Virtues: Caradonna salvia is a popular variety thanks to its long bloom time and its bright purple flowers that stand out against their dark purple stems. It feeds bees and butterflies but resists deer and rabbits.
Common name: ‘Caradonna’ salvia, ‘Caradonna’ ornamental sage
Botanical name: Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’
Exposure: Full sun.
Season: Summer, for flowers.
Flowers: Small, tubular bright purple flowers line tall stalks throughout summer. The flower stems are dark purple, providing a nice contrast to the vivid blossoms.
Habit: Herbaceous perennial reaching 18 to 36 inches tall in bloom and 24 inches wide. It forms a low clump of foliage that stands about 12 inches tall.
Origins: ‘Caradonna’ is a selection of the species Salvia nemorosa, which is native to Europe and western Asia. It was introduced by Germany’s Zillmer Nursery.
How to grow Caradonna salvia: Site in full sun and average soil with good drainage. This salvia tolerates drought once established, but blooms for a longer period if it receives regular moisture. The plant can be cut back to its low clump of foliage after blooming has ceased. USDA Zones 4–8.