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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:
6 Salvias for Shade

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2019
Synopsis:

Most gardeners associate plants in the genus Salvia with full sun, rocky soil, drought and semi-arid native lands. Although a number of sages fit this picture, far more appreciate loamy, fertile garden soil. Some require lots of water. Also, a large number of sages thrive in partial shade, and some tolerate full shade. Here are six of the many shade lovers that Flowers by the Sea grows.



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Ask Mr. Sage: Why Do Back-in-Stock Plants Disappear?

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2019
Synopsis:

When FBTS plants are out of stock, customers have the option of receiving email notification when they are available again. But a back-in-stock alert doesn't indicate the quantity available. Sometimes there are few and sometimes many. Getting what you want requires quick response. Ask Mr. Sage, a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog, responds to customer questions.



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New at FBTS: Suncrest Salvias

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2019
Synopsis:

Drought-resistant, heat-tolerant, vibrantly colored Suncrest Salvias (sages) have arrived at Flowers by the Sea and will be available for shipping in April. Suncrest Salvias are floriferous hybrids of species native to the American Southwest and Mexico, including Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla), Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii), Jame Sage (Salvia x jamensis) and Royal Purple Autumn Sage (Salvia muelleri).



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Book Review: Stop. . .and Smell the Mints

Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2019
Synopsis:

Randy Collins was surprised when he got hooked on horticulture following retirement. But after a move to South Carolina, he was even more surprised at how deer destroyed his gardens until he began growing lots of mint family (Lamiaceae) plants like Salvias. It inspired him to write Stop...and Smell the Mints.



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Portraits in Gardening: Michael and Kathi Rock's Hummingbird Journey

Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Synopsis:

A wedding gift led to Kathi Johnson Rock and Michael Rock's passion for hummingbirds. These Wisconsin birders offer tips and plant suggestions for hummingbird gardeners at FBTS. Although now known as Madison's "Hummingbird People," the Rocks aren't ornithologists or biologists. They are home gardeners and customers of Flowers by the Sea who discovered the power of nectar-rich Salvias and companion plants to fuel hummingbird migration. This article includes a list favorite hummingbird plants found in the Rocks' gardens.



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How David Verity Cuphea Became a Famous Hummingbird Flower

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019
Synopsis:

When massed in borders or standing out as a main attraction in a container planting, Cuphea x ‘David Verity’ is a visual feast for people as well as an actual feast for small wildlife. Rich in nectar, the plant’s dainty, cigar-shaped, orange-red flowers nestle amid a cloud of mid-green leaves shaped like tiny garden trowels.



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Ask Mr Sage: What Kind of Plant Is a Clone?

Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Synopsis:

It's helpful to understand botanical terminology such as clone, variety, and cultivar. Mr. Sage explains what the three words mean and how the processes of cloning and plant development work. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog and is based on questions from customers.



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New at FBTS: Ember's Wish & Love and Wishes Salvias

Posted: Friday, June 7, 2019
Synopsis:

Plants contribute to our lives in many ways -- as sources of beauty, building materials, clothing, food, fragrance, medicine and oxygen. Add hope and fulfillment to the list, because that is what three abundantly blooming Salvias from Australia add to the lives of seriously ill children. These plants form the Wish Collection -- Wendy's Wish Sage, Ember's Wish Sage, and Love and Wishes Sage. Flowers by the Sea is one of the first online nurseries in America to sell all three. Although we have grown and sold Wendy's Wish for a number of years, Ember's Wish and Love and Wishes are new at FBTS.



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Book Reviews: Three Top Reads for Dry Gardening

Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Synopsis:

Don’t think “drab” when you hear the phrase “dry garden.” With guidance from good books and a willingness to experiment, you can create colorful flowerbeds and landscapes that require little to no supplemental watering. Here is a quick overview of three books that are excellent resources about sustainable dry gardening.



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Colorful Salvias Break Myth of Dry Garden Drabness

Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Synopsis:

Dry gardens are flowerbeds or entire landscapes based on ornamental perennials that require little to no watering once well rooted. Many Salvias are excellent, drought-resistant choices for these gardens. Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery talks about dry garden myths as well as low-water plants. 



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Himalayan Sage Is the Salvia Collector's Holy Grail: Part 2

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019
Synopsis:

Plants don’t have voices but they have stories to tell, including tales of discovery. It’s easy to see why the early 18th century plant explorer Victor Jacquemont would have paused to collect the rare Salvia hians while traversing broad expanses of northwestern India. This second half of our article about the alluring species digs into its history.  



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Himalayan Sage Is the Salvia Collector’s Holy Grail: Part 1

Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2019
Synopsis:

For plant collectors, a mystique surrounds rare species like Salvia hians (Himalayan or Kashmir Sage). This is especially true when there is uncertainty about what the plant should look like. Perhaps the most famous image of S. hians is a 2012 photograph of UK plant collector Chris Chadwell next to an abundantly blooming stand of large violet-blue flowers with white lower lips. Why doesn’t the Flowers by the See variety of this rare species look exactly like the plant Chadwell found — a plant that seems to be the Holy Grail of Salvia collectors? We’ll do our best to explain.



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Ten Favorite Flowers for Butterflies and Hummingbirds

Posted: Monday, March 25, 2019
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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Ask Mr. Sage: What Tropical Sage Should I Select?

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019
Synopsis:

Selecting the right types of Tropical Sage (Salvia coccinea) can be confusing when viewing them in a catalog and seeing similar flower colors. Yet they may differ in cultivation needs, foliage, heat tolerance, and size. Mr. Sage offers ideas for comparing differences and similarities. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog, which responds to questions from customers.



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6 Indispensable Hummingbird Flowers for Long, Easy Bloom

Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019
Synopsis:

Hummingbirds are like tiny combat jets dive bombing each other when staking claim to the nectar-rich flowers they need for survival. Fights over nectar habitat can reduce hummingbird gardens to single occupancy. FBTS Farm and Online Nursery details and tells stories about its top six hummingbird flowers. Plant lots of them to accommodate a village of hungry hummers.

 



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Quick Digs: Inventorying Salvias and Tools for Spring Gardening

Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2019
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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A Community of Anise Scented Sages We Adore

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019
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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Bedding Plant Royalty: Splendid Salvia Splendens

Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019
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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Ask Mr. Sage: How to Buy Salvia Alert Plants

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Synopsis:

Competition to buy unusual, limited-supply Salvias through the FBTS Salvia Alert newsletter can be fierce and frustrating. Mr. Sage offers tips for succeeding through patience and persistence. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of FBTS Everything Salvias Blog and is based on questions from customers.



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A Gardeners Guide to Hummingbird Sage

Posted: Monday, March 4, 2019
Synopsis:

Among the hummers' favorites: Salvia spathacea, commonly known as Hummingbird Sage. As it name suggests, this California native produces the hummingbirds' flower of choice, blooming from late winter through summer -- and sometimes again in Fall -- with rose-pink to magenta blossoms. Available in six varieties, this robust perennial not only attracts hummers with its abundant nectar, it's easy to grow and enhances any landscape with its aromatic blooms and fragrant evergreen foliage.



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Ask Mr. Sage: Which Milkweed Is Right for My Garden?

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2019
Synopsis:

Although America has many native milkweeds, choosing the right one for your garden partly depends on plant and seed availability. Limitations sometimes cause gardeners to select nonnative Tropical Milkweed. Flowers by the Sea helps gardeners nationwide to increase milkweed habitat, which Monarch Butterflies need as host and nectar plants. 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: Do You Offer Free Shipping?

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2019
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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Sacred Sage: Salvia mellifera -- the Easiest California Native

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2018
Synopsis:

Long before the West Coast was colonized, California Indians used Black Sage (Salvia mellifera Greene) for food and medicinal purposes. Today, it often is bundled in smudge sticks used like incense during purification rituals. Another reason to consider Black Sage sacred is that, among the state’s native plants, it is one of the most important sources of nectar for pollinators. Nineteenth century botanist and clergyman Edward Lee Greene made the plant’s botanical name official in 1892 when he was the first person to publish it in a scientific journal. Among California's native Salvias, it is the easiest to grow in home gardens.



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Salvia Small Talk: Planting a Therapy Garden

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018
Synopsis:

Salvias are good additions to sensory gardens, because of their fragrance, texture and visual appeal. Plants with sensory appeal stir memory.



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