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Products > Salvia spathacea
 
Salvia spathacea - Hummingbird Sage
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Rose Pink
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 4-5 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10° F
Salvia spathacea (Hummingbird Sage) - A low growing semi-evergreen herbaceous perennial sage with a ground-cover mounding habit 1 to 2 feet tall and spreading slowly by underground rhizomes to 4 feet or more wide. The plant is slightly sticky to the touch with pleasingly aromatic arrow-shaped light green leaves that can grow to 6 inches long and are wrinkled on top and hairy beneath. The deep rose-pink flowers grow in large pagoda-like whorls on 30 inch tall flower stalks from late winter into summer. Plant in full sun to partial shade and give little to occasional irrigation but also tolerates more regular watering. Evergreen in temperatures in the mid 20's but root hardy to at least down to 0 ° F and suitable for USDA Zones 8 to 11. Dead head the inflorescences to their base after flowering is over to keep plant low and tidy and dig unwanted spreading rhizomes for replanting elsewhere in late fall or early winter. This is an extremely tough plant that can go dormant in summer but can be kept evergreen with an occasional irrigation and can remain evergreen through winter in gardens where temperatures remain in the 20's. It is quite useful in dry light shade such as under the dripline area of a coast live oak. The flowers are attractive to hummingbirds, hence the typical common name but it is also commonly called Crimson Pitcher Sage. Hummingbird Sage is native to shady or open grassy slopes in the lower elevations along the California coastal ranges from Solano County south to Orange County and perhaps into north San Diego County as well. The name Salvia comes from the name used by Pliny for a plant in the genus and comes from the Latin word 'salvere' meaning "to save" in reference to the long-believed healing properties of several sage species. The specific epithet comes from the Latin work 'spatha' (from the Greek spáthe) means a spath and the suffix 'aceous" meaning "composed of" or "having" so meaning "with a spathe" in reference to large spath-like colored bracts that enclose the flower cluster. Our plants originally from plants growing on private property along Camino Cielo in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara.  The information provided on this page is based on research we have conducted about this plant in our nursery's library, from what we have found about it on reliable online sources, as well as from observations in our nursery of crops of this plant as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing  Salvia spathacea.
 
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