California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Salvia spathacea - Hummingbird Sage

Salvia spathacea is one of the first plants to bloom in the Oak Woodland each winter. The list of plants that can grow well under oak trees is limited because shade plants often require more water than the oak's roots can survive. Because Hummingbird Sage is a natural component of the oak woodland it can thrive on what makes other plants wilt. Salvia spathacea does look better with a little additional summer water but not so much that it might damage the Oaks. I water when there are cool cycles between the heat spells. In this case a little goes a long way. The natural analogue to this irrigation would be fog drip off the trees. Problems with the plants often relate to hot weather and excess water with inadequate drying between watering cycles. Other common names that are applied to this plant are Crimson Sage and Pitcher Sage. Salvia spathacea is a great addition to the Butterfly Garden attracting the Coudless Sulfur, the California Dogface, Sara Orangetip, Umber Skipper Butterfly, and the Northern White Skipper as well as the Hummingbird Garden, as one might expect from the name. This sage is a great choice for attracting hummingbirds

Salvia spathacea, the Hummingbird Sage

Flowers and foliage of Salvia spathacea, Hummingbird Sage. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

Other plants that grow in the same part of the garden from our Wildflower List
Clarkia unguiculata
Collinsia heterophylla
Collinsia tinctoria
Dodecatheon clevelandii
Heuchera maxima
Paeonia californica
Pholistoma auritum
Silene laciniata
Sisyrinchium bellum