Darcy’s Mexican sage

Story and Photos by Alan Pulley

Salvias have always been one of my favorite garden plants. With all the different types and countless varieties, there is a salvia for every gardener. I came across a new salvia a couple of years ago that quickly become one of my favorites – Darcy’s Mexican sage (Salvia darcyi). When given plenty of room and full sun, this salvia grows into a huge clump – up to 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide – of heart-shaped, softly hairy light green leaves. From early summer to fall, the clump is topped by spikes of bright orange red flowers. The blooms resemble those of the more common autumn sage (S. greggii) and are much loved by hummingbirds, as well as other garden visitors.

When given plenty of room, Salvia darcyi makes a stunning statement in the garden.

Quick Facts and Keys to Success
Common Name(s): Darcy’s Mexican sage, Darcy’s sage, red mountain sage, fiery sage
Botanical Name: Salvia darcyi syn. S. oresbia
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 6-10
Color: Light green, heart-shaped leaves topped by spikes of bright orange red flowers
Blooming Period: Early summer to fall
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Mature Size: 4 feet tall, 6 feet wide
Exposure: Full sun
When to Plant: Fall or spring
Soil: Medium to well drained 
Watering: Regularly until the roots are established. Once established, this salvia is drought tolerant; however, will flower more vigorously with an occasional watering during dry periods.
When to Prune: Darcy’s Mexican sage dies back to the ground in winter. In late winter or early spring, trim stems back to the ground.
When to Fertilize: Usually not necessary. However, a light, balanced organic fertilizer in spring may be beneficial.
In Your Landscape: Sunny bed or border, hummingbird or pollinator garden.

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