Salvia argentea
Common Name: silver sage 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Southern Europe and northern Africa
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: White tinged with pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers moist, light, gravelly or sandy soils with good drainage. Tolerates drought. Avoid wet soils in winter. This sage is a biennial or short-lived perennial. When grown from seed, it produces downy, wrinkled, silver-gray rosettes of foliage the first year with flowering stems rising above foliage in the second year. Flowering stems may be promptly cut off as they appear to showcase the plant foliage and to encourage perennial tendencies. Plants that flower and seed in the second year complete their biennial course and disappear from the garden. Some gardeners prefer to let plants bloom for enjoyment of the flowers. Plants may continue in the garden from year to year, albeit in slightly different locations, by self-seeding. Plant foliage tends to struggle and decline as summer progresses in hot and humid conditions south of USDA Zone 7a. This plant is often grown as an annual. Propagate by seed or removal of rooted lateral offshoots in spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Salvia argentea, commonly called silver sage, is a clump-forming biennial or short-lived perennial that is native to the Mediterranean area (southern Europe to northern Africa). Unlike most salvias, plants of this species are grown primarily for their large, woolly leaves and not for their flowers. In the first year, this sage features a large rosette of soft, felt-like, broad-oval, downy, wrinkled, silver-gray leaves (to 8" long by 6" wide) that form an attractive foliage mound to 12" tall and to 20" wide. Leaves emerge silver-white in spring but gradually mature to silver-gray to greenish-gray as the summer progresses. In the second year, silver flower spikes rise well above the foliage to 2-3' tall, topped with tubular, hooded, white flowers that are tinged with pink. Flowers bloom in early summer.

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 argentum meaning silver in reference to the young leaves that emerge silver-white in spring.


No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs and snails can be troublesome. Stem and root rot, powdery mildew, rust and leaf spot may be problems.


Beds and borders. Herb gardens. Along walls. Edging. Good container plant. Foliage annual.