Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Senior Horticultural Interpreter.
The angular, pointed leaves of this sage are unmistakably arrow-head shaped and it’s no surprise that both the common and botanical names refer to this characteristic. The Latin word for arrow is sagitta and Salvia sagittata translates as “the sage with arrow-shaped leaves.”
The foliage alone is interesting enough but, as can be seen in the Flower Garden this month, the plant produces flowers of an intense blue; perhaps the closest to a true blue of any bloom in the garden.
Native to high elevations in the Andes of Peru, Chile and Ecuador, it can survive chilly temperatures—but sadly not the frigid, but periodically wet, winters we experience here. Knowing this, our gardeners take cuttings from the parent plants each summer and start tiny new plants in pots. These occupy minimal space in our crowded greenhouses during the winter months but are ready by spring to be planted out in the garden, where they grow and flower again by the following summer.
The last two shots show it blooming in the foreground in the Flower Garden, looking southwest and west.