Whorled Sage Salvia verticillata

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
whorled clary


Salvia verticillata, commonly known as whorled sage, is a perennial plant characterized by its striking and unique arrangements of foliage and flowers. This plant showcases lush green leaves that are somewhat wrinkled and textured, with a tendency to cluster around the stem, giving it a robust and full-bodied appearance. The leaves are typically oblong in shape, often with a soft, velvety touch, and exhibit saw-toothed edges which endow the plant with a somewhat rugged yet charming aesthetic. The whorled sage blooms with an abundance of tiny, tubular flowers that are predominantly purple or violet, though they can occasionally exhibit shades of blue or white. These charming flowers grow in tight whorls which encircle the stem at intervals, creating a stacked or layered effect that is quite striking. The floral display is not only appealing to the eye but also attracts various pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which adds another layer of dynamic activity to the plant's presentation. Adding to its ornate appearance, the stems of whorled sage exhibit a distinguishing square shape, a trait common to members of the sage family. These upright stems support the tiered rings of flowers, and overall, the plant conveys a sense of both structural order and natural grace. With its captivating spiral arrangements of flowers and lush foliage, whorled sage makes for a visually appealing addition to gardens or as part of naturalized plantings. Its continuous blooming through the warm months provides ongoing visual interest, presenting a showcase of various stages from budding to full bloom.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Whorled Sage, Lilac Sage, Circle Sage

    • Common names

      Meriandra verticillata, Salvia horminoides, Salvia verticillata var. amasiaca, Salvia verticillata var. horminoides.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Salvia verticillata, commonly known as lilac sage or whorled clary, is not widely recognized for its toxicity to humans. This plant is part of the mint family and is typically grown for ornamental purposes. There is limited information on the specific toxic effects of this species on humans. However, as with many plants, it is advisable to avoid ingesting parts of plants not conventionally consumed for food, as they can sometimes cause mild stomach upset or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. If a person experiences any adverse reaction after ingesting Salvia verticillata, seeking medical attention would be prudent.

    • To pets

      Lilac sage, or Salvia verticillata, is not specifically listed as toxic to pets, such as dogs and cats. Generally, the Salvia genus does not include plants that are commonly known to be poisonous to pets. However, ingestion of non-food plants can potentially cause gastrointestinal upset in animals, including vomiting or diarrhea, due to the novelty and potential irritants in the plant matter. If a pet ingests Salvia verticillata and exhibits unusual symptoms, contact a veterinarian for advice.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts pollinators: Salvia verticillata is known for attracting bees and butterflies, which are essential for pollination in the garden.
    • Drought tolerance: Once established, Salvia verticillata has good drought resistance, making it suitable for xeriscaping and low-water gardens.
    • Aesthetic value: With its slender, vertical spikes of purple flowers, the plant adds beauty and height to garden beds and borders.
    • Culinary use: Some species of Salvia can be used in cooking, though it's important to verify the edibility of specific varieties.
    • Easy to care for: Salvia verticillata is generally low maintenance, requiring minimal care once it is established in a suitable location.
    • Deer resistant: The plant is known to be resistant to deer, which can help preserve garden aesthetics in deer-prone areas.
    • Long blooming period: It typically has a long flowering season, providing color and interest in the garden for an extended period.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Salvia verticillata may possess anti-inflammatory properties, potentially reducing inflammation in certain conditions.
    • Antimicrobial: The plant might have antimicrobial effects, which could help inhibit the growth of certain bacteria and fungi.
    • Antioxidant: It may contain antioxidants, which can help in neutralizing harmful free radicals in the body.
    • Antispasmodic: Salvia verticillata might offer antispasmodic benefits, potentially alleviating spasms in smooth muscles.
    • Diuretic: The plant is sometimes considered to have diuretic effects, which can help promote the production of urine and support kidney function.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Salvia verticillata, commonly known as Whorled Clary, can be used as a natural insect repellent due to certain compounds that are unappealing to many insects.
    • The plant's aromatic leaves can be used in potpourri to create a soothing and pleasant fragrance for indoor spaces.
    • Livestock feed — In some regions, Whorled Clary is considered a forage plant for domesticated animals.
    • Dye production — The leaves and stems of Whorled Clary can be used to create a natural green dye for textiles.
    • Garden borders — Whorled Clary is often planted in garden borders for its attractive foliage and structure, helping to define the edges of garden beds.
    • Floral arrangements — Fresh or dried, the flowers of Whorled Clary add a unique texture and visual interest to bouquets and floral decor.
    • Culinary use — While not common, the leaves have been used historically in small amounts to flavor certain dishes, akin to how other herbs are utilized.
    • Erosion control — The plant can help stabilize soil in areas prone to erosion due to its hardy root system.
    • Companion planting — Whorled Clary is used in gardens to attract beneficial insects, such as bees and butterflies, which are important for pollination.
    • Crafts — Dried sections of Whorled Clary can be incorporated into homemade crafts, like wreaths or decorative displays.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Salvia verticillata, commonly known as Whorled Sage, is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Whorled Sage is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Healing - Salvia verticillata, also known as Whorled Sage, is a plant that has been associated with healing due to its medicinal properties that aid in relieving various ailments.
    • Wisdom - The name 'Salvia' comes from the Latin 'salvare,' meaning 'to save' or 'to heal,' and historically, it has been connected to wisdom and the preservation of knowledge.
    • Purification - Whorled Sage has been used in cleansing rituals and is believed to purify spaces and individuals from negative energies.
    • Longevity - This plant is symbolic of a long life, possibly due to its hardy nature and the belief that its healing properties can contribute to longevity.
    • Protection - In some traditions, Whorled Sage is thought to offer protection against evil and to safeguard one's home or spiritual self.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Lilac sage should be watered deeply and infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. For outdoor plants, this might mean watering once every 7 to 10 days, using about 1 gallon per plant depending on weather conditions and soil type. It’s vital to avoid overwatering, as lilac sage prefers drier conditions and is drought-tolerant once established. During the growing season, increase watering frequency slightly, but cut back during the winter when the plant is not actively growing.

  • sunLight

    Lilac sage thrives best in full sun conditions, which means it should receive at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. A spot that provides bright, unfiltered sunlight will ensure the healthiest growth and flower production. While it can tolerate some light shade, too much shade can lead to legginess and reduced blooming.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Lilac sage prefers temperature conditions that range from 60°F to 70°F but can tolerate temperatures as low as mid-20s°F and as high as mid-80s°F. It is important to protect the plant from frost, which can damage or kill it. The ideal growing conditions for lilac sage are warm days and cooler nights.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune lilac sage to encourage bushier growth and to maintain a neat appearance. Remove spent flowers to promote continuous blooming throughout the season. The best time for heavy pruning is in late winter or early spring before new growth starts, but light pruning can be done anytime.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Lilac sage requires well-draining soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. A good mix would be equal parts garden soil, compost, and sand or perlite to improve drainage.

  • plantRepotting

    Lilac sage should be repotted every 2-3 years to refresh the soil and accommodate root growth, ideally during spring.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Lilac sage thrives in average to low humidity conditions, which mirror its natural habitat.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, well-draining soil, and infrequent watering.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in sunny spot with well-draining soil and space plants 18 inches apart.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Salvia verticillata, or Whorled Sage, begins its life cycle as a seed, typically germinating in spring when soil temperature and moisture conditions are favorable. After germination, seedlings emerge and establish a rosette of leaves at the soil's surface, wherein the plant undergoes vegetative growth, developing its root system and foliage. As temperatures warm into late spring or early summer, Whorled Sage enters the flowering stage, sending up tall stalks topped with whorls of purple to lilac flowers, which are highly attractive to pollinators. After pollination, typically by bees or butterflies, the flowers produce small nutlets, which serve as the plant's seed pods. The plant then enters the senescence stage in late summer or fall, where growth slows and the plant may start to die back, especially if it is an annual or biennial variety. Finally, seeds disperse from the mature nutlets, completing the life cycle and remaining dormant until the next favorable growing season arrives.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagating Salvia verticillata, commonly known as Lilac Sage or Whorled Sage, is by seed. To propagate effectively, seeds should be sown in early spring, after the danger of frost has passed, in a tray filled with a well-draining seed-starting mix. The seeds are tiny, so they should be lightly pressed into the soil and not covered, as they require light to germinate. The tray should be kept moist and in a warm location with temperatures around 70°F (21°C). Germination typically occurs within two to three weeks. After seedlings have developed their first set of true leaves, they can be gently transplanted into individual pots or directly into the garden, spaced approximately 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 centimeters) apart to allow for mature growth.