Many perennial salvias, or meadow sages, of varying hardiness and appearance are available to the gardener. Salvia officinalis, culinary sage, usually about two feet tall, has gray-green leaves and white or lavender flowers. Salvia x superba (Blue Queen is good) is a sterile hybrid. It has gray-green, paired leaves covered with tiny hairs underneath on square stems growing up to three feet high. They bear dense spikes of showy, violet-purple flowers.
How to grow: Salvias need full sun and good garden soil with excellent drainage. Do not crowd the plants. After flowers have finished blooming, trim them off for neatness and a second showing.
Propagation: By division or from cuttings for named cultivars, and from cuttings or seed for culinary types and species.
Uses: Uses vary with the type of salvia, but all can be massed and used in flowerbeds and borders.
Related species: Salvia azurea, or the blue salvia, is a native American plant reaching five feet in height and bearing deep blue flowers. Grandiflora is a variety that has larger flowers. Salvia involucrata has hot cherry-red flowers. Salvia leucantha has shrubby, tall growth and multitudes of purple and white velvety flowers.
Scientific name: Salvia species