Mediterranean natives related to sage (Salvia). Erect stems are set with widely spaced whorls of hooded, two-lipped flowers in yellow, purple, or lilac. Moisture-conserving, thick, typically furry or hairy leaves are lance shaped to oval, set opposite each other on stems. Not particular about soil but must have good drainage. Not usually damaged by browsing deer. Cut flowers are striking in arrangements.
P. 'Edward Bowles' ('Grande Verde'). Shrub. Zones MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 7-11. Grows to 34 ft. tall, 56 ft. wide. Hybrid between P. fruticosa and P. russeliana. Resembles a bulkier P. fruticosa and has broader leaves (to 6 in. long, 3 in. wide) and larger, pure yellow flowers. Often sold as P. fruticosa and takes the same care.
P. fruticosa. JERUSALEM SAGE. Shrub. Zones MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 7-11. To 4 ft. tall and wide, with woolly, gray-green leaves to 68 in. long, 1 in. wide. Deep golden yellow, 1-in. flowers in ball-shaped whorls along upper half of stems. Cut plants back by half in fall to keep them compact. With watering, will produce several waves of bloom in spring and summer if cut back lightly after each flowering. Can tolerate light shade for part of day. 'Miss Grace' ('Compact Grey') reaches 3 ft. high and as much as twice as wide with soft gray-green leaves and bright yellow flowers.
P. lanata. WOOLY JERUSALEM SAGE. Shrub. Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11. Dense, compact plant to 2 ft. tall, 46 ft. wide. Woolly, wrinkled, sage-green leaves to about 1 in. long. Stems and leaf undersides have brownish scales. Whorls of deep yellow, 1-in. flowers bloom from spring to fall if faded stems are cut out.
P. purpurea. PURPLE JERUSALEM SAGE. Shrub. Zones CS, TS; USDA 9-11. Rather lax habit to 46 ft. high and wide. Lance-shaped leaves to 4 in. long are gray-green and sparsely hairy above, white and woolly beneath; new shoots are also white and woolly. Purplish pink flowers bloom mainly in late spring, but scattered blossoms appear all year long where winters are mild. After each flowering, cut plant back by one-third to keep it neat and compact.
P. russeliana. TURKISH SAGE. Perennial. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 8-9. Spreads by rhizomes to make a low clump of furry, olive-green foliage. Leaves are large (to 8 in. long, 6 in. wide) and heart shaped. Creates an effective weed-suppressing ground cover. Sends up 2- to 3-ft.-tall stems bearing flowers in soft yellow fading to cream. The main bloom period comes in early summer, but some flowers are produced later as well. Flower spikes are attractive even after blooms fade; they dry out and remain upright throughout winter. Tolerates partial shade.