Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.

February 16, 2016: Botany Photo of the Day will return this spring with a new format similar to the new UBC Botanical Garden web site. In the meantime, please enjoy the restored content!

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

The oft-misspelled Salvia guaranitica (a search for Salvia guarantica – note the absent “i”) is native to South America. This cultivar, 'Black and Blue', was selected for its nearly-black stems and calyces. Known commonly as blue anise-sage or sapphire sage, Salvia guaranitica is a popular and striking plant in gardens. Paghat has an as-always excellent article about Salvia guaranitica where you can learn more about this plant if you find yourself considering it for your garden.

I should mention that the orange in the background of today's photograph is from Kniphofia triangularis, another eye-catching ornamental.

Photography resource link: for inspiration, the photography of Robert Glenn Ketchum.


Salvia guaranitica - Z9 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths
Salvia guaranitica - Z8-10 - A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Brickell, Cole, Zuk

This beautiful salvia appears to be identical to my salvia shrub with the exception that mine has its blossoms in a very brilliant scarlet, although a nearby firm propagates both this intense blue as well as the brilliant scarlet which was obtained from the UC Santa Cruz botany department. I don't know if mine is the same as this featured salvia species. In my semi-desert area of California, this plant grows to approximately 10 feet in height by perhaps the same in width. During the 12 years I have had these salvias, I have never watered or fertilized them: they simply grow their grayish green somewhat sticky foliage while seeming continuously in bloom, much to the delight of birds.

Oops! Thanks max, I intended to include that link in the entry. Missed it.

I've known this plant so long I'd not even noticed it was a friend before I even realised all plants had a name one could know them by. Thank you for telling me its name!

They are almost weedlike at my grandmother's in Argentina, and I've always thought they looked like wee blue snakes, fangs and everything!

Thanks so much for the picture of this exquisite beauty. I'd picked up a plant fairly late this season at my local Boston nursery, whereupon I lost the tag. As this is our favorite family color, we have been overwhelmed by its' beauty and generosity, offering us a second, even greater profusion of blooms in Mid-October, as the rest of the garden faded. I simply had to find it again, and your site did the job! Be well.

This wonderful plant is thriving in my zone 7, south-facing front yard in a raised garden in partial shade. I just put it in last year and it's already large and floriforous at the end of May. I did cover it when we had those cold nights in March. I don't have to stake it, apparently because the winter daphne in front of it is holding it up. They are nice together; similar good greens and the winter daphne does it's show first, before the black & blue is doing anything.

I am having problems finding where I can buy this plant. Can you help me? It was beautiful last year in my garden.
Thanks - Kathy Wostal

Hi Kathy, I generally ask gardening / horticulture questions to be asked on the forums (see link above "Post a Comment") since I'm not a horticulturist and you'll get a wider audience for your query there.

Would this be an annual in Texas?? I live in Missoui and it is an annual but just love it--so do the hummingbirds. Thanks

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