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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.

Explore the Categories:

Here are all of our articles:
Ask Mr. Sage: Shipping Outside the Lower 48 States

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2014
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage is a question-and-answer feature based on calls and emails received at Flowers by the Sea. This inquiry concerns whether FBTS ships plants to foreign countries and parts of the nation outside the continental U.S. The simple answer is "Yes." The complicated answer about shipping to foreign countries is that the process is time consuming, costly and highly regulated. We won't break exportation rules

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Portraits in Gardening: Michael Kampf

Posted: Monday, July 14, 2014
Synopsis: Portraits in Gardening is a new blog series from Flowers by the Sea that profiles customers who are passionate about the Salvia genus. This post features Illinois gardener Michael Kampf who has succeeded in growing many kinds of Salvias despite the frigid winters and fiercely hot summers of the Chicago area. He began gardening when 6 years old with encouragement from his mother and fell in love with Salvias at age 12.

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Salvia Small Talk: What to Do When Plants Are Out of Stock

Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Flowers by the Sea ships plants year round. However, at any given time we may be out of stock for plants in high demand. Clicking on the Email me when back in stock button causes you to receive an email immediately when the plant is back in stock. Production of some plants is limited. Some can only be obtained for spring delivery; others require special ordering. 

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Bat-Faced Beauty: Gardeners & Hummingbirds Love Cuphea schumannii

Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Synopsis: Most bat faces only look beautiful to their mothers. However bat-faced Cuphea schumannii seems pretty as punch to hummingbirds in search of a sweet drink of nectar. If you take a close look at the ragged, open end of each flower, you'll see two, tiny, lavender petals standing straight up like bat or mouse ears. So, despite its common name, Orange Cigar Plant, this species is known as a bat-faced Cuphea. Aside from being excellent for attracting pollinators, Cupheas are becoming important agricultural crops that reduce pesticide use.

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Sage Experts: Meet Professor Rolando Uria of Argentina

Posted: Sunday, June 22, 2014
Synopsis: Sage Experts is a new feature on our Everything Salvias blog. It focuses on horticulturalists -- both amateurs and professionals -- in settings ranging from botanic gardens to universities. All have expertise in cultivating plants in the Salvia genus. This first profile talks about Argentina's Rolando Uria, an agronomy professor at the University of Buenos Aires and a presenter at the 2013 Salvia Summit II. Uria is well known for discovering Salvia 'Amistad'.

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In the Native Garden: 25 Colorful California Salvias Plus a Cousin

Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Synopsis: Native plants, including California's many indigenous sages, are like the boys or girls next door who were overlooked until outsiders discovered their good looks and other fine attributes. For the longest time, native species didn’t get respect in home gardening – a sizeable oversight considering that California alone has more than 5,500 native plants. Natives are roughly defined as species that were growing in America before European colonization. Flowers by the Sea cultivates hardy, drought-resistant California Salvias that are native to a broad swath of the West Coast ranging from Northern Baja to Southern Oregon. The California natives detailed here are all drought resistant and many tolerate heat. They are well suited to waterwise, xeriscapic landscapes, including dry gardens in which plants must survive despite almost no supplemental watering.

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Ask Mr. Sage: Do You Ship to My Address?

Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives. This one talks about how we work with you if a glitch arises in shipping. It concerns addresses to which Flowers by the Sea can mail plants.

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Ask Mr. Sage: What Kinds of Salvias Are Edible?

Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives. This post concerns Salvias that are edible and tasty. Although we are unaware of any Salvia species (true sages) that contain poisonous parts, we are cautious about which ones to recommend for culinary use. A link to our culinary species is included along with links to our blog posts about cooking with sages.

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Ask Mr. Sage: How Light and Growing Conditions Affect Flower Color

Posted: Saturday, June 7, 2014
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives. This one explains the many factors that can cause the color of a plant's flowers to vary from one location to another. The blossom color of Flowers by the Sea plants in your garden may not always exactly match the colors in our photographs.

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22 Salvias and Companions for Dry Shade

Posted: Thursday, June 5, 2014
Synopsis: Dry-shade gardening is challenging. Drought-tolerant Salvias and companion plants, including ornamental grasses, can play a role in conquering dry shade, which mostly occurs under and near shady trees. We suggest 22 plants here that do well in dry, partial shade. First, though, you need to understand how to work with the condition and improve the soil for plant survival.

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Ask Mr. Sage: What Hummingbird and Butterfly Salvias Tolerate Lots of Moisture

Posted: Sunday, June 1, 2014
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives. This one explains how to cruise the Flowers by the Sea online catalog to find butterfly and hummingbird Salvias that can handle lots of moisture.

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Book Review: The Plant Lover's Guide to Salvias

Posted: Saturday, May 24, 2014
Synopsis: The Plant Lover's Guide to Salvias by John Whittlesey not only is a lavishly photographed, well-organized resource about the Salvia genus but also a lovely coffee table book that may inspire anyone who opens its pages to spend time in the garden. Whittlesey says his Canyon Creek Nursery in rural Northern California has an "extreme" Mediterranean climate with little rainfall from summer through early autumn when temperatures can reach up to 108 degrees F. Ornamental Salvias form a major part of his approach to these sere conditions.

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Sacred Sage: Powerful, Pretty Salvia repens

Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Synopsis: Kruipsalie is the Afrikaans common name for the South African native Salvia repens, parts of which have long been used in folk remedies and for insect fumigation. Kruip refers to the way the plant creeps, or spreads, rhizomatically underground. Salie means Salvia. The scientific epithet repens also refers to the plant's creeping growth. With its fragrant foliage and long-blooming, lush flowers, Kruipsalie is the sort of perennial that we like creeping through our gardens. Medical researchers are particularly interested in this sage's antibacterial potential for fighting infections caused by bacteria including E. coli and Streptococcus.

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Quick Digs: Improving Soil for Spring in Salvia Gardens

Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Synopsis: This is the fifth article in our Quick Digs series about getting ready for spring in Salvia gardens. The previous post talked about weed control. Now we dig into soil and amendments, which aren't just additions to legal documents. The word also refers to materials added to soil to improve its structure and chemistry. These include organic matter, such as compost, as well as chemical fertilizers and minerals (lime and crushed rock are examples). Choices depend on the plants you want to grow and the current make-up of your garden soil.

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Ask Mr. Sage: What to Do When a New Plant Fails

Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2014
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives, including ones concerning problems with plants customers have purchased. This article covers our unconditional guarantee to refund or credit purchases without making customers jump through hoops. It also touches on the process FBTS goes through in trying to diagnose plant ailments.

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Portraits in Gardening: Dave and Eleanor Holland

Posted: Friday, May 16, 2014
Synopsis: Portraits in Gardening is a new ongoing feature in the Everything Salvias blog of Flowers by the Sea. This first post focuses on Dave and Eleanor Holland's Northern California garden, which beckons bees, butterflies and hummingbirds due to its abundance of sages, including the Mountain Sage hybrid Salvia x 'Maraschino'.

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Ask Mr. Sage: Does Flowers by the Sea Sell Seeds?

Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives. Sometimes customers want to purchase seed, but FBTS doesn't produce seed for sale. This article talks about the reasons why, including the complications of producing seed that is certified to grow true to its parent stock.

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Sage Words about Wildlife: 4 Seasons of Hummingbird Salvias

Posted: Friday, April 25, 2014
Synopsis: Regional differences in seasonal temperature and humidity affect the choice of Salvias to plant in hummingbird gardens. The varying seasons in which particular sages bloom and the part of the world where they originated also determine whether they attract hummingbirds. Flowers by the Sea offers suggestions based on regions and seasons.

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Ask Mr. Sage: What Sages Grow in Clay Soils?

Posted: Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives, such as concerns about what Salvias will grow in clay soils. This article talks about specific plants for dry and wet clay conditions, how to improve soil drainage and planting on slopes in wet areas.


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Ask Mr. Sage: How to Control Snails

Posted: Sunday, March 30, 2014
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage is a Q&A feature from Flowers by the Sea. This one talks about how to ward off snails and slugs safely through simple organic methods, including barriers and handpicking, as well as through careful use of iron-phosphate pesticides. It also talks about how to nurse damaged Salvias back to health.

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Book Review: Nature-Friendly Garden by Marlene A. Condon

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Synopsis: Reading Marlene A. Condon's Nature-Friendly Garden is like observing a game of toppling dominoes. All the pieces are lined up standing on end in a complex, maze-like pattern. Flick one domino and the whole structure tumbles. Similarly, the author shows how simple choices we make in our gardens have consequences that can build or destroy wildlife habitat.

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Salvia Small Talk: Unusual Pineapple Sage Culinary Treats

Posted: Sunday, March 9, 2014
Synopsis: Pineapple Sage looks and tastes delightful in many foods, including baked goods. It's a surprising treat in herb butters and marmalade.

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Salvia Small Talk: Flowers by the Sea Is Monarch Waystation 7671

Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014
Synopsis: Flowers by the Sea recently received classification as a certified Monarch Waystation by Monarch Watch. When you purchase milkweed plants (Asclepias spp.) from FBTS or seed from Monarch Watch, you can grow your own waystation and help Monarchs start making a comeback from their precipitous decline of recent years.

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Our Paperless Catalog Is Wallet-Friendly and Ecofriendly

Posted: Sunday, March 2, 2014
Synopsis: Customers often ask us how they can receive a print catalog of the hundreds of plants grown and sold by our nursery, Flowers by the Sea. The answer is that we have never printed a catalog and never will for financial, managerial and environmental reasons. We prefer our online-only garden catalog, because it is wallet-friendly, encourages diversity in the garden, offers efficiency and helps protect the environment. However, we now offer printable versions of our product pages. With the quick click of a button, this function allows you to print only what you need.

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Book Review: Lawn Gone! Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard

Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014
Synopsis: This book review of "Lawn Gone" by Texas landscaper and garden writer Pam Penick concerns replacement or minimization of lawns through xeriscape, the art of planting attractive waterwise landscapes. "Lawn Gone" redefines suburban yards through designs including perennial groundcovers and small shrubs -- such as Autumn Sages (Salvia greggii spp.) -- as well as ornamental grasses, sedges and hardscape, including water features. Flowers by the Sea specializes in Salvias and other xeriscapic plants.

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