Blue Hill Salvia

Growing Tips, Plant Features

Blue Hill salvia in bloom.
David Beaulieu

Blue is a valued color in the garden, and you will value Blue Hill salvia as a plant that reliably provides this serene color. The plant is easy to grow. For one thing, one of the garden's worst pests is not interested in eating it.

Taxonomy and Plant Type for Blue Hill Salvia

Even experts in plant taxonomy have a difficult time deciding on the botanical name of Blue Hill salvia plants. You will encounter all of the following scientific names for the plant:

  • Salvia x superba Blue Hill
  • Salvia x sylvestris Blue Hill
  • Salvia x sylvestris Blauhügel
  • Salvia nemorosa Blue Hill
  • Salvia nemerosa Blue Hill

They sometimes bear the common plant name, "garden sage" or "meadow sage." Blue Hill is the cultivar name. This cultivar was originally developed by a German plant developer named Ernst Pagels. It was marketed in Germany as Blauhugel. That translates into Blue Hill in English.

Blue Hill salvia plants are herbaceous perennials.

Traits and Plant Care

These perennials put out small, lavender-blue flowers on spikes and reach 18 to 20 inches in height, with a spread a bit less than that. The flowers are a lighter color than those found on May Night salvia and Caradonna salvia (closer to a true blue). This is apparently why "blue" was incorporated into the cultivar name.

Bordeau and Blue Spires are two more cultivars that are reasonably blue in color. Salvia guaranitica Black and Blue is an even nicer blue, but it is cold-hardy only to USDA planting zone 8, meaning that someone in a colder climate can grow it only as an annual.

If you deadhead Blue Hill salvia flowers, the plants will flower all summer long. These perennials tend to flop over at the sides. To support them for a better display, consider encasing the plants in a peony ring. Another way to solve the problem of support is to plant them close enough to other perennials in your flower bed that there is no room for flopping over (neighboring plants will support them). If you wish to avoid altogether worrying about supporting them, consider growing either May Night or Caradonna, instead: Both tend to stay more erect than does Blue Hill.

Other Colors for Perennial Salvia Flowers

Blue and purple are the most common colors for perennial salvia plants (red is the most common for the annual version), but they do come in other colors. In fact, you can grow the red-white-blue color triad with perennial salvia. They will not have the same hardiness or bloom time, though, so if you are looking to achieve that color combination, it would be better to mix Blue Hill with annual salvia plants that flower in red and white.

If you are interested in growing red or white perennial salvias in their own right, here is some information on two types:

  • Texas sage (Salvia coccinea), is a perennial in zones 8 to 10. A good cultivar of this plant is Forest Fire, which reaches 1 to 2 feet high, with a similar spread. Native to the United States, it should be grown in full sun in zone 8, but it likes partial sun in zones 9 and 10. "Forest Fire" is so named because its red color is even more brilliant than it is on the species plant.
  • Victoria White salvia (Salvia farinacea Victoria White) is the white version of Victoria Blue salvia. It is a perennial in zones 9 to 11. Grow it in full sun. The species plant is another American native. Its measurements are 2 feet tall and wide.

Sun and Soil Needs, Growing Zones for Blue Hill Salvia

Grow Blue Hill salvia flowers in well-drained soil. The plants will grow best in a spot that receives full sun. This is a drought-tolerant perennial. But, as with most plants, it will be necessary to pay attention to young specimens to make sure that they are sufficiently irrigated.

Blue Hill salvia flowers are best grown in USDA planting zones 4 to 8.

Uses for Blue Hill Salvia, Plus Wildlife and Pest Information

Some gardeners like the smell of salvia foliage, but many do not. If you fall into the former camp, Blue Hill salvia leaves are "fragrant" enough to warrant drying, so that you may include them in potpourris.

Being of intermediate height, these perennials can work well in either the front row or the middle row of a flower border or other planting bed, depending on the heights of the surrounding plants.

Blue Hill salvia flowers are plants that attract butterflies and bees. Fortunately, deer are not attracted to these plants, making them deer-resistant perennials.