Your Shopping Cart

Your cart is empty.

Ask Mr. Sage: What Salvias Grow Well in Containers?

Aug 18, 2015

Ask Mr. Sage: What Salvias Grow Well in Containers?

Dear Mr. Sage,
I want to grow Salvias and companion plants in containers. What kinds are good for potting?
Patio Gardener

Dear Patio Gardener,
The Salvia genus is huge. It contains about 900 species, many of which are excellent choices for container planting. For example, almost all the annual and tender perennial choices in our catalog are easy-to-grow choices for potting.

When reading a plant description in our online catalog, open its Cultural Icons tab above the photo. This leads you to a page detailing plant characteristics and optimum growing conditions. If the plant is a good choice for container gardening, you'll see a potted plant icon in the section titled Garden Uses.

Just because a plant is short doesn't necessarily mean that it grows well in a planter. Conversely, a number of our plants that are tall and wide in the ground adapt well to life in large planters.

For example, here is an unexpected yet handsome combo of short and tall plants: The purple flowered Caucasus Sage (Salvia canescens var. daghestanica) -- 12 inches tall and wide in bloom -- and Velvet Centaurea (Centaurea gymnocarpa), which has lavender, thistle-like flowers and is 60 inches tall and wide in bloom.

Although their bloom times don't match up until fall, they both have silvery foliage that lends a glow to your patio on moonlit nights throughout the growing season.

Another cool colored combination involves Gentian Sages, which are popular container gardening choices. They seldom get bigger than Giant Gentian Sage (S. patens 'De flores gigantes'), which is 48 inches tall and 24 inches wide in bloom. Put it together with the petite Dorset Lavender Gentian Sage (S. patens 'Chilcombe') for purple punch.

Keep in mind that the limitations of container growing may cause plants to achieve smaller sizes than they would in the ground.

When combining plants in pots, make sure that their cultural needs for sun exposure, water and soil are good matches and that at least part of their bloom season overlaps.

Another tip to remember is that even xeric plants such as Caucasus Sage and Velvet Centaurea need regular watering in containers. No matter how drought-resistant plants are, large ones are thirsty when grown in pots. Gravel mulch can help retain moisture.

Container gardening is an age-old solution for adding greenery to small spaces and areas where soil is dry and compacted. They add visual appeal to balconies, entryways and patios as well as amid flowerbeds.

So go for it. Look for the potted plant icon in our plant descriptions; compare cultural requirements; experiment with combinations and have fun. If you need any advice, please call us or send an email.

Thanks for your question,
Mr. Sage


There are no comments yet.

Ask Mr Sage is one of the most popular categories in our Everything Salvias blog. Here are a few of the latest posts:
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Place Advance Orders with FBTS - Flowers by the Sea is a mail-order nursery eliminating craziness from garden planning with advance orders and customer selection of shipping dates. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature based on calls and emails received by FBTS. This article details how to use our redesigned preorder process and other catalog tools for making sure you get the plants you want when you want them. Ask Mr. Sage: How to Select Plants for Garden Triumph - Planning for Salvia garden success requires following the rule of selecting the right plant for the right place. Desert sages aren't appropriate for the damp Southeast. Moisture-loving ones aren't right for desert climates where they need lots of watering to survive. Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery offers tips for selecting plants based on local climate. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Prune my Salvias? - Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery specializes in Salvias and often receives questions about how to prune them. Although getting good at pruning takes practice, Salvias rebound quickly if you make mistakes. A key to successful pruning is understanding the varying needs of four main categories of sages. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: Do You Offer Free Shipping? - Like free lunches, free shipping is a myth. Flowers by the Sea doesn't offer free shipping, because it would require increasing plant prices to cover the cost of shipping. Read more to learn how FBTS sets fair shipping prices. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and notes from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: Best Time to Plant Drought Resistant CA Natives - Drought resistant California native sages thrive when planted in fall. It's easier for roots to become established when soil is warm, air temperatures are cooler and precipitation is increasing. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and emails from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Shipping in Boxes Like for Salvias? - It's understandable to worry about the condition of plants following shipment in a box. However, Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery is exceedingly careful to make sure your plants arrive in healthy condition. A satisfied customer sent us the photos in this article. Step by step, they illustrate the process of unpacking and hardening off FBTS plants received by 3-day ground delivery more than 1200 miles away from our Northern California farm.