Native Southern Sages
S. coccinea and S. Lyrata
Native Sages are beautiful additions to the garden. Both Scarlet sage (Lady in Red) and Lyre-leaf Sage attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Scalet sage usually has red flowers, but also comes in coral and white. This member of the same family as the culinary herb, common sage, is a tender perennial (in much of the south) and an annual elsewhere. S. lyrata is a blue flowering perennial.
Both native varieties of salvia grow well in naturescaping or along the edge of a rain garden because they are drought tolerant.
Native Sages are a MUST for the Hummingbird or Butterfly Garden
Lady in Red - S. coccinea
The origin of Scarlet or Texas sage can be traced to Mexico and it has spread through most of the subtropical regions of North America. It is usually an annual, but is a tender perennial in the coastal south. Scarlet-red is the most common color, but its tubular flowers come in many shades including orange-red, red, scarlet, pink, salmon and white. Bicolors also occur in which the upper lip is a different color than the lower lip.
Most of the photos shown here are available as print-on-demand products at Naturegirl7's Zazzle Shop.
Sulfur Butterfly on Coral Nymph
Scarlet Sage seeds
Scarlet sage is easy to start from seed. This package will grow hundreds of plants.
Propagation can be done by seed or cuttings. Cuttings will produce plants identical to the parent plant, while seeds may produce many different colors and sizes. An early spring sowing of seeds will result in August flowering. Cuttings can be rooted in moist soil in the shade.
Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade in good garden soil that is rich in humus with some sand. They do best with weekly watering, but are somewhat drought resistant and can be grown as annuals in any climate zone.
For a nice show and to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, plant in groups of 3 or more with other late blooming annuals or perennials.
New Book of Salvias
An excellent book about the many perennial sages that will grow in your garden and attract pollinators.
Lyre-leaf Sage - S. lyrata
The hardy native perennial, Lyre-leaf Sage signals the return of the
Ruby-thoated hummingbirds to North America in spring. The name "lyre-leaf" was given because the leaves look something like the ancient harp like musical instrument, the Lyre.
The rosette of leaves makes a colorful ground cover for most of the year. In early spring, beautiful spikes of light blue to lavender flowers shoot up to put on quite a show.
Lyre-leaf sage likes sandy soil and full sun to part sun. It is hardy and easy to grow. It can be planted in beds or used as a ground cover. For a ground cover, the seed heads can be mowed down with a lawn mower set on the highest level. The beautiful leaves will remain and will sometimes put on a second bloom.
Propagate by seed.
Lyre-leaf's Rosette of Leaves
Common Garden Sage Culinary Herb
Common Garden Sage, S. officinalis, is not native to the United States, but it is related to our beautiful native Salvias. Common Sage is a culinary herb that will add a delicate flavor to many dishes, but especially poultry.
Several useful sage plants such as bush sage (S. leucantha), black and blue sage (S. guaranitica) and rosebud sage (S. involucrata) are excellent additions to a butterfly or hummingbird garden. All three are perennials which are native to the Western United States.
Gardeners' Guide discusses all these and more and gives you information about growing them in the landscape.
Gardeners' Guide to Growing Salvias
Native Sage Poll
Do you plant native sages in your garden?
Hummingbird Feeding on Salvia Vid
Red Salvia coccinea and Sulphur Butterfly
Sulfur butterflies flock to the red flowers of scarlet sage. Hummingbirds also enjoy the rich nectar.
More About Southern Wildflowers
- 15 Easy to Grow Southern Wildflowers
This page features 15 native perennial flowering plants complete with photographs of and information plus links to more about each. These beauties will thrive in the hot, humid South.
© 2015 Yvonne L B