Salvia guaranitica
Common Name: anise-scented sage 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 2.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to October
Bloom Description: Deep blue with purple-blue calyx
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10. In St. Louis, it should be grown as an annual in average, evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It prefers organically rich loams. If grown in too much shade, plant stems tend to elongate and fall over. Plant height can be reduced by cutting back stems in late spring. Although species plants may be grown from seed started indoors before last spring frost date, this cultivar should be propagated from cuttings. Set out plants after last frost date. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional bloom. 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. Plants grown in protected locations with winter mulch may survive mild winters in USDA Zones 6-7.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Salvia guaranitica is native to Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina. It is a tender perennial or subshrub that exhibits a bushy, somewhat open habit with upright, branching, square, dark green stems typically growing 3-5’ tall. When grown as an annual, plant height is shorter, more often in the 2.5-3’ area. Two-lipped, tubular, deep blue flowers (to 2” long) with purple-blue calyxes bloom in axillary and terminal spikes (to 10” long) from mid summer into fall. Ovate, wrinkled, pointed, lightly-toothed, dark green leaves (2-5” long) are pale green below. Plants may grow to as much as 6’ tall in optimum conditions where winter hardy, but usually grow much shorter in the St. Louis area. Plants are sometimes commonly called blue anise sage or anise scented sage. When bruised, the foliage has a very mild aroma that has very little if any anise scent.

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.


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


Beds, borders and cottage gardens. Containers. Annual for areas north of USDA Zone 8.