Violet shrub sage, Canyon sage, Royal violet sage, Salvia lycoides: plant, cultivate, multiply

Salvia lycoides, purple shrub sage, is a beautiful and thin sage recently introduced into cultivation. Drought tolerant, this perennial blooms in spring and fall, easy to grow.

Violet Shrub Sage, Canyon Sage, Royal Violet Sage, Salvia lycoides


Scientific N. Salvia lycoides

Synonyms Salvia ramosisssima

Origin North America, Mexico

Flowering never November

Flowers blue, purple



Foliage lapsed

Height50 90cm

Plant and cultivate

Hardiness hardy, to -12C

Exposition sunny partial shade

Sollimestone, sandy, clayey-silty

Acidity slightly acidic slightly alkaline

Humidity draining, normal dry

useclump, mate, low hedge


Violet Shrub Sage, Canyon Sage, Royal Violet Sage, Salvia lycoides

Salvia lycoides, purple shrub sage or as the Americans call it canyon sage, is one of the small bush sages, so colorful and so resistant. Salvia lycoides belongs to the big family Lamiaceae, aromatic and mellifère. It is distributed in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico, growing mainly in limestone soil, on slopes or clinging to cliffs.

It’s a species relatively xerophyte, adapted to dry soils, but more tolerant of water than many other shrub sage. Fact, Salvia lycoides is ideal for flowering difficult soils as long as they are draining or for pot culture. This species quite compact is relatively new in culture.

Description of purple shrub sage

Salvia lycoides is a small shrub sage, a sub-shrub: it shows a lignified stump, but with stems that remain thin and persist in winter. His aromatic foliage and slightly sticky is however lapsed, unless it does not freeze in winter. The plant eventually rises up to 120 cm, but most often cut back each year it is limited to about 30/50 cm in height for 50 cm in width, therefore as wide as it is high, losing this slightly too vertical rigidity of the sage of the microphylla group. Bushy and low, its shape is for example more orderly than autumn sage, Salvia gregii.

Its thin twigs bear small, opposite leaves. They are short-stalked with a narrow lanceolate blade elongated 3 cm, greyish-green in color, finely tomentose.

The flowers, whorled, appear in terminal spikes bristling, but radiating in all directions.

Its small flowers show a large, intense and luminous purplish blue lower bilabiate lip. They are fragrant and nectariferous, attract many pollinating insects, including the butterflies and the bees, and even the hummingbirds in america.

Purple shrub sage blooms from May to November, but most abundantly in spring and late summer / fall.

Fertilized, the flowers each produce 2 rounded seeds.

Varieties grown from Salvia lycoides

  • Salvia ‘Blue Note’, with dark blue flowers, is a hybrid Come in Salvia chamaedryoides and Salvia lycoides.
  • Salvia greggii x lycioides, purple, is called autumn sage.

How to grow and use purple shrub sage?

Salvia lycoides prefer one draining soil, which does not stay wet for too long after a rain or watering. It accepts gravelly, calcareous, sandy, or even loamy or partly clayey soils, because it supports humidity more than autumn sage Salvia gregii. This is why it also works very well in more oceanic climates. It thrives in full sun or partial shade. It is a plant easy to grow, which can live for more than ten years.

Hardiness: well rooted and in sufficiently draining soil, Salvia lycoides is rustic down to -12 ° C. Purple shrub sage is also vigorous and flowering enough in the first year to be used as an annual in areas where it is too cold in winter.

Its main quality is endure summer drought and heat, which becomes a big advantage with our increasingly scorching summers. It will preferably be planted in the spring so that it takes advantage of the spring rains and all the beautiful season afterwards to settle down before facing its first winter.

Violet shrub sage forms tufts spiky with spikes of small vibrant colored flowers, especially in spring and autumn, when the nights show a certain freshness.

It is very interesting in the ground for green an embankment, a slope, or one dry massif. In a large pot, with drainage, it forgives watering forgotten or absences during the holidays.

Interview : A few waterings can allow it to flower sporadically in the summer, but the best is to associate it with other plants which will take over and cast off half new year stems in early summer when it is less flowering. Thus, its branches branch out and the tuft thickens even more for the fall flowering. Likewise, this treatment keeps this beautiful sage even more compact and orderly.

Each spring, before it produces new leaves, or just as they are budding, purple shrub sage is severely pruned, well down, to allow it to renew all of its stems simultaneously. It will have a much more regular shape.

How to multiply Salvia lycoides ?

Take advantage of spring or summer pruning to simply cut off what you have pruned. Half bury each cut branch, in a pot, if possible under a frame in spring, but smothered if the branches are already leafy. Background heat can speed up the rooting process, but is not necessary.

In July, when the cuttings are very numerous, test the cuttings directly in the ground with regular watering. Out of quantity, there will always be a few that will pick up.

Sowing Salvia lycoides : the seeds germinate placed on a substrate draining, but kept moist (cover) and at 20 ° C. But you need patience, it can take 3 months before you get a first germination.

Species and varieties of Salvia

About 100 species in this genus, shrubby, evergreen or deciduous

  • Salvia discolor, with very dark flowers
  • Salvia patens, meadow sage
  • Salvia nemorosa, an easy perennial
  • Sage ruler, red mountain sage
  • Salvia greggii, autumn sage
  • Salvia uliginosa, la sauge uligineuse
  • Salvia microphylla, Graham sage
Plants of the same genus

Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by

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