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Hummingbird Sage, Crimson Sage, Pitcher Sage

Salvia spathacea

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salvia (SAL-vee-uh) (Info)
Species: spathacea (spath-ay-SEE-uh) (Info)
» View all varieties of Salvias




18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Bloom Color:

Fuchsia (Red-Purple)

Bloom Time:

Late Fall/Early Winter

Mid Winter



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Amesti, California

Chico, California (2 reports)

Grass Valley, California

Long Beach, California

Malibu, California

Oak Park, California

Paradise, California

Richmond, California

Sacramento, California

Ventura, California

Eugene, Oregon

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 4, 2013, MulchingMan from Eugene, OR wrote:

This is one of the few California sages that really excels in the Pacific Northwest. Mine do nicely in our thick clay in partial shade/partial sun. They seem to appreciate a little summer water (maybe twice a month) after establishment. As the name implies, hummingbirds like to work the magenta flowers.


On Jul 12, 2013, Siirenias from Oak Park, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Dry, shade-loving plant.

Too much water will make it sick, but well-drained soil and a relatively dry summer will yield a gently spreading bed of sticky, fragrant foliage. The fragrance is spicy and strongly fruity.

Tolerates a wide range of conditions, but it prefers Zone 9-11, in partial shade, and moderate to no irrigation once established.

Puts forth flower clusters as big as a child's fist up to softball size, with very long, narrow magenta flowers. Vital food source for hummingbirds when in bloom, and may bloom again if given an after-flowering trim and just a little summer water.

Somewhat herbaceous, flowering stalks will be replaced, sometimes rapidly, by new rhizomes.


On Jun 22, 2012, ogon from Paradise, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

A pretty CA native Salvia. S. spathacea has lush light green leaves that contrast nicely with the magenta blooms. The blooms last a long time and are attractive to wildlife, though they don't seem to garner as much attention from my Anna's and Rufous hummingbirds as the Epilobium canum. It appears to be evergreen, at least in my zone.