What Is Salvias
Perennial Salvias, commonly known as ‘sage’ are a staple in many perennial gardens. These aromatic shrubs bloom from summer all through autumn.
Sage makes for excellent garden borders and they also attract pollinators like butterflies and bees.
Today we’ll be talking about how you can grow your own salvias in the garden.
Perennial Salvias 101
Salvia is the largest genus of plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, with nearly 1000 species of shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals.
Commonly referred to as sage, it includes two of the most widely-used culinary herbs including common sage (Salvia officinalis), and rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus).
The name Salvia (“salviya”) derives from the Latin salvere (“to feel well and healthy, health, heal”), the verb related to salus (health, well-being, prosperity or salvation), referring to the herb’s healing properties.
Salvias typically grow anywhere between 1 and 6 feet tall and wide. Most varieties are perennials that thrive in zones 5 to 9. There are also varieties that are cold hardy to zone 4 and heat tolerant to zone 10. They generally require full sun with 6 hours of sunlight a day to promote flowering. Some varieties can tolerate partial shade.
They typically bloom in late spring to fall. It grows flower spikes with flowers that range from blue, dark purple, lavender, red, pink, white, and yellow depending on the variety. Salvias usually have square stems with narrow and velvety green leaves.
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How to Plant Salvias
Salvias can be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. The seedlings can be placed outdoors after the last frost. You can also purchase potted salvias and plant them on the ground in spring or fall.
Salvias grow best in a sunny spot in your garden and in well-draining soil. You can grow them along paths or along your home’s foundation. You can also grow them in containers.
If you’re looking to build a drought tolerant garden area where perhaps you have a hard time getting water, Salvia is a great drought tolerant choice.
While salvias don’t need rich soil, they do benefit from good drainage. If you’re planting them in pots, use a mixture of garden soil and perlite to promote better drainage. Make sure to mulch with wood chips or small, round-edged rocks to protect the roots and to maintain proper soil temperature.
Make sure there is adequate spacing between salvias since they don’t like being crowded. Space plants 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the variety.
Caring for Salvias
Most salvias are drought-tolerant when established. However, they will benefit from the occasional drink of water. They’ll look better and more vibrant this way.
Deadheading is important if you want to encourage repeat blooming throughout the blooming season.
Salvias can flop because of too much water, insufficient sunlight, or too much fertilizer. If you notice your salvias have become leggy, support the plant with stakes.
These plants are light feeders so a light application of balanced fertilizer in early spring is often enough.
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5 Salvia Varieties You Can Grow in Your Garden
Salvias are some of the most versatile plants you can grow. A lot of the varieties available are drought tolerant. Apart from their bright colors, they also have a beautiful scent that attracts pollinators.
There are over 700 species of sage but here are 5 of the best you can plant in your home garden:
1. Clary Sage
Unlike other salvias, Clary Sage features leafy bracts that look like big pink, purple, or white flower petals. These bloom in the Summer and thrive well in full sun.
2. Culinary Sage
This type of salvia is perhaps one of the most-used herbs in many kitchens. This wonderfully-scented herb has sliver-gray leaves and spikes of lilac flowers. It blooms in the summer and is best planted in zones 5 to 8.
3. Tricolor Sage
This type of salvia displays silvery-green leaves edged in creamy white and blushed with purple. It can be used as an ornamental plant as well as a culinary herb. It blooms in early spring and likes full sun.
4. Red Salvia
Known for its eye-catching color, Red Salvia or scarlet sage flowers all summer long. It features scented foliage that deters rabbits and deer from your garden. It blooms in the spring and fall and it likes full sun to partial shade.
5. Coral Nymph Salvia
Native to areas of South America, Coral Nymph Salvia is a long-blooming type of sage that features coral-pink flowers. They are great for gardens located in areas with hot and humid conditions. While they are not as drought-tolerant as other salvias, they are still excellent at attracting pollinators.
Do you grow Salvias? What are your favorites? Tell us in the comments below.
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