Salvia farinacea

Common Name: mealycup sage 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Texas, Mexico
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to frost
Bloom Description: Violet blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil


Tender perennial that is winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10. In St. Louis, grow as a warm weather annual in average, evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates poor soils and some drought. Plants grown from seed sown directly in the ground after last frost date may not bloom. Seed should be started indoors 10-12 weeks before last frost date. Set out seedlings or purchased plants after last frost date. If desired, cut back and pot up several plants in fall or take cuttings in late summer for overwintering in a bright but cool sunny window.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Salvia farinacea, commonly called mealycup sage, is native to Texas and Mexico. It is a shrubby, clump-forming, tender perennial that typically grows 1.5-3’ tall on erect, branching, square stems. It features two-lipped, violet-blue flowers in 4-8” axillary and terminal racemes from summer to fall. Drooping, irregularly-serrate, ovate-lanceolate, gray-green leaves (to 3” long). Cultivars are available in various shades of blue, purple, lavender, white and bicolor.

The genus name Salvia comes from the Latin word salveo meaning "to save or heal", in reference to the purported medically curative properties attributed to some plants in the genus.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin word for flour or meal and is in reference to the white powdery felting found on the upper stems and calyx.

In the common name, “mealy” means covered with powdery meal and “cup” is in reference to the calyx shape.


No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to downy and powdery mildew.


Beds, borders, meadows, cottage gardens, cutting gardens.