Salvia, A Colorful Rising Star In The Garden

Salvia is a popular plant among gardeners because it is easy to grow and looks great in the landscape. They are versatile and can be used in the garden for accents, borders, containers, cut flowers, and mass plantings.  It is native to areas of North America.  A benefit of growing salvia is its appeal to pollinators, especially hummingbirds and butterflies. This plant is also deer and rabbit resistant due to its pungent foliage.  

Salvia comes from the Latin “salvere”, which means “to heal”.  It is part of the Mint family and is also known as Sage.  Ancient Greeks and Romans used the plant as a memory enhancer and for its healing properties. There are more than 900 species of Salvia, and there are both perennial and annual species.  Many are tender perennials or annuals in locations that are not winter hardy.  Culinary Sage is a type of Salvia.

The attractive flowers come in a variety of shapes, fragrances, and colors. The many colors of Salvia include blue, green, pink, purple, red, salmon, white, and yellow, and most bloom from summer through fall. Hummingbirds love the tubular shape of the flowers. They are drought tolerant and last a long time growing well in hot, dry locations.  The key to success in growing this plant is to know which variety are right for your garden.

Most species of Salvia grow rapidly, and some species can reach 5 to 6 feet in one season.  These species look wonderful in the back of your landscape.  There are other species considered low growing and they do well in containers and along the edge of a flower bed.  When it comes to how wide the plants grow, it ranges from 12 inches to 4 feet. 

Salvia can be planted after the danger of frost has passed in the spring. The plant prefers full sun and well-drained soil but can also be planted in partial shade.  Remove dead flowers to promote more blooms. In the spring, wait until new growth appears to remove old stems. Excessive water and fertilizer can increase fungal disease problems for salvias. 

If you live in a milder climate, it is possible to grow Salvias year-round.  There are actually varieties that grow specially in the winter. These varieties start blooming in the fall and continue well into the winter.  Then there is a spring category that starts blooming in the fall and winter and continues blooming through the spring.  The Flowers By The Sea website will help you figure out which varieties bloom during each season. 

Let us know if you have Salvia in your garden!

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