#TeachingTuesday: Meadow/Wood Sage
Meadow or wood sage is a generic name for a few species of salvia that are similar. It includes Salvia nemerosa, Salvia pratensis, Salvia x sylvestris, and many other hybrids. Other common names applied to these sages include: violet sage, clary sage, meadow clary, Balkan clary, purple flowering sage, perennial woodland sage, or just salvia. Diverse plant groups like sage really underscore the importance of using Latin names when referring to one particular plant—one common name can refer to many different plants, and one plant may have many different common names. Technically, there’s no such thing as an “incorrect” common name. For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to all of these similar salvias as meadow sage in this post.
Meadow sage is a great, low-maintenance perennial for gardens in full sun. Gravelly or sandy soils are best for growing meadow sage, with regular moisture or slightly on the drier side, but they will also tolerate dry soils or even clay as long as it doesn’t stay too wet. Salvias are also tolerant of deer and air pollution, so they work well both in rural and urban areas. Like all plants in the Salvia genus, meadow sage has an aromatic scent to the leaves when they are bruised or crushed. Meadow sage blooms almost all summer long, from June to September or even later. The flowers are in the purple/blue range, with some white varieties available. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are attracted to the blooms. The mounding form of the foliage and the tall, thin flower spikes lend interest to perennial borders, cottage gardens, and natural plantings. Add one or two plants to a vegetable garden or raised beds to help attract pollinators and add some color. You can also use the cut flowers in arrangements.