SALVIA Perennial Sage

The word Salvia to most gardeners means the bright red annual which is seen in flower beds everywhere. The herbaceous perennial members of the group are blue – much less well known but no less valuable in the garden. The slender spikes above the grey-green leaves bear hooded tubular flowers about V2 in. long – the plants are easy to grow provided that the soil is well drained, and there is no need to lift and divide the clumps every few years. The spikes of the taller varieties may need staking on exposed sites and after flowering the faced heads should be removed.

VARIETIES: The species you are most likely to find is S. superba (S. virgata nemorosa) – plant details are height 3 ft. Spacing 1.5 ft.

Flowering period: July- September. The blooms are bluish purple – for a darker and brighter colour grow one of the more compact varieties – ‘East Friesland’ (1.5 ft) or the May-flowering ‘May Night’ (1/2 ft). S. haematodes (3 ft) has attractive lavender flowers but is short-lived – S. patens (2 ft) has bright blue flowers but is not completely hardy.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained soil will do – thrives in sun or light shade.

PROPAGATION: Sow seeds under glass in April (S.haematodes)or divide clumps in autumn or spring.

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