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Prairies to Perennials

An almanac of all things that grow in Lincoln's backyard.
Mexican bush sage
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Worth Waiting For...

Posted by Jennifer Fishburn - Herbs

Worth Waiting For....

There are many annual and perennial sages commonly found in gardens in spring and summer. They are reliable bloomers in reds, blues, and other colors and fill a variety of landscape needs. SeveralĀ Salvia species are easy to grow, relatively trouble free, and pollinator friendly.

Two members of the Salvia family that are hardy in zones 8 to 10, Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) and Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha),grow into large,showy plants. Unfortunately in central Illinois, they do not begin blooming until late summer, but continue to bloom until frost.

Pineapple Sage has brilliant 6-inch red flowers and a distinctive pineapple scent. Both flowers and leaves have a pineapple aroma and flavor and can be used in food and drink and it is a favorite of hummingbirds. Potted plants can be brought indoors before frost. Plants can be placed in a cool, sunny window.

Mexican Bush Sage starts as an unassuming green plant and grows to 3 to 4' tall. As late summer arrives, it hasa growing spurt producing long velvety gray leaves. It finally produces blooms on eight to ten inch bright purple and white spikes. An early frost can make this a short-lived display, however this year we have had about 6 weeks of blooms. It's glorious, though, and worth the wait. Hummingbirds and butterflies frequent the blossoms. This plant can be grown from seed or cuttings taken in late summer.

Mexican Bush Sage and Pineapple Sage are planted in the University of Illinois Extension Herb Demonstration Garden located in front of building #30 on the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, Illinois.

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