Salvia really deserves a great deal of love. It is a huge family, all the sages. They tend to be drought tolerant, and I have had luck with them in the tropics as well as in temperate climates. They are deer resistant and hummingbird favorites.
This year, I bought a few Black and Blue salvia. I have admired this plant ever since I first spotted it in my sister-in-law’s garden many years back. The hummingbirds adore these plants, and I have daily visitors. Hearing that low hum of hummingbird wings while you garden is pretty magical. For that very reason, I am hooked, the intense blue purple is also quite intoxicating of a color. They are an annual here in Zone 5, so I will save the root ball and plant them out next year.
Garden sage is a short lived perennial for zone 5. The one I planted in our old Chicago garden made it to at least 9 years old. The herb is good in pasta, on meats, and on roasted root veggies. Think Thanksgiving and stuffing. After the second year, you will likely see flowers and can harvest seed to grow more. To keep it thriving year after year, wait for signs of life in Spring (greening of the stems and leafing out) and then cut the woody stems severely back to that initial growth. This will promote new growth, so it can become a delightful small, herbal shrub.
Pineapple sage is very refreshing as a tea, thanks to its leaves. This annual starts off small but can grow to be about 3-4 ft wide and just as tall by autumn. Planted in full sun, it’ll produce red flowers, also loved by hummingbirds and bees. Propagate this sage from cuttings of non flowering soft stems. It is not cold hardy, so cuttings are your best bet to have it year after year.
There are a multitude of perennial salvias in white, pinks, and purples. A favorite of mine is Caradonna. It has dark stems and purple flowers, making it quite striking. After just a few years, you can divide any of the perennial types to have many more plants!
Most salvias prefer full sun, but some are tolerant of part shade. I am looking forward to starting some clary sage this coming year based solely on its aromatic qualities. Clary sage oil is often thought to reduce stress and to enhance your mood. Just what I need! It should be a short lived perennial here for zone 5, but I will have to comment on that in the future.