Salvia guaranitica (SAL-vee-uh, gwar-uh-NYE-tik-uh) or Brazilian Sage is an herbaceous perennial plant hailing from Northern Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.
The Salvia plant is a member of the Lamiaceae family.
The plants’ genus name, Salvia, is derived from the Latin, salveo, which means “to heal or save” and is also the root of the English word “salve.”
Plants in the Salvia genus are known to have medicinal and curative properties.
One very popular cultivar, which features nearly black foliage and deep blue flowers are commonly called “Black & Blue Salvia.”
Other common names include:
- Anise-Scented Sage
- Hummingbird Sage
- Blue Anise Sage
- Brazilian Sage
Other Salvia Plants you May Like:
- Salvia Splendens Care – Scarlet Sage
- Salvia Nemorosa Care – Woodland Sage
- Salvia Chamaedryoides Care – Germander Sage
- Salvia Amistad – The Friendship Sage
Salvia Guaranitica Care
Size & Growth
Blue Anise Sage may be grown as an annual, biennial, or perennial plant depending upon the climate.
When kept as a perennial, it may reach a height of 6′ feet in two years.
In areas with colder climates, where it is kept as an annual, it may top out at 3′ or 4′ feet high in its single season.
The oval, slightly pointed, deep green leaves are between 2″ and 5″ inches long.
They have a wrinkly texture and slight serration along the edges.
When the leaves are bruised, they emit a mild, anise aroma.
Flowering & Fragrance
The showy, dark blue flowers are tubular, two-lipped, and about 2″ inches long.
They bloom in spiky clusters from the middle of the summer into the autumn months.
The fragrant blossoms are very attractive to butterflies and other pollinators.
Light & Temperature
Salvia does well in full sun to partial shade, but is more robust and hardy, and produces more blooms, in full sun.
Too little sun causes plants to become leggy and fall over.
Anise Scented Sage is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 10.
With heavy mulch, they may survive winters in zones 6 and 7, especially if planted in a sheltered setting.
Watering & Feeding
Hummingbird Sage does well with deep, weekly watering.
During very hot, dry weather, watering twice a week may be necessary.
These plants do their best with high humidity (about 50%).
Planted in the landscape, Brazilian Sage needs little or no fertilizer, and too much fertilizer will reduce blooming.
Container plants should be fertilized monthly with a mixture of one gallon of water and two tablespoons of balanced, water-soluble, 20-20-20 fertilizer.
Take care not to allow the mixture to splash onto the foliage or flowers.
Soil & Transplanting
Blue Anise Sage likes well-draining, loamy, organically rich soil with a slightly acidic pH level (5.5-6.5).
Mulch deeply with organic compost to hold moisture in the soil and protect plants’ roots during the winter.
Set out young plants after all danger of frost has passed.
Grooming & Maintenance
Deadhead flowers throughout bloom time to encourage more blooms.
When Black & Blue Sage has finished blooming, simply cut it down to the ground.
Do this a couple of times a year to stimulate new growth and more blooms.
If you want to control the height of the plant, cut it back to slightly shorter than the desired height late in the springtime.
How To Propagate Blue Anise Sage
Grow Blue Anise Sage indoors from seed late in the winter and set the seedlings out in the springtime, but it is best to propagate this plant from softwood cuttings taken in the springtime.
Alternatively, take semi-ripe cuttings during the middle of the summer.
Take your cuttings when the plant is well-hydrated, but it should not be in an overwatered state.
This can cause your cuttings to rot.
Plant the cuttings in slightly moist soil, and keep them in a warm, well-ventilated area with bright, indirect light until new growth is established.
In the autumn, plant the cuttings in their own pots to overwinter indoors until time to set them out in the spring.
Keep plants in a cool, sunny window through the winter months.
Blue Anise Sage Main Pest or Disease Problems
When grown in a setting with ample sun and ventilation and well-draining soil, Salvia is fairly trouble-free.
If kept in the shade, overwatered or overcrowded, expect trouble with legginess, powdery and downy mildew and root rot.
Be sure to remove weeds, prune your plants regularly, and promptly remove any plant showing signs of fungal infection.
An application of copper spray occasionally during the growing season can deter fungal infections.
Whiteflies may be problematic for Black & Blue Sage.
If you see signs of them, try knocking them off with a strong stream of water from the hose.
If they return, you may need to address them with a Neem oil spray or a stronger insecticidal soap spray.
Is The Hummingbird Sage Plant Toxic Or Poisonous?
Hummingbird Sage is non-toxic and is edible; although, it does not have a lot of flavor.
Is Guaranitica Invasive?
The Salvia guaranitica cultivar is not an invasive plant, but other types of sage or salvia are.
Suggested Salvia Guaranitica Uses
Blue Anise Sage is a pretty, easy to grow, deer tolerant plant.
It is an excellent choice for a butterfly or pollinator garden, a country garden, or cottage garden.
It does well as a back border with shorter plants in front.
Individual plants can grow to an impressive height kept as specimen plants in containers.