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 You are here    Flowers by the Sea / Everything Salvias

We began publishing our Everything Salvias blog in 2010 for your enjoyment and to help you "get it right" when growing sages that are often unavailable at local garden centers.

It seems like there is an endless bounty of stories to be told. But that's to be expected when covering a genus containing an estimated 900 species -- the largest group within the mint family (Lamiaceae). In addition to Salvias, we write about other species that are either mint family members or low-water companions for our many drought-tolerant Salvias. We welcome comments as well as suggestions for future blog posts.

To access articles rapidly based on your interests, please click on the categories below, which include do-it-yourself videos (Views from the Garden). But please note: This is a dangerous place for a sage lover.

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Here are all of our articles:
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Place Advance Orders with FBTS

Posted: Friday, December 8, 2017
Synopsis: 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.

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September in the Salvia Garden

Posted: Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Synopsis:

Depending on where you live, September may be a time to keep busy planting perennial Salvias or to hunker-down and plan garden recovery following storm damage. Each month, FBTS publishes a list of tips suggesting ways to maintain and beautify your Salvia garden. New plantings and transplanting of sages in autumn works well; dividing or pruning them doesn't.



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Ask Mr. Sage: How to Select Plants for Garden Triumph

Posted: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Synopsis: 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.

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Add Pale Dreamy Sages to Your List of Moon Garden Plants

Posted: Friday, August 4, 2017
Synopsis: Moon gardens contain plants with pale flowers -- especially whites -- and silvery or variegated foliage that shine in moonlight. Some gardeners plant them to glow from afar when peering into the dark through a window. Others design these gardens for nighttime rambles. A number of white-flowered sages would be excellent additions to the dreamy design of a moon garden.

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August in the Salvia Garden

Posted: Saturday, July 29, 2017
Synopsis:

August is a time when many sages grow rapidly and feed a frenzy of pollinators in need of rich nectar and pollen. It's hot, so you have to be careful not to let plants or yourself wilt.

Here are some tips for tasks from watering to planning when tending your garden this month.



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July in the Salvia Garden

Posted: Sunday, June 25, 2017
Synopsis:

July is a time of lush plant growth and pollinator activity in Salvia gardens. Aside from weeding and taking breaks to watch bees, hummingbirds and other small wildlife, there are many tasks to attend to in the sage garden during July. Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery offers a list of midsummer tasks to keep your garden buzzing and blooming.



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We've Made Shipping Changes to Simplify Your Life & Ours

Posted: Saturday, May 13, 2017
Synopsis: To improve our ordering process, Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery no longer accepts split orders. Dividing an order for delivery on more than one date created confusion and errors.

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Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Prune my Salvias?

Posted: Monday, April 10, 2017
Synopsis: 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.

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Ask Mr. Sage: Do You Offer Free Shipping?

Posted: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Synopsis: 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.

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Bedding Plant Royalty: Splendid Salvia Splendens

Posted: Monday, February 27, 2017
Synopsis: If the world were to coronate a Salvia as its favorite annual, there's little doubt that a deep red variety of Scarlet Sage (Salvia splendens) would bear the sceptre. It's a long blooming, global favorite sometimes called Bedding Sage or Red Sage. When it was first introduced to horticulture in 1822, it was known as Lee's Scarlet Sage. Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery explains the growth habits and history of Scarlet Sage and suggests numerous favorite cultivars to add grandeur to your garden.

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Sacred Sage: Salvia coccinea -- An American Subtropical Treasure

Posted: Monday, February 27, 2017
Synopsis: Although it probably originated somewhere in Mexico, Tropical Sage (Salvia coccinea) existed in the American Southeast prior to European exploration of the New World, so it is considered an American native. It's also native to Central and South America and has naturalized in parts of Europe and Africa. Medical researchers think its phytochemicals may fight illnesses caused by inflammation and oxidative stress from free radicals.

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Getting Started: Salvias for the Rocky Mountain West

Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2017
Synopsis: High altitude, distance from large bodies of water and powerful chinook winds make the Rocky Mountain West a dry gardening environment even in years of higher than average rain and snow. The region's steep mountains have a major impact on where and how precipitation falls. Instead of a single mountain chain, the Rocky Mountains are made up of 100 separate ranges. Similarly, the Salvia genus contains a broad range of sages, many of which thrive in the climactic extremes of the Mountain West.

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A Community of Anise Scented Sages We Adore

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2017
Synopsis: You might expect the foliage of a plant called Anise-Scented Sage (Salvia guaranitica) to smell robustly like licorice, which shares the same fragrance as anise. Some gardeners detect a hint of licorice after crushing a leaf, but many say the foliage merely smells sweet. These popular sages are native to Brazil where indigenous peoples used their leaves as a medicine. Flowers by the Sea grows many varieties in a wide range of sizes and flower colors

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New at FBTS: Hummingbirds Thrive on Margie Griffith Sage

Posted: Saturday, January 21, 2017
Synopsis: A love of birds can grow into a passion for gardening. The reverse is also true. Sometimes these passions result in the development of excellent plants, such as Salvia x 'Margie Griffith' -- one of our newest introductions at Flowers by the Sea, our family farm and online nursery. Margie Griffith Sage grows up to 96 inches tall and wide in bloom. In some parts of its USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 to 11 it feeds hummingbirds nearly year round.

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Salvia Small Talk: Measuring Soil Drainage

Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Synopsis: Well-drained soil for Salvias contains a loose mix of clay, coarse sand and organic matter.

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Ask Mr. Sage: Best Time to Plant Drought Resistant CA Natives

Posted: Thursday, September 8, 2016
Synopsis: 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.

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Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Shipping in Boxes Like for Salvias?


Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Synopsis:

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.



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FBTS Makes Small Increase in Minimum Order Charge

Posted: Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Synopsis: Sometimes small changes help online plant nurseries to stay upbeat and, as the Bee Gees sang, to "keep staying alive." Flowers by the Sea, a specialty online Salvia nursery, has made a small increase in its minimum order fee from $20 to $25 to stay profitable and keep providing a wide variety of popular and rare Salvias and companion plants.

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Sage Experts: Nancy Newfield, Hummingbird Gardener, Part III

Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2016
Synopsis:

It is ironic that one of the least social types of birds inspires so much sociability in human beings. We refer to hummingbirds, which are the object of festivals and the communal effort of bird banding research nationwide. This is the third and final article in a series about renowned hummingbird expert Nancy L. Newfield, who grows many Salvias in her hummingbird gardens. We recount a visit to Louisiana to observe Newfield and her team banding hummingbirds in winter. You'll also find a rainbow of top hummingbird Salvias listed here.

(Photo credit: John Owens)



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Salvia Summit III Meets at Tilden Regional Park in October

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2016
Synopsis: Botanists, horticulturists and gardening enthusiasts who love the Salvia genus are invited to Salvia Summit III – a global conference taking place from Friday, October 7, to Sunday October 9, 2016 in Berkeley, California. Lectures will be held at the Environmental Education Center of Tilden Regional Park, which is on the Berkeley boundary of the 2,079-acre park.

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Sage Experts: Nancy Newfield, Hummingbird Gardener, Part II

Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2016
Synopsis:

Salvias are among the best hummingbird flowers and red is tops. That's what hummingbird researcher, Nancy L. Newfield began discovering more than 40 years ago. She found that  flower nectar was more attractive than nectar feeders. This is the second article in a 3-part series on Newfield and hummingbird gardening. It includes an excerpt from her book Hummingbird Gardens and an FBTS list of red hummingbird favorites. Bud Hensley photographed the hummingbird pictured here enjoying Salvia subrotunda.



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Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Withering My Native Salvia?

Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Synopsis: A California native sage that looks like it is suffering from drought may actually have root disease caused by a water mold called Phytophthora. Natives are affected by types of this pathogen that strike when soil is moist and temperatures are hot. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and emails from customers.

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Sage Experts: Nancy Newfield's Hummingbird Journey

Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016
Synopsis:

Renowned hummingbird bander Nancy Newfield of southern Louisiana shares her journey from 1970s stay-at-home mom to citizen scientist and one of the nation's leading hummingbird researchers. This is the first article in a three-part series about Newfield's work and gardens, which abound with Salvias to feed hungry hummingbirds that overwinter in her suburban yard near New Orleans. It includes plant lists and the Louisiana Winter Hummingbird Project tally of banded hummingbirds from 1979 to 2015.



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Container Gardening Basics: Watering Potted Plants

Posted: Thursday, March 10, 2016
Synopsis: Container plantings are welcome islands of color and fragrance whether in small or large yards. Their emergence signals the pleasures of summer, including icy glasses of lemonade. Potted plants have a mighty thirst, as well. Container garden plans for Salvias and companion plants need to factor in greater frequency of watering than the plants would receive in-ground.

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Getting Started: What Are Salvias?

Posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Synopsis: Salvias are a broad range of true sages in the mint family that grow worldwide. They include shrubs, perennials, annuals and subshrubs, which share both shrub and perennial characteristics. Flowers by the Sea, an online, mail-order Salvia nursery sells hundreds of Salvias.

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