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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:
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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Quick Digs: Planning a Salvia Garden Calendar

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018
Synopsis:

This is our second article in a Quick Digs series about preparing for spring in Salvia (sage) gardens. It's easier to succeed at almost anything if you make plans and set goals before beginning a project. This is certainly true in Salvia gardening. Creating a gardening calendar ensures greater success in planning.



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Quick Digs: Improving Soil for Spring in Salvia Gardens

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018
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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Quick Digs: Spring Weeds in Salvia Gardens

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018
Synopsis:

Weeding is the topic of this fourth article in our Quick Digs series about preparing for spring in Salvia gardens. Getting ready for the emergence of previously planted perennials in spring and for planting new sages (Salvia spp.) requires weeding before amending soil and planting. Then, growing vigorously spreading sages and ones rich in aromatic plant chemicals called terpines can help control weeds.



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Fall Planting: 8 Sages for Fragrance by Your Front Door

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018
Synopsis:

Colorful plantings make entryways attractive. Even better are pretty plantings that are fragrant and provide a sensory lift before you journey indoors. Scent wakes up memories and makes us see in a different way. Here are eight sensible suggestions for adding lovely scents to your landscape.



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Celebrity Salvias: Mexican Bush Sage Beauties

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018
Synopsis:

Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) is a garden star, but not a demanding diva. That is why Texas A&M University selected Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) as one of its 50 “Texas Superstar” plants, all of which are highly recommended for flourishing in unpredictable weather and drought. The many varieties of Mexican Bush Sage are garden beauties that need little pampering. Native to hot, dry areas of Mexico and Central America, they are accustomed to tough conditions. Flowers by the Sea carries a number of striking varieties.

 



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Quick Digs: Using the FBTS Wish List Gift Registry

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018
Synopsis:

This third article in our Quick Digs series about preparing Salvia gardens for spring concerns the Flowers by the Sea Wish List for maintaining lists of plants you want and for use as a gift registry. Our Wish List removes the guesswork from gift giving while allowing givers to surprise recipients.



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Quick Digs: Wintering Over Salvias Indoors

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018
Synopsis:

For some gardeners, bringing outdoor plants inside during winter is a practical matter. You want to save money. For others, plants are a bit like pets. You feel tender about your tender perennials and can't bear to think of a lovely sage dying from exposure to harsh weather. For both there is also the challenge of attempting to win against nature. This is the fourth article in our current Quick Digs series on preparation for winter in the Salvia garden. This article suggests ways to deal with overwintering sages indoors.



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Ask Mr Sage: What do I with a dry root ball?

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2018
Synopsis:

Plants may wither even if you regularly water them. When the ground surrounding a new planting's root ball is moist but the roots remain dry, that indicates moisture isn't transferring properly from the outer soil. Flowers by the Sea Nursery outlines a process for diagnosing dry root ball and combating it.



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Meet Salvia rosmarinus: A New Addition to the Sage Genus

Posted: Saturday, January 27, 2018
Synopsis: Bees adore rosemary, the powerfully resinous Mediterranean native known both as a groundcover spilling over garden slopes and as an accent or tall hedge plant.  Plant scientists who closely examined its DNA suggest moving the Rosmarinus genus into the Salvia genus. Flowers by the Sea now grows two kinds of Salvia rosmarinus.

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Ask Mr. Sage: How to Place Advance Orders with FBTS

Posted: Friday, December 8, 2017
Synopsis:

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.



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September in the Salvia Garden

Posted: Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Synopsis:

Depending on where you live, September may be a time to keep busy planting perennial Salvias or to hunker-down and plan garden recovery following storm damage. Each month, FBTS publishes a list of tips suggesting ways to maintain and beautify your Salvia garden. New plantings and transplanting of sages in autumn works well; dividing or pruning them doesn't.



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