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 You are here    Flowers by the Sea /

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:
July in the Salvia Garden

Posted: Monday, July 13, 2020
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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Ask Mr. Sage: What Size Pot Is Best for Transplanting Sages?

Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2020
Synopsis:

After your Salvias from Flowers by the Sea arrive, what size pots should you transplant them in for your container garden? The answer depends on the kind of sages you need to transplant. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature in our FBTS Everything Salvias Blog that answers customer questions about growing sages and companion plants.



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7 Anise Leaf Sage varieties we love

Posted: Monday, June 15, 2020
Synopsis:

Anise Leaf Sage, Salvia guaranitica varieties, are hardy herbaceous perennials native to Argentina. They also are magnets to hummingbirds.  Which ones are the best growers?  What colors are they?  Here is a simple guide to this lovely Sage.



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Getting Started: Salvias for the Midwest

Posted: Monday, June 1, 2020
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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Ask Mr. Sage: Why Don't You Grow this New Salvia?

Posted: Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Synopsis:

Plant developers introduce dozens of new Salvia varieties yearly. Flowers by the Sea Farm & Online Nursery selects the best following a careful trialing process. Learn more at Ask Mr. Sage, a column responding to customer questions in the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog.



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Cultivating Color: Rare Yellows in the Salvia Garden

Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2020
Synopsis:

Among Salvias, one might say yellow represents rarity because, overall, it’s an uncommon flower color for sages. But China and Japan are home to a number of yellow-flowered species, especially shade-loving types. Read more at Everything Salvias.



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Getting Started: How Much Sun Salvias Need

Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2020
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: Salvias for the Coastal Southeast

Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2020
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 the Rocky Mountain West

Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2020
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: What Is Drought and Xeriscaping

Posted: Friday, May 15, 2020
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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Drought Praise: 5 Blue-Tag Beauties for Dry Gardens

Posted: Friday, May 15, 2020
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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Drought Praise: Hot Pink and Purple Autumn Bloomers

Posted: Friday, May 15, 2020
Synopsis:

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

Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2020
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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A New Category - Autumn Sage & Mountain Sage

Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Synopsis:

Without a doubt, this group of closely related plants are the most widely grown of the genus. From 'Hot Lips' to 'Texas Wedding', there is something here for everyone.



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Ask Mr. Sage: Can I Plant Salvias in Summer?

Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Synopsis:

Watch out for sayings that warn against planting in summer. It's a good time to transplant Salvias if you give them some extra care. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of Our Everything Salvias Blog and is based on customer questions.



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Summer & Early Fall Pruning of Autumn and Mountain Sage

Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Synopsis:

Summer and fall pruning of Salvias requires only light trimming of spent blossoms, which is known as deadheading. It increases bloom for Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla), which are particularly abundant bloomers in autumn. In this video from Northern California's Flowers by the Sea farm, FBTS horticulturist and co-owner Kermit Carter shows how to use sharp hand pruners to quickly remove flower spikes that have gone to seed. Carter explains how flowering plants have less energy to put into blossoming if they are setting seed. Removal of spent blossoms improves a plant's appearance and makes continuous bloom possible. FBTS specializes in the Salvia genus, which contains about 1,000 species. This video is part of FBTS Everything Salvias Blog series Views from the Garden.



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Composing a Symphony of Pastel Salvias Including Elk Rainbow Sages

Posted: Sunday, May 10, 2020
Synopsis:

If you want to orchestrate a peaceful symphony in a flowerbed, planting a profusion of pastels is one way to do it. Pastels are lighter hues of bright primary and secondary colors. Although gardeners often visualize bright colors when thinking of Salvias, there are a number of pastels in the genus such as among the Jame Sage Hybrids (Salvia x jamensis spp.), including many in the new Flowers by the Sea Elk Rainbow Series.



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A Guide to Successful Potting Soils for Salvias

Posted: Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Synopsis:

One of the decisions that Salvia gardeners face in spring is what kind of potting mix to use for outdoor container plants. Find answers in FBTS Farm & Online Nursery's guide to successful potting soils for Salvias. 



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Pretty, Practical Cottage Gardens Rooted in Pandemic History

Posted: Friday, April 24, 2020
Synopsis:

Romantic visions of small, rose-covered houses with thatched roofs and bountifully blooming yards don't tell the story of how cottage gardens came to be in the Middle Ages due to a devastating pandemic. FBTS Farm and Online Nursery talks about cottage gardening past and present.



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New Product Filtering Tool Helps You with Decision Making

Posted: Friday, April 24, 2020
Synopsis:

Flowers by the Sea now offers a powerful, do-it-yourself, product-filtering tool that makes plant selection easier and faster. It sets up a matrix of choices to help customers sort possible selections for their gardens based on USDA cold hardiness zones, sun exposure, mature height and spread of plants, soil type and water needs. This article explains how the tool works and provides examples of how to use it.



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Getting Started: Salvias for New England

Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2020
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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Grow a Riot of Color with New Salvia Cottage Garden Collections

Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2020
Synopsis:

Cottage gardens make humble homes look spectacular with their densely packed color and foliage. FBTS Cottage Garden Collections are designed to brighten your yard with a riot of Salvias and companion plants.



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Ten Favorite Flowers for Butterflies and Hummingbirds

Posted: Friday, March 27, 2020
Synopsis:

Flowers that butterflies and hummingbirds favor are rich sources of nectar. But not all nectar-rich butterfly favorites are easy to access with long hummingbird beaks. Conversely, many flowers designed by nature to attract hummingbirds don't have the structure necessary for feeding butterflies or providing a perch. Here are ten Salvias and companion plants for backyard wildlife habitat that both butterflies and hummingbirds will enjoy.

 



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Container Gardening Basics: Selecting and Arranging Pots

Posted: Friday, March 27, 2020
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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Getting Started: Salvias for Zone 9

Posted: Friday, March 27, 2020
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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