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Whorled Clary

Salvia verticillata

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
90 centimetres tall
Gardens, roadsides, wasteland.

Purple, 2 petals
The lavender-coloured flowers appear in whorls near the top of the plant. The flowers are borne in the leaf junctions where they meet the stem. The upper lip is hooded and the lower lip is 3-lobed.
The fruit is a capsule.
A perennial flower sometimes encountered as a garden escape plant. Hair green leaves in opposite pairs up the erect stem. The stem is square in cross-section. The leaves are oval and crinkled.
Slightly aromatic.
Other Names:
Lilac Sage, Whorled Sage.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Salvia verticillata, also known as whorled sage or whorled clary, is a perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae. It is native to North America and is found in grassland and meadow habitats. The plant has white or pale purple flowers that bloom from mid-summer to early autumn. It grows to be about 60 cm (2 feet) tall and prefers well-drained, moist soil. It is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens, and it is also used medicinally for its astringent and expectorant properties.


If you're looking for a unique and beautiful addition to your garden, look no further than the Whorled Clary, also known as Salvia verticillata. This plant is a member of the mint family and is native to North America. It's a great choice for gardeners who are interested in adding native plants to their landscape or for those who are simply looking for a plant that's a little bit different.

One of the standout features of the Whorled Clary is its leaves. They grow in a spiral pattern around the stem, hence the name "Whorled." This gives the plant a very distinctive and eye-catching look. In addition to its leaves, the Whorled Clary also produces spikes of blue or purple flowers. These spikes are very tall and slender, making them perfect for planting along a fence or in a corner where you want to create a focal point.

Another great feature of the Whorled Clary is its adaptability. It can grow in a variety of soil types and is tolerant of drought, making it a great choice for gardeners who live in areas with dry summers. It's also a very low-maintenance plant and is resistant to most pests and diseases, making it a great choice for gardeners who don't want to spend a lot of time maintaining their plants.

If you're looking to add the Whorled Clary to your garden, it's best to plant it in full sun to partial shade. It prefers well-drained soil and will grow to a height of 2-3 feet. When planting, make sure to give it enough space to spread out, as it will grow into a clump over time.

In conclusion, the Whorled Clary is a beautiful and unique plant that is sure to add a touch of interest to any garden. Its adaptability and low maintenance make it a great choice for gardeners of all levels, and its distinctive leaves and spikes of blue or purple flowers are sure to catch the eye of anyone who sees it.

Aside from its ornamental value, the Whorled Clary also has medicinal properties. The leaves and stems of the plant have been used for centuries by Native American tribes to treat a variety of ailments, including indigestion, menstrual pain, and respiratory problems.

In addition, the plant is also attractive to pollinators, making it a great choice for gardeners who want to attract bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects to their garden. The blue or purple spikes of flowers are a rich source of nectar and will provide a food source for pollinators throughout the growing season.

If you live in an area with harsh winters, you may need to protect the Whorled Clary from frost damage. This can be done by adding a layer of mulch around the base of the plant or by covering it with a protective cloth. If you live in an area with very cold winters, you may want to consider planting the Whorled Clary in a container and moving it indoors for the winter.

In terms of care, the Whorled Clary is a very low-maintenance plant. Once established, it requires very little water and will thrive even in dry conditions. If you do water your Whorled Clary, make sure to do so in the morning so that the leaves have time to dry before nightfall. This will help to prevent the growth of mold and other fungal diseases.

Finally, if you're looking to add a touch of vertical interest to your garden, consider pairing the Whorled Clary with other tall, slender plants, such as ornamental grasses or coneflowers. This will create a harmonious and eye-catching display that will be sure to impress.

The Whorled Clary is a unique and beautiful plant that is sure to add interest to any garden. Its adaptability, low maintenance, and attractive flowers make it a great choice for gardeners of all levels, and its medicinal properties and attraction to pollinators make it a valuable addition to any landscape.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal properties, the Whorled Clary is also a great plant for wildlife. Its leaves, stems, and seeds provide food for a variety of birds and mammals, including songbirds, upland game birds, and small mammals such as rabbits and squirrels. This makes the Whorled Clary an excellent choice for gardeners who want to create a wildlife-friendly garden.

One of the best things about the Whorled Clary is that it is easy to propagate. You can grow new plants from seed, or you can divide existing plants and replant the divisions in your garden. This is a great way to get more plants for your garden without having to spend a lot of money on new plants.

When growing the Whorled Clary, it's important to keep it away from other plants that are prone to fungal diseases, such as tomatoes and potatoes. This is because the Whorled Clary is susceptible to some of the same diseases that these other plants are prone to, and growing them in close proximity can increase the risk of disease.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that the Whorled Clary is a great plant for cutting gardens. Its tall spikes of blue or purple flowers make it a great choice for adding height to bouquets, and its distinctive leaves make it a great choice for adding interest to mixed arrangements. If you're looking to cut flowers for your home, consider growing a few Whorled Clary plants in your cutting garden.

In conclusion, the Whorled Clary is a versatile and attractive plant that is sure to add value to any garden. Its low maintenance, adaptability, and ornamental, medicinal, and wildlife benefits make it a great choice for gardeners of all levels. So why not consider adding a Whorled Clary to your garden today and enjoy its beauty and benefits for years to come!

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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