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Mealy Cup Sage

Salvia farinacea

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Mealy Cup Sage (Salvia farinacea) at Echter's Nursery & Garden Center

Mealy Cup Sage in bloom

Mealy Cup Sage in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Mealy Cup Sage (Salvia farinacea) at Echter's Nursery & Garden Center

Mealy Cup Sage flowers

Mealy Cup Sage flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height:  14 inches

Flower Height:  24 inches

Spacing:  12 inches

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  (annual)

Other Names:  Mealycup Sage


Brilliant but delicate blue-lipped violet flowers are borne above the unusual shiny green foliage on this late blooming perennial; ideal for the edge of the border and container plantings; planted as an annual in colder climates

Ornamental Features

Mealy Cup Sage has masses of beautiful spikes of fragrant violet flowers with blue overtones rising above the foliage from late summer to mid fall, which are most effective when planted in groupings. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its glossy narrow leaves remain green in color throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Mealy Cup Sage is an herbaceous annual with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season's flowers. It is a good choice for attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Mealy Cup Sage is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Mealy Cup Sage will grow to be about 14 inches tall at maturity extending to 24 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 14 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 12 inches apart. Although it's not a true annual, this plant can be expected to behave as an annual in our climate if left outdoors over the winter, usually needing replacement the following year. As such, gardeners should take into consideration that it will perform differently than it would in its native habitat.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is native to parts of North America. It can be propagated by division.

Mealy Cup Sage is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Massing  Edging  Garden  Container 
Flowers  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features

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