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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.

Explore the Categories:

Here are all of our articles:
Getting Started: What Are Salvias?

Posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2016

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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Salvias Down South: Southern California Butterfly Favorites

Posted: Friday, February 19, 2016
Synopsis: Wildscaping a butterfly-friendly garden in Southern California is an act of kindness, especially toward imperiled species. Gardeners from Santa Barbara southward may want to group coastal sage and chaparral plants in their butterfly gardens, because those are among favorite sources of nectar for adult butterflies and host plants for caterpillars. Sages are popular nectar choices. Plants, such as Milkweeds and Impatiens, that work well both as nectar providers and caterpillar hosts are important additions.

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Getting Started: Salvias for the Midwest

Posted: Saturday, February 13, 2016
Synopsis: Severe winter chill and summer heat coupled with extreme humidity are challenges that gardeners face in the Midwest. Many Salvias are excellent choices as long-blooming annuals in the region while others -- ones that can withstand cold winters -- are reliable perennials. Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery explains the confusing Midwest boundaries from Ohio west to Kansas and North Dakota south to Missouri. It talks about the range of USDA Plant Hardiness Zones in the region and the kinds of sages that grow best there.

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Salvias Down South: Tough Texans that Look Hot

Posted: Thursday, February 4, 2016
Synopsis: A little bit of a hot color warms the garden landscape; a lot sizzles. Salvias that are red, orange, salmon and intensely pink make eyes snap to attention when grown en masse or as highlights complementing cool-colored perennials. Texas is home to a number of tough, drought-resistant species that can make a garden look hot. In this article, Flowers by the Sea focuses on nine to light up southern landscapes.

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Quick Digs: Inventorying Salvias and Tools for Spring Gardening

Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2016
Synopsis: This is the first article in our new Quick Digs series about preparing for spring in Salvia gardens. As spring approaches and daylight grows longer, first steps for preparing Salvia gardening include recording sages already planted before planning new purchases, repotting cuttings and seedlings, inventorying garden tools and turning the compost heap. When the first new growth arrives, you'll be prepared to remove weeds before they choke sages and other perennials that are re-emerging.

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Sacred Sage: Menorah-Shaped Salvia hierosolymitana Bridges Cultures

Posted: Friday, December 18, 2015
Synopsis: Heading into the season of long, dark nights and candlelit holiday dinners, it is pleasant to think of the candelabra-shaped Jerusalem Sage (Salvia hierosolymitana) lit up with raspberry and pale pink flowers in spring. It's structure was likely an inspiration during Biblical times for design of the Jewish menorah. Jerusalem Sage grows well in moderate climates and has tasty leaves used in cooking. Historically and in culinary use, it bridges the Arab and Israeli cultures.

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Salvias Down South 15 Sages to Pink Up Landscapes

Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015
Synopsis: Winter is a good time for warm thoughts about rosy colors pinking up the landscape. Not only is pink pleasant, but it is soothing. As psychologists discovered in the late 20th century, it's also the color of calm. Researchers have identified at least one shade of pink -- a vivid color now known as drunk tank pink -- as lessening aggressive moods of people who are incarcerated. Pink is also a color used in serenity gardens. Flowers by the Sea details 15 pink sages here, some of which bloom in winter.

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Salvia Small Talk: Winter Watering

Posted: Monday, November 23, 2015
Synopsis: Giving perennials, bushes and trees one or two heavy waterings during winter, on warmer days, prevents root damage

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Drought Praise: Around the World with Sunny Groundcovers

Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Synopsis: Bring on the sun. Bring on the heat. Bring on the drought-resistant Salvia groundcovers.Flowers by the Sea offers a short list of top groundcovers from around the world for fighting drought. They come from Asia, California, Mexico and Morocco in lavender, purple and pink to do battle against the boring brown caused by water shortage. Similar to gravel, bark chip or pine needle mulch, these groundcovers discourage weeds, cool soil, conserve moisture and add color to gardens. They are living mulch.

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New at FBTS: Butterflies Love Perennial Echeandia Texensis

Posted: Monday, September 7, 2015
Synopsis: It isn't surprising that the golden flowers of the drought-resistant, perennial Texas Craglily (Echeandia texensis) are tops for attracting butterflies. The plant was first discovered on Green Island in Laguna Madre, which is at the southernmost tip of Texas. The area is part of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, which is home to 300 butterfly species. Texas Craglily is an adaptable plant that grows well both in dry and somewhat damp conditions and from California to the Southeast. But it is a rare species that may be threatened by land development and the U.S./Mexico border fence.

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Getting Started: Salvias for Zone 9

Posted: Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Synopsis: California's small, Mohave Desert city of Barstow averages about 5 inches of rain annually. Across the continent, Pensacola, Florida, has more than double Barstow's population and more than 12 times its amount of rainfall. Yet both cities are part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Plant Hardiness Zone 9 where you can plant perennials and shrubs that survive winter lows ranging from 20 to 30 degrees F. Flowers by the Sea takes readers on a triple coast road trip of Zone 9 and suggests plantings for varied growing conditions along the way.

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Four Top Drought-Resistant Perennials for Dry Shade

Posted: Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Synopsis: Searching for shade-tolerant plants is difficult. Finding ones that grow well in dry conditions, especially as groundcovers, is even more challenging. Flowers by the Sea talks about different types of shade and four drought-resistant perennials for these varying levels of sun exposure. It also explains how to search the company's extensive product menu.

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Made for Shade: Japanese Woodland Salvias

Posted: Friday, August 21, 2015
Synopsis: Sturdy, shade-loving Japanese Salvias are lovely additions to woodland gardens with their lush, large-leafed foliage and delicate-looking flowers in colors including pinks, purples and yellows. They're ideal for bordering shady paths where they invite visitors to pause for close-up views. Flowers by the Sea suggests eight Japanese species for woodland gardens and organizes them according to their cold hardiness.

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

Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Synopsis: What kinds of Salvias are good choices for potting? Ask Mr. Sage, a regular feature of our Everything Salvias Blog, says the answer is many. In this post, Mr. Sage suggests some surprising combinations for potting and explains how to navigate the Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery catalog to find Salvias and companion plants appropriate for container gardening.

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Drought Praise: Hot Pink and Purple Autumn Bloomers

Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Late summer is a good time to plant at the coolest times of day. Settling in Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla) before Indian summer will give their roots a chance for strong growth so they can withstand winter's chill and leaf out again next spring. These drought-resistant species are closely related and hybridize freely when they meet. They also cross with other sages they encounter. FBTS details seven pink and purple varieties that bloom off and on spring to fall.

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Cultivating Color: Pastel Perennial Sages for Xeriscape

Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Synopsis: Not everyone who lives in a dry climate wants a cactus garden. And not all cottage gardens are filled with pansies and peonies. Flowers by the Sea highlights ten tough perennial Salvias in pastels for low-water cottage gardens. The palette of drought-resistant choices includes sages with blue, lavender, peach, pink and yellow flowers for a soothing touch in your landscape.

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Ask Mr. Sage: How FBTS Chooses New Salvias

Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2015
Synopsis: Some Salvia collectors want to obtain a broad range of sages including all the new introductions on the market. But Flowers by the Sea can't and doesn't want to grow all the new cultivars available, partly because there is a growing abundance of Salvia introductions. Instead, FBTS focuses on selecting the most superior new plants even when introducing its own hybrids in its series of Rainbow Jame Sages. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature based on calls and emails received by FBTS.

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Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Average Watering?

Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2015
Synopsis: Confusion about watering of plants is understandable, because moisture needs vary so much from one species to another. It also varies based on your local growing conditions. Ask Mr. Sage, a regular feature of the Everything Salvias blog at Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery, explains the differences between the labels drought resistant, average water and water loving classifications for estimating water needs. Some FBTS average water plants also grow well in dry or damp settings.

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Drought Praise: 5 Hot Red Salvias for Hummingbirds

Posted: Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Synopsis: Hummingbirds love the nectar of Salvias, particularly red ones, which they can see but bees can't. Also, unlike most birds, hummingbirds can taste sweets and seek out flowers that produce lots of sugary nectar. However, nectar can be difficult to come by during drought. The Salvia genus is well known for its bright flowers, rich nectar and many drought-tolerant plants. We suggest five bright red, drought-tolerant Salvias that hummingbirds love.

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Drought Praise: 3 Low-Water Plants for a Fragrant Walkway

Posted: Monday, July 27, 2015
Synopsis: Fragrant Salvias and companion plants are excellent choices for entryways. Drought-tolerant plants from naturally dry climates, such as the three featured here, often have a pleasant, resinous fragrance that lingers in memory. Flowers by the Sea promotes water conservation by posting "drought praise" for favorite xeric (low water) plants. Here we suggest three pleasingly fragrant choices for a border making the entry to your home soothing and welcoming.

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Battles in the Salvia Garden: Controlling Spider Mites - Part II

Posted: Monday, July 27, 2015
Synopsis: Pollinators lose important food sources when Salvias and other nectar-rich flowers are destroyed by spider mites. This is Part 2 of a two-part series about understanding and overcoming these dangerous pests. Along with the non-chemical interventions described in Part 1 of this series, gardeners sometimes need the help of predatory insects and mites, insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils. Pesticides called miticides may also eventually be necessary, but should be the last resort.

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Drought Praise: 5 Blue-Tag Beauties for Dry Gardens

Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Synopsis: If you live in a semi-arid climate where rain is a vague memory and the soil is crunchy with gravel, you may find yourself praising the color and resilience of blue-tag plants from Flowers by the Sea. Not all of our drought tolerant plants fall into the blue-tag category. Yet ones that do are extremely capable at surviving with little water. FBTS explains plant care and offers five favorite drought-resistant species.

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Battles in the Salvia Garden: Controlling Spider Mites - Part I

Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2015
Synopsis: Salvias often suffer when spider mites become legion in gardens. This is Part 1 of a two-part series about understanding and overcoming these dangerous pests. As summer temperatures rise, so do the numbers of the family Tetranychidae -- spider mites -- especially if conditions are dry. Controlling spider mites in your Salvia garden may be as simple as keeping plants hydrated and regularly spraying the little nippers off foliage. Or it may take a number of interventions, including biological controls, such as predatory mites, as well as the use of insecticidal soaps, oils and pesticides

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Container Gardening Basics: Selecting and Arranging Pots

Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2015
Synopsis: Assembling a new planter with fresh potting soil and young plants is a feel-good activity similar to moving into a new home. Each pot and property is full of promise. Placing a single plant or a grouping in the right size of pot is like selecting a starter home for it that will encourage healthy growth. The type of material a pot is made from also affects development. Flowers by the Sea Online Salvia Nursery explains how to choose correct pot sizes as well as pot styles, sizes, colors and arrangements. Don't miss The Flowerpot Men music video!

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Praise for Top 10 Lesser-Known Drought-Resistant Salvias

Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Synopsis: Eco-vigilantes. That's what some newspapers call smartphone users who post photos and videos tagged droughtshaming on Twitter and other social media documenting careless water use by celebrities, everyday homeowners and businesses, especially in Southern California.

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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.