Salvia 'Phyllis Fancy' (Phyllis' Fancy Sage) - A vigorous growing sage that grows 4 to 5 feet tall by as wide with a mushroom shaped habit, narrower at the base than at the top. It has 3- to 4-inch-long lanceolate leaves held on upright stems with leaves that are mid green with rugose texture on the upper surface and lighter green below. The flowers, present from mid to late summer to first frost (blooms well into winter in Santa Barbara), are held in one sided whorls in 1 foot long dark violet colored wand-like spikes with violet and green calyces and a lower lip petal that is pure white, while the upper lip, the hood, is white tinged violet and covered with soft hairs.
Plant in full sun in a decently well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally to infrequently. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant but look best with occasional irrigation. It remains evergreen in frost free gardens yet proven hardy in Tony Avent's test garden at Plant Delights in North Carolina, where he describes it to be a root hardy perennial tolerating at least down to 7° F. It responds well to a hard trimming (to near ground) in late winter or later and needs this to look its best. It is a great plant for late summer color as a large border or accent plant and is great for attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. Likely, as with related sages, it probably will not be that attractive to deer.
Salvia 'Phyllis Fancy' was discovered at the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum and named for Phyllis Norris, a longtime volunteer in the garden with speculation that it perhaps is a hybrid between Salvia leucantha and Salvia chiapensis. It is somewhat similar to Salvia 'Waverly' but is taller with larger leaves and darker slightly smaller flowers - overall it reads to be a much bluer plant when in flower than 'Waverly'. We first saw this plant looking glorious in the border garden at the Mendocino Coast Botanic Garden and purchased the plant at their nursery. In 2017 while visiting the British Isles we also noted large plantings of this plant looking glorious at The Royal Botanic Garden Kew and at the Royal Horticultural Society Garden at Wisley. Phyllis has really gotten around!
Information about Salvia 'Phyllis Fancy' displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.