Salvia azurea var. grandiflora

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: blue sage
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Southern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to October
Bloom Description: Blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates very light shade, but best in full sun. Also tolerates heat, humidity and drought. Cut plants back by 1/2 in late spring to keep plants shorter, combat stem laxness and promote bushiness.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Salvia azurea, commonly called blue sage, is a clump-forming perennial that typically grows to 3-5’ tall (shorter if pruned). Whorls of 2-lipped, azure blue flowers bloom in spikes from mid-summer to fall atop stiff stems clad with linear to lanceolate to obovate, grayish-green leaves (to 3-4” long). Salvia azura var. azura is native from North Carolina and Tennessee south to Florida and Texas. Salvia azurea var. grandiflora grows further west to New Mexico and further north to Nebraska and Minnesota.

Var. grandiflora is similar in appearance but has larger flowers and is often considered to be a better garden plant than var. azurea. Botanical variety name means large-flowered.

Genus name 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 means sky-blue for the azure blue flowers.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to leaf spot and rust and sometimes visited by white fly and scale. Usually needs some support since lax stems tend to lodge easily.

Garden Uses

Borders, cottage gardens, native plant gardens, prairie-like areas, wild or naturalized plantings.