Common Name: anise-scented sage
Type: Herbaceous perennial
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
Flowers: Showy Flowers
Wildlife: Attracts Butterflies
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.
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.
Beds, borders and cottage gardens.
Horticulture Agent IV
County Extension Director