31 Gorgeous Salvias to Bring Color and Fragrance to Your Garden

white and purple salvia plants by white picket fence
Photo: Peter Krumhardt

Salvias (also called sages) are a diverse group of plants that offer colorful flowers, scents, and even flavors. Some also have pretty foliage. Most are easy to grow, drought-tolerant, bloom abundantly, and look gorgeous in the landscape. Use this guide to find the best types of salvia for growing in your garden.

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Types of Sage Plants

blue salvia yellow flowers
Jason Wilde

According to the Herb Society of America, there are more than 900 different types of salvia. These include Salvia officinalis, which is garden sage, the culinary herb used to flavor and garnish food. This plant is a perennial that will come back each year where it's hardy. There are also annual and biennial types of salvias, and some are woody shrubs.

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Blue Salvia

Pink knockout rose and blue salvia plant
Deb Wiley

A favorite plant for many gardeners, blue salvia is an easy perennial to grow. It flowers profusely all summer, and tolerates periods of drought. It's a great choice for borders and containers, plus it's native to areas of North America.

Season of Bloom: Spring to frost

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water: Plant in evenly moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 5-9

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'Black and Blue' Salvia

'Black and Blue' Salvia plants against soft green leafy background
Peter Krumhardt

A hummingbird magnet, 'Black and Blue' displays spikes of rich cobalt-blue flowers that emerge from purple-black buds on dark stems. The foliage has a faint anise scent. This perennial salvia is quite easy to grow and will reward you with gorgeous blooms year after year.

Season of Bloom: Summer to fall

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water: Plant in evenly moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 5 feet tall

Zones: 8-10

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Clary Sage

Clary Sage Salvia viridis purple flowers
John Sylvester

This is not your ordinary sage. Clary sage is a little different because its color comes from its leafy bracts that look like big pink, purple, or white flower petals. The bracts on this biennial salvia are long-lasting and dry well, making it a good cut flower and useful in dried-flower crafts.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 5-9

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Culinary Sage

Culinary Sage Sage Salvia officinalis green leaves
Marty Baldwin

A must-grow plant in herb gardens, culinary sage features wonderfully scented silvery-gray leaves and spikes of lilac flowers in early summer. It's a key ingredient in many container-garden combinations, Thanksgiving stuffings, and even in a few desserts. Even though this plant is a perennial, you'll want to replace the plants after a few years because the stems can become woody and sparse.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 5-8

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Purple Sage

Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens' green and reddish leaves
Marty Baldwin

While it's not quite as tasty or hardy as its silvery-gray cousin, purple sage offers more color in containers and beds and borders. Be sure to plant it where you can walk by and brush the foliage to release its herbal, pine-like scent. The purplish, oblong leaves are strongly aromatic and may be used fresh or dried in cooking.

Season of Bloom: Spring

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 6-9

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Variegated Sage

Salvia officinalis 'Icterina' green leaves with yellow edges
Susan A. Roth

Here's another extra-attractive member of the culinary sage group. Variegated sage features gray-green leaves irregularly edged in chartreuse. It produces purplish-blue flowers on spikes in late spring. Whether you grow it for its ornamental looks or for its flavor, it can easily be grown with other perennials in borders or rock gardens.

Season of Bloom: Late spring

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 4-8

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Tricolor Sage

Salvia officinalis 'Tricolor' green leaves with orange flowers
Marty Baldwin

Grown primarily for its foliage, tricolor combines the best features of other sages. It displays silvery-green leaves edged in creamy white and blushed with purple. In addition to its great ornamental qualities, it can also be used fresh or dried in cooking as a seasoning. It's an excellent choice for growing as an annual in containers, especially in northern areas.

Season of Bloom: Early spring

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 18 inches tall

Zones: 6-9

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Red Salvia

Salvia splendens 'Red Hot Sally'
Peter Krumhardt

A popular annual selected for its eye-catching color, red salvia is easy to grow. Like most other salvias, it offers scented foliage so deer and rabbits usually leave it alone. Commonly called scarlet sage, this plant flowers all summer long and is great for containers.

Season of Bloom: Spring to fall

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water: Plant in evenly moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 10-11

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'Victoria Blue' Salvia

Salvia farinacea Victoria Blue deep purple flowers
David Goldberg

A standout selection bred in 1978, 'Victoria Blue' is popular for its long-lasting flowers that are great for cutting. These salvias tolerate partial shade better than most varieties. This variety will help you attract butterflies to your garden.

Season of Bloom: Spring to fall

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water: Plant in average, evenly moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 8-10

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'Cirrus' Salvia

Salvia farinacea Cirrus white flowers
Bob Lenz

'Cirrus' is a delightful selection bearing spikes of pure-white flowers all summer and autumn. Like other forms of blue salvia, it shines with silvery foliage and adapts to different soil types. It's a good selection for cutting and makes a wonderful accent to selections with deep blue flowers.

Season of Bloom: Spring to fall

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water: Plant in average, evenly moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 20 inches tall

Zones: 8-10

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'Evolution' Salvia

'Evolution' Salvia deep purple flowers
Ed Gohlich

The stunning variety, 'Evolution', won an All-America Selections award for its masses of deep violet-purple flowers appearing summer into fall. It's more compact than many other types of blue salvia and produces more flower spikes. Expand your garden's color combinations with this plant since its flowers are several shades lighter than other blue salvias.

Season of Bloom: Early summer to fall

Light: Full Sun

Water: Plant in well-drained soil

Size: Up to 16 inches tall

Zones: 8-10

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'Mystic Spires Blue' Salvia

'Mystic Spires Blue' Salvia deep purple flowers against brown fence
David Speer

One of the most heat- and drought-tolerant annuals, 'Mystic Spires' offers tall spikes of blue flowers throughout the summer. It's an excellent plant for attracting butterflies. Contrast this variety's rich blue flowers and upright habit with a silvery skirt of trailing licorice plant.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 7-10

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'Lady in Red' Salvia

'Lady in Red' Salvia flowers with rich green leaves
Peter Krumhardt

An All-America Selections award winner, 'Lady in Red' presents vibrant red spikes of flowers all summer long. The medium green, hairy leaves are roughly triangular in shape with scalloped edges. Adored by butterflies and hummingbirds, gardeners love it for its low care requirements and brilliant blooms. In containers for gardening, it is often used as a filler that provides a mass of flowers and foliage against larger plants.

Season of Bloom: Summer to fall

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in well-drained soil

Size: Up to 18 inches tall

Zones: 8-11

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'Coral Nymph' Salvia

Salvia coccinea 'Coral Nymph' light pink flowers
Peter Krumhardt

Long-blooming 'Coral Nymph' adorns itself in spikes of coral-pink flowers from early summer to frost. Native to areas of South America, it holds up to hot, humid conditions well, though it's not as drought-tolerant as many other salvias. It's a top pick for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.

Season of Bloom: Early summer

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in average, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 8-11

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Gentian Sage

Gentian Sage Salvia patens blue flowers
Laurie Black

If you love blue, you'll probably fall in love with gentian sage, a tender perennial with two-lipped blue flowers. Butterflies and hummingbirds love the two-inch-long flowers that are known as the brightest royal blue blooms in the plant world. Get double the true-blue effect by growing gentian sage with plumbago.

Season of Bloom: Summer to fall

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water: Plant in moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 8-10

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'Blue Angel' Sage

Salvia patens 'Blue Angel' flower
Peter Krumhardt

With its vividly blue flowers, 'Blue Angel' is a garden showstopper that may garner more attention from garden guests than the scores of hummingbirds and butterflies it attracts. It bears fuzzy green foliage on a well-branched, upright plant. Create an easy-growing but delicate-looking combo with 'Blue Angel' sage and Diamond Frost euphorbia.

Season of Bloom: Summer to fall

Light: Full Sun to partial shade

Water: Plant in moderate well-drained soil

Size: Up to 28 inches tall

Zones: 8-11

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Mexican Bush Sage

two spikes of mexican bush sage up close
Bill Stites

Grown as an annual in cold-winter climates to give gardens a fall finale, Mexican bush sage is a shrubby plant with velvet-like foliage and dense spikes of lavender-blue flowers. In warm-winter areas, this stunner blooms from winter to early spring. Gray-green leaves that are up to four inches long are paired up on this plant's square stems.

Season of Bloom: Late summer to frost

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in evenly, moist well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 8-10

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Pineapple Sage

Pineapple Sage Salvia elegans rich red flower
Peter Krumhardt

Rub one of pineapple sage's leaves and you'll be rewarded with a fresh, fruity scent. This fast-growing, fragrant plant supplies startlingly red flowers in fall. Grown as an annual in cool-season climates, pineapple sage is a perennial in warm-winter regions where it blooms from winter to spring.

Season of Bloom: Late summer to fall

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in even moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 4 feet tall

Zones: 8-10

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'Golden Delicious' Pineapple Sage

'Golden Delicious' Pineapple Sage yellow leaves with rich red flowers
Marty Baldwin

This pineapple sage bears all the great attributes of its sister but notches up the impact with its bright golden-chartreuse foliage. Noted for its pineapple aroma, 'Golden Delicious' features soft-hairy, light green leaves up to three inches long on square stems. Hummingbirds and butterflies love this plant's two-lipped bright red flowers that appear in stunning contrast to its yellow leaves.

Season of Bloom: Fall

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in even moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 8-10

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Silver Sage

Silver Sage Salvia argentea rich blue-green leaves
Julie Mikos

Try something entirely different with silver sage, grown for its stunning fuzzy foliage. A biennial, it has lovely leaves the first year and then blooms with clusters of white flowers the second year. It's so lovely, though, many gardeners cut the flowers off to keep the focus on the foliage. Make a bold impression by planting silver sage with cardoon, which also presents eye-catching silvery leaves.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in average, dry to medium well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 5-8

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May Night Salvia

May Night Salvia deep purple and yellow flowers
Stephen Cridland

The award-winning selection, May Night, offers spikes of deep blue-purple flowers in summer. If deadheaded, it reblooms. Leaves of this mint family member are aromatic, wrinkled and soft-hairy. Like most salvias, it's left alone by deer and rabbits and is a long-lasting cut flower. May Night salvia and 'Pomegranate' yarrow make a fuss-free, long-blooming combination that butterflies adore.

Season of Bloom: Spring

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 4-8

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East Friesland Salvia

East Friesland Salvia purple flowers
Mark Kane

A favorite for its long bloom season, East Friesland salvia is a mound-shape plant with spikes of violet-purple flowers in summer and fall. The notched, wrinkled, medium green to gray-green leaves are aromatic when bruised. For a classic blue and yellow flower garden idea, grow East Friesland salvia with 'Moonbeam' coreopsis.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 18 inches tall

Zones: 4-8

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'Plumosa' Salvia

Salvia nemorosa 'Plumosa' magenta flowers
Denny Schrock

Instead of thin spikes, 'Plumosa' salvia bears blooms in large purple plumes from early to late summer. This compact selection is perfect for the middle of a flower border. For added contrast, plant this salvia with the daisy-shape flowers of Pixie Meadowbrite purple coneflower.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 18 inches tall

Zones: 4-8

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'Hot Lips' Salvia

Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips' red and white flowers
Lynn Karlin

An eye-catcher for the sunny garden, 'Hot Lips' features off spikes of white flowers. Each bloom is marked with a kiss-shape red marking. A fast-growing selection, 'Hot Lips' looks great in beds, borders, and containers. Plant 'Hot Lips' with lavender to revel in a wonderful soft scent and bold, bright colors.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water: Plant in average moist to somewhat dry soil

Size: Up to 30 inches tall

Zones: 7-10

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Giant Purple Desert Sage

Salvia pachyphylla Mojave Sage deep pink flowers
Peter Krumhardt

Native to California, giant purple desert sage is rarely grown in gardens, though it deserves to be. It's wonderfully heat- and drought-tolerant, bearing clusters of lavender-purple flowers all summer and fall over evergreen silvery foliage. Plant delicate white gaura next to this salvia to add a graceful texture.

Season of Bloom: Summer to fall

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 5-9

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'Raspberry Delight' Salvia

Raspberry Delight Salvia bright red flowers
Peter Krumhardt

One of the longest-blooming salvias is 'Raspberry Delight'. It presents clusters of raspberry-red flowers all summer and fall. Like most salvias, it doesn't need much water and thrives in a sunny spot. Deer and rabbits leave it alone, but you'll rarely see it without a visit from a bee, butterfly, or hummingbird. The aromatic foliage has a sweet herbal scent.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 6-9

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Prairie Salvia

Blue Sage plant with rich green leaves
Chipper R. Hatter

Hailing from the prairies of North America, this salvia is an end-of-the-season stunner that produces tall spikes of lovely 2-lipped, sky blue flowers. It's great for cutting and a wonderful accent to mums, kale, and asters. Blue sage is a perfect planting partner for purple-leafed shrubs like Summer Wine ninebark.

Season of Bloom: Late summer

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in average, dry to medium well-drained soil

Size: Up to 5 feet tall

Zones: 5-9

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'Wendy's Wish' Salvia

'Wendy's Wish' Salvia rich pink flowers
Justin Hancock

Discovered in Australia, 'Wendy's Wish' shows off bright pink-purple flowers all spring, summer, and fall. It has a compact habit and makes for a wonderful cut flower. This hybrid is one of the great salvias for shade. For a colorful cottage garden look, try planting this salvia next to 'Black and Blue'.

Season of Bloom: Late spring to early fall

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in evenly moist to dry, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 4 feet tall

Zones: 9-11

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Yugoslavian Cut Leaf Sage

Serbian Sage Salvia jurisicii light purple flowers
Denny Schrock

The low-growing salvia, Yugoslavian Cut Leaf Sage, is perfect for the front of the perennial border thanks to its fine-textured, feathery foliage and late-spring display of lavender-blue flowers. In especially hot, dry areas it may go dormant for the summer unless you keep it well watered. Add bright summer-long color by growing this sage with 'Oranges and Lemons' gaillardia.

Season of Bloom: Late spring

Light: Full sun

Water: Plant in well-drained soil

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 6-9

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Purple Knockout Sage

Purple Knockout Sage orange plants by landscaping rock
Marty Baldwin

One of the few salvias grown for its foliage instead of its flowers, 'Purple Knockout' presents a low mound of deep purple leaves. It does bloom, but the white summertime flowers aren't particularly significant, though they do attract bees and butterflies. If you don't deadhead it, 'Purple Knockout' may self-seed, acting like a perennial groundcover. To add more color to your garden, contrast this sage's burgundy foliage with variegated 'Tequila Sunrise' coreopsis.

Season of Bloom: Late spring/early summer

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water: Plant in well-drained soil

Size: Up to 18 inches tall

Zones: 4-9

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Purple Sage

Purple Sage Salvia leucophylla lavender flowers against green leafy background
Ed Gohlich

Typically found on dry hillsides and in gravelly soils, purple sage, is tough, easy to grow and beautiful. Its highly aromatic lavender-purple flowers sit atop lush grey-green foliage and are attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds. Extremely drought-tolerant, purple sage makes a lovely silver foliage accent in native plant gardens.

Season of Bloom: Spring to early summer

Light: Full sun

Water: Drought-Tolerant

Size: Up to 5 feet tall

Zones: 8-11

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