AskIFAS Powered by EDIS

Salvia guarantica Sapphire Sage, Sapphire Salvia1

Edward F. Gilman and David Marshall 2


Salvia guarantica is an herbaceous perennial that bears one of the largest flowers of the salvias (Fig. 1). This 3-foot-tall upright plant has dark green foliage that adds a fine texture to the garden. Its rich dark-blue to violet-blue flowers appear throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons.

Figure 1. Sapphire sage
Figure 1.  Sapphire sage

General Information

Scientific name: Salvia guarantica
Pronunciation: SAL-vee-uh gar-RAN-tick-kuh
Common name(s): sapphire sage, sapphire salvia
Family: Labiatae
Plant type: perennial; herbaceous
USDA hardiness zones: 7 through 11 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 7: Jun; Jul
Planting month for zone 8: May; Jun; Jul
Planting month for zone 9: Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: cut flowers; border; edging; mass planting; attracts butterflies; attracts hummingbirds; hanging basket; cascading down a wall
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2.  Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 1 to 2 feet
Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Plant habit: round
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: fine


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: serrate
Leaf shape: ovate
Leaf venation: pinnate; reticulate
Leaf type and persistence: semi-evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: not applicable
Fall characteristic: not applicable


Flower color: dark-blue; violet-blue
Flower characteristic: spring flowering; summer flowering; fall flowering; flower season is longer in zones 9-11


Fruit shape: unknown
Fruit length: unknown
Fruit cover: unknown
Fruit color: unknown
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: thin


Light requirement: plant grows in full sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; alkaline; sand; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 18 to 24 inches


Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

Sapphire sage may be used as a specimen in a small garden, but is most attractive in mass plantings in most residential and commercial landscapes. Space plants about 15 inches apart to establish a quick cover.

Place the sapphire sage in an area of the landscape where it can receive full sun to partial shade. It favors well-drained soils and is quite drought tolerant. Both the tops and roots of Salvia guarantica are generally unscathed by freezing temperatures in all but the coldest parts of Florida. Freezing temperatures kill the plant to the ground in the northern part of its range.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern.


1. This document is FPS525, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and David Marshall, agricultural Extension agent and program leader, UF/IFAS Extension Leon County; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #FPS525

Date: 10/4/2015

      Organism ID


      • Gail Hansen de Chapman