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Products > Salvia uliginosa
Salvia uliginosa - Blue Spike Sage
Image of Salvia uliginosa
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: Brazil (South America)
Flower Color: Sky Blue
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Height: 4-6 feet
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Salvia uliginosa (Blue Spike Sage) A quick growing dense upright perennial/sub-shrub with many thin vertically inclined deeply grooved stems rising to 4 to 6 feet tall and in clumps 3 feet wide or more, spreading outward by rhizomes (underground stems). The 1-inch-long lance-shaped lightly serrated leaves are a yellow-green color and slightly sticky to the touch as are the stems. The deep sky-blue half inch long flowers, with a white beeline in the throat on the lower petal, are in fairly tight small clusters at the top of the stems from late spring through fall along the central California coast, but a bit later in areas with colder winters.

Plant in full sun on the edge of a pond, in moist soil or in the dry garden where it grows notably shorter and spreads much slower. Hardy to at least 15 F (and some say it can take below zero in USDA Zone 6a). Cut back to the ground in winter and divide clumps of spreading rhizomes or cut around the clump with a sharp shovel to control spread. An attractive plant in the tall border and useful for cut flowers, fresh or dried and while it attracts butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to the garden, it seems to be left alone by browsing animals.

Salvia uliginosa is native to southern Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina and was first described in 1833 by British botanist George Bentham, whose specific epithet does not mean ugly as some may think (before seeing this plant in its glory), but rather is from the Latin word 'uliginos' which means "damp", "marshy" or "wet" in reference to this plants typical natural habitat and given this is where this plant originates it is surprising how tolerant it actually is of drier conditions. It was introduced into horticulture by William Bertram Turrill in Curtis Botanic Magazine (B.M. 8544) in 1912 and received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 1993. We first got this this great garden plant from the Huntington Botanical Gardens in 1988 and have offered it in our catalog since 1990. 

This information about Salvia uliginosa displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.