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Getting Started with Salvias

Salvias are rewarding due to their rainbow of floral colors, long bloom times, fragrant foliage and -- in most cases -- ease of care. Yet there are approximately 900 species in this huge mint family (Lamiaceae) genus, and Flowers by the Sea sells hundreds of types. How are you supposed to make choices if you are new to gardening or to the genus? Answer: We're here to lower your learning curve. One way we do this is by providing helpful blog articles, including our Getting Started with Salvias series.

Some of the Salvias in our online catalog are original species that are native to homelands throughout the world; others are hybrids that have occurred naturally or were created on purpose by professional growers. Most are easily adaptable to American gardens. Although many prefer little watering and almost no fertilizer, there are species that revel in rich soil and plenty of moisture. 

Getting Started articles cover the basics of Salvia gardening and lead to more in-depth content in our Everything Salvias blog. They cover topics ranging from what Salvias are to which ones to select for your USDA Cold Hardiness Zone or region of the country. We even explain how to find what you need online at FBTS, whether Salvias or companion plants.

If you need information about a basic topic that doesn't appear in our Getting Started story queue, please call or send an email. We welcome your help in growing our blog.

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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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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Getting Started: What Is Drought and Xeriscaping

Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Synopsis: Drought is a shortage of precipitation over a season or more as in California where four years of drastic declines in rainfall and snowpack have created severe watering cutbacks. Drought is also defined by what and whom it affects from agriculture to homeowners. Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery explains drought and xeriscape, a water-conserving form of landscaping that is effective for gardening during drought and in dry climates. This article is part of the FBTS Getting Started series for gardeners becoming acquainted with Salvias (true sages). It includes a brief list of drought-resistant sages.

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Getting Started: Salvias for the Southwest

Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Synopsis: Ask anyone to describe the American Southwest, and they're likely to sum it up in three letters : "D-R-Y." Yet precipitation can vary a lot here state by state and even within different parts of the individual states. One thing that is consistent about the story of water throughout the Southwest, is that rain and snow can rapidly swing from famine to feast to misfortune.

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Getting Started: Salvias for Zone 8

Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2015
Synopsis: Rainfall often is heavy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 8. It swings in a deep, broad arc from the West Coast to the Gulf Coast and back up the East Coast to the northeast edge of Virginia. What all its diverse areas have in common climatically is an average low winter temperature of 10 degrees F. Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery discusses growing conditions and how to select Salvias for your part of Zone 8 whether wet or dry.

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Getting Started: Salvias for the Coastal Southeast

Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2015
Synopsis: True sages are members of the Salvia genus and number in the hundreds. They are native to a wide variety of environments worldwide, which is why some are ideal for the dry gardens of California and others can handle the abundant moisture of the American Southeast. Flowers by the Sea raises many sages that grow well in the Southeast, including some that are either native to the region or have jumped fences from gardens into the wild.

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Getting Started: Salvias for New England

Posted: Thursday, April 30, 2015
Synopsis: Some people think you only find sage and coyotes out West. But Canis latrans, the Eastern Coyote, slipped into New England in the 1930s, and who knows when all the sages arrived? The New England Wild Flower Society notes that Lyreleaf Sage (Salvia lyrata) is the region's only native sage. It's one among many Salvia species grown in the Botanic Garden of Smith College in Massachusetts, which has one of the largest collections of sage in the region. Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery raises hundreds of sages, including many northeastern favorites.

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Getting Started: Salvias for the Mid-Atlantic

Posted: Friday, March 20, 2015
Synopsis: Outside of its cities, the Mid-Atlantic can be described as an overwhelmingly green place. If you love the Mid-Atlantic, you revel in its verdant landscape. However, if you aren't reveling in the predictable planting choices you see in neighbor's yards, it may be time to expand your horizons by exploring the Salvia genus. Flowers by the Sea discusses the boundaries, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones and Salvia choices for the region.

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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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Getting Started: Types of Salvias for Zone 7

Posted: Friday, March 6, 2015
Synopsis: Winter temperatures can seem moderate, then dip to freezing in USDA Hardiness Zone 7, which covers a broad range of locations from Washington State to Washington, D.C. To succeed, Salvia perennials and shrubs need to tolerate temperature shifts and local growing conditions. Learn more at Flowers by the Sea, an online, mail-order Salvia nursery.

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Getting Started: Types of Salvias for Zone 6

Posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Synopsis: To bloom yearly, Salvia perennials and shrubs in USDA Hardiness Zone 6 need to tolerate chilly winters with average low temperatures of -10 degrees F. The success of Zone 6 sages also depends on local growing conditions. Learn more at Flowers by the Sea, an online, mail-order Salvia nursery.

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Getting Started: Salvias for Zone 5

Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2015
Synopsis:

To bloom yearly, Salvia perennials and shrubs in USDA Hardiness Zone 5 need to tolerate deep freeze winters with average low temperatures of -20 degrees F. The success of Zone 5 sages also depends on local growing conditions. Learn more at Flowers by the Sea, an online, mail-order Salvia nursery.



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Getting Started: How Much Water Salvias Need

Posted: Friday, February 20, 2015
Synopsis:

Salvias may need little or lots of water depending on species and local growing conditions. Many are drought resistant, getting by on less than an inch a week. Learn about the many kinds of Salvias, also called sages, at Flowers by the Sea. We're an online, mail-order nursery specializing in sages.



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Getting Started: How Much Sun Salvias Need

Posted: Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Synopsis: Answering the question of how much sunlight Salvias need is dependent on the lands and conditions in which they originated. Also called true sages, Salvias may range from full sun to full shade species. But many prefer a combination of sun and shade. Flowers by the Sea is an online, mail-order nursery where you can buy hundreds of different sages.

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Getting Started: Annual, Perennial and Shrub Sages

Posted: Thursday, February 5, 2015
Synopsis: For beautiful floral display and refreshing greenery, every yard needs a combination of annual bedding plants, perennials and shrubs. Salvias provide a feast of landscaping possibilities. Flowers by the Sea explains all the different types of Salvias, including subshrubs, biennials and tree-like Salvias

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Getting Started: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones

Posted: Monday, February 2, 2015
Synopsis: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones aid in selecting Salvia perennials and shrubs that save gardeners money by re-emerging each spring to bloom again. Flowers by the Sea, an online, mail-order nursery specializing in Salvias can help you select the best ones for your USDA zone.

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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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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.