Anise-scented Sage
Salvia guaranitica

Common Name: anise-scented sage

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Family: Lamiaceae

Zone: 8 to 10

Native Range: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay

Height: 2 to 5 feet

Spread: 2 to 5 feet

Bloom Time: July to October

Bloom Color: Blue

Bloom Description: Deep blue with purple-blue calyx

Sun: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Low

Flowers: Showy Flowers

Leaves: Fragrant

Wildlife: Attracts Butterflies

Tolerates: Deer

Uses: Suitable as Annual


Blue anise sage is winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10. In St. Louis, it should be grown as an annual in average, evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It prefers organically rich loams. If grown in too much shade, plant stems tend to elongate and fall over. Plant height can be reduced by cutting back stems in late spring. Seed should be started indoors 6-8 weeks before last spring frost date. Plants grown from seed sown directly in the ground after last spring frost date may bloom very late. Set out seedlings or purchased plants after last frost date. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional bloom. If desired, cut back and pot up several plants in fall or take cuttings in late summer for overwintering in a bright but cool sunny window. Plants grown in protected locations with winter mulch may occasionally survive a mild winter in USDA Zones 6-7.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Salvia guaranitica (sometimes called blue anise sage) is native to Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina. It is a tender perennial or subshrub that exhibits a bushy, somewhat open habit with upright, branching, square, dark green stems typically growing 3-5’ tall. When grown as an annual, plant height is shorter, more often in the 2.5-3’ area. Two-lipped, tubular, deep blue flowers (to 2” long) with purple-blue calyxes bloom in axillary and terminal spikes (to 10” long) from mid summer into fall. Ovate, wrinkled, pointed, lightly-toothed, dark green leaves (2-5” long) are paler green below. When bruised, the foliage has a very mild aroma that has very little if any anise scent.


No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to downy and powdery mildew.

Garden Uses

Beds, borders and cottage gardens.


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Salvia guaranitica

Rebecca Jordi
Horticulture Agent IV
County Extension Director
Contributing Editor