Salvia farinacea (also known as mealy sage or blue sage) looks stunning in a mass planted bed or when used as a specimen plant on a patio. Though drought tolerant once established, it does prefer moist, but not water logged soil. Fortunately it is not prone to damage by snails and slugs and is fairly self-sufficient except in extreme weather conditions.
Salvia coccinea or scarlet sage occurs naturally in dry soils and waste places from South Carolina to Florida and west to Texas and Central America. In cultivation however, they perform at their best in rich, well-drained soils. They do best in full sun, but will tolerate some intermittent shade. A good water wise choice, but remember that flowering suffers without supplemental watering during dry spells.
Mimulus thrive in warmer regions but will also perform in areas with light or little frost, especially if planted or placed in a protected position. Speaking of planting, these bright little faces prefer to be shaded from our harsh sun, at least partially, so pick a shady or semi-shade position and ensure the soil drains well because they like very moist, but not waterlogged soil to rest in.
Monkey Flowers make fabulous colourful borders to beds when using the shorter varieties, in deep pockets in rockeries. You can pinch off dead blooms to encourage a longer flowering period but it is not essential.
Information supplied by the Bedding Plant Growers Association. For more, go to www.lifeisagarden.co.za.