of the red-foliaged Cordylines. Endemic to New Zealand and eastern Australia, this winning palm-styled evergreen slowly forges an upright half-hardy vigorous frame that premiers large panicles of small sweetly perfumed flowers. Cabbage Palm’s year-round drama can be staged as a water-wise focal point for a dry garden or ample-sized container, where it appreciates light shade with occasional water during intense heat and shelter from harsh winter weather. Zone 8/9. (S-0770)
  • Correa ‘Dusky Bells’
    Red Australian Fuchsia
    Sprinkled amongst waxy green leaves, ‘Dusky Bells’s pendulous red tubular flowers, dressed in chartreuse calyxes and flared tips, become one of winter’s more endearing attractions. The dainty long lasting blooms appear in autumn and persist through early spring, luring both gardeners and hummingbirds alike. Whether utilized as a low mounding specimen in a large vessel or as a tidy evergreen ground cover for banks, hillsides or other tough spots, the Red Australian Fuchsia favors good drainage and light shade where it’s hot. This densely branched shrub is undaunted by deer, ocean frontage, poor rocky sites, and occasional drought. Affiliate with other steadfast companions like Ceanothus ‘Concha’ and Stipa arundinacea. Hardy to zone 9. (S-0735)

    correa

    Correa ‘Dusky Bells’

  • Erica cinerea ‘C. D. Eason’
    Distinctive for its deep green, fine textured foliage and pleasing form, this summer blooming Erica was named in honor of the man who discovered it—Australian born Charles Eason. Very tiny short needles and slender branches make an ideal foil for the freely borne, dense clusters of glowing dark pink flowers. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0565)
  • Erica cinerea ‘Purple Beauty’
    Twisted Heath
    It was a British couple, Mr. and Mrs. Letts, whose keen eyes first noted this summer flowering beauty in the wilds of Cornwall and later introduced it. Ample-sized, more than abundant and long blooming, the luminous amethyst flowers sparkle like jewels upon the vigorous dark green needlelike foliage that defines ‘Purple Beauty’s exquisite, low bushy habit. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0471)
  • Hebe recurva
    Shrouded in hushed gray-greens, Hebe recurva’s rounded visage conveys its composed character. A bushy array of glaucous, sickle-shaped narrow leaves, whose tips curve downward, elegantly garbs the red-tinged, slender stems and come summer, broadcasts infinite, snowy white Veronica-like spikes. One of the hardiest Hebes, this cool-colored shrub will easily fit in any garden, and looks especially alluring when sited amid Geranium lancastriense and Helianthemum ‘St. Mary’s’. Hardy to zone 8. (S-0629)
  • Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’
    We have Mike Dirr to thank for this vigorous selection. Tall and fast growing, ‘Alice’ displays large, very delicate, lacy looking white flower heads, and the show continues when the broad green oak-shaped leaves turn deep carmine in autumn. For contrast, try planting an understory of Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0323)
    hydrangea

    Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’

  • Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow Queen’
    Though its name might make you think otherwise, this shrub is a showcase of earth tones. Its 8 in. long panicles of white flowers, which later take on a pinkish hue, stand out like snow against the beautiful cinnamon-brown, exfoliating bark and the large dark green Oak-like leaves that turn reddish purple in autumn. Hardy and undemanding, ’Snow Queen’ offers a fantastic fall display full of similar colors and contrasting forms when matched with Panicum ‘Warrior’. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0201)
  • Lavandula ‘Richard Gray’
    With the hardiness of its angustifolia parentage and the soft-looking leaves of a lanata, ‘Richard Gray’ is a choice hybrid which bears medium blue-violet flowers on stems just a foot above the attractive, compact mound of silver-gray foliage. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0329)
  • Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’
    Fetterbush
    An elegant arching Pieris relative, this elaborately variegated cultivar originated at the famed British nursery, Hillier’s as a chance seedling, while the species, first introduced in 1793, hails from the southeastern U.S. Living up to its name, ’Rainbow’ celebrates a carousel of color: pinkish copper-hued new growth, rosy red stems and long leathery pointed evergreen leaves, which are irregularly streaked, speckled and mottled in green, cream and ivory. Bell-style crisp white flowers held by drooping clusters, blue berries and plum-colored wintertime foliage are the icing on the cake. Appreciative of regular watering and well-drained organic-rich acidic soil, the deer resistant Fetterbush makes a stunning focal point or mass planting, embellishing mixed borders, house foundations, hedges and even cut arrangements. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0777)

    leucothoe

    Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’

  • Mahonia gracilipes
    A 1980 British introduction by noted plantsman Roy Lancaster, this rare, widely praised Chinese native features dapper dark green leaves, flashing bright white undersides and dainty reddish pink cupped flowers with creamy yellow centers. Poised in airy splendor on lax slender racemes, the eye-catching blooms precede a plentiful display of large, bloomy blue-black fruit. Mahonia gracilipes is a stellar and sturdy, slow growing evergreen, which favors partial shade in moist well drained, humus-rich soil. Hardy to zone 7. (S-0739)
  • Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Arp’
    That’s Arp, Texas, where one ol’ specimen is still growing strong at 80. An upright shrub with gray-green foliage and light blue flowers, ‘Arp’ is most at home inland, where it opens outward in the heat; on the coast its habit is more compact, but still handsome. Hardy to zone 8. (S-0060)
  • Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Madeline Hill’
    Dubbed for the renown herbal enthusiast from Texas, ‘Madeline Hill’ is not only a good-looking tough cookie hardy to below 0°, but she’s a savory delight as well. Intensely fragrant, rich green needlelike leaves, which are broader than ‘Arp’s cloak her robust, pale green upright stems. Wielding a not-too-tall bushy frame, this well branched Rosemary is generously sprinkled with dainty light blue flowers. Hardy to zone 6. (S-0700)
  • Santolina chamaecyparissus var. nana
    Lavender Cotton
    Botanicals first mentioned Santolina in 1550, when its dense filigree foliage and white felted stems made it the star player of that Elizabethan rage, the formal knot garden. This dwarf cultivar presents golden yellow button flowers borne profusely on a tight evergreen mound of aromatic silver-gray. It’s deer and pest proof, extremely drought tolerant, and is still the perfect choice for edging the herb garden or tucking into the rockery or a small sunny nook. Hardy to zone 6. (S-0579)
  • Teucrium fruticans (Select Form) Surprisingly light on its feet, this handsome ‘Select Form’ is smaller and more compact than Teucrium fruticans. Periwinkle-blue flowers embellish the downy white stems and gray-green, evergreen foliage which displays contrasting silver-gray undersides. Extremely durable, tolerating drought, wind and salt spray, this silvery mound makes an alluring backdrop for Muhlenbergia rigens. Hardy to zone 8. (S-0156)

    teucrium

    Teucrium fruticans (Select Form)

  • Viburnum plicatum f tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’
    The most exceptional attribute of this deciduous Viburnum is its horizontal growth habit, featuring flowers and fruit in parallel rows along the branches. Distinguished by a smaller stature, and foliage that’s not quite as large as Viburnum ‘Shasta’, ‘Summer Snowflake’ maintains a more rounded form and blooms well into summer with an extravagant offering of pure white lacecap flowers. It’s lovely in containers, grouped in a drift, or as a star specimen. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0075)

Current Staff’s Favorite Plant

staff favorite plant

Erica’s dainty urn-shaped flowers add sparkling detail at this dreary time of year, while Calluna’s fine textured ever green foliage maintains a tailored often colorful year-round appearance.

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