Mealycup Sage, Texas Violet
Thought of as drought-tolerant shrubs in much of the West, this huge genus—the largest in the mint family—includes many species of shrubs and perennials that need moderate to regular water. In recent years, scores of new species and selections have appeared in Western nurseries, many tender varieties that are even being offered as annuals in cold-winter climates. All sages have square stems and whorls of two-lipped flowers, either distinctly spaced along flower stalks or so tightly crowded that they look like one dense spike; some species have branched inflorescences. Flower colors range from white and yellow through salmon and pink to scarlet and pure red, from pale lavender to true blue and darkest purple. A few sages have fragrant blossoms. Many have aromatic foliage.
Nurseries in the West offer nearly 100 species as well as dozens of selections and hybrids. Names are often confused; S. x jamensis varieties are often assigned to S. greggii; and S. nemorosa varieties are often interchanged with S. x superba and S. x sylvestris varieties.Salvia farinacea
Usually grown as annuals. Native to southern New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. Upright growth to 3–4 ft. tall and half as wide. Narrowly lance-shaped leaves to 3 in. long are smooth above, woolly white below. Tall, densely packed spikes of 3/4–1-in. flowers on stems 6–12 in. long, late spring to frost. Blossom color varies from deep violet-blue to white; cuplike calyxes are covered with white hairs, often have a blue or violet tinge. Many strains are sold for bedding and container use; typically have heavier bloom, better branching, and a more compact habit.
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