Most salvias are prized for their flowers, but lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata)—also known as cancer weed—isn’t especially eye-catching in the bloom department: its small, pale blossoms appear mostly in late spring to early summer on 1- to 2-foot stems, over a clump of lobed, mostly basal leaves. They’re quietly pretty and valuable to pollinators but perhaps not a compelling reason to cultivate the US-native species in the ornamental garden. These seeds produce plants with a nice bonus feature: reddish purple leaves instead of the usual green to purple-tinged green. They originally came from garden plants that were either ‘Purple Knockout’ or ‘Purple Volcano’; unfortunately, the label was lost so I can’t give these seeds either name, but they will produce similar plants. The effect is much like that of a purple-leaved ajuga (Ajuga reptans), particularly in cool temperatures. Unless you want to collect seeds yourself, consider keeping the flower stems trimmed off to better show the foliage, as well as to prevent self-sowing, which can otherwise be abundant. I like to let some of the seeds drop, though, so I can enjoy seeing more of the colorful foliage in my “grass” garden paths. Full sun; average to moist soil. Perennial; Zones 4 or 5 to 9.
Collected in mid June 2023. At least 15 seeds. Original ecotype unknown.
Please read the germination information as well before ordering.