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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:
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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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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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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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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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: 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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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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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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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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Ask Mr. Sage: How to Select Plants for Garden Triumph

Posted: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Synopsis: 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.

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Add Pale Dreamy Sages to Your List of Moon Garden Plants

Posted: Friday, August 4, 2017
Synopsis:

Moon gardens contain plants with pale flowers -- especially whites -- and silvery or variegated foliage that shine in moonlight. Some gardeners plant them to glow from afar when peering into the dark through a window. Others design these gardens for nighttime rambles. A number of white-flowered sages would be excellent additions to the dreamy design of a moon garden.



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August in the Salvia Garden

Posted: Saturday, July 29, 2017
Synopsis:

August is a time when many sages grow rapidly and feed a frenzy of pollinators in need of rich nectar and pollen. It's hot, so you have to be careful not to let plants or yourself wilt.

Here are some tips for tasks from watering to planning when tending your garden this month.



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We've Made Shipping Changes to Simplify Your Life & Ours

Posted: Saturday, May 13, 2017
Synopsis:

To improve our ordering process, Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery no longer accepts split orders. Dividing an order for delivery on more than one date created confusion and errors.



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Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Prune my Salvias?

Posted: Monday, April 10, 2017
Synopsis:

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.



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Sacred Sage: Salvia coccinea -- An American Subtropical Treasure

Posted: Monday, February 27, 2017
Synopsis:

Although it probably originated somewhere in Mexico, Tropical Sage (Salvia coccinea) existed in the American Southeast prior to European exploration of the New World, so it is considered an American native. It's also native to Central and South America and has naturalized in parts of Europe and Africa. Medical researchers think its phytochemicals may fight illnesses caused by inflammation and oxidative stress from free radicals.



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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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New at FBTS: Hummingbirds Thrive on Margie Griffith Sage

Posted: Saturday, January 21, 2017
Synopsis:

A love of birds can grow into a passion for gardening. The reverse is also true. Sometimes these passions result in the development of excellent plants, such as Salvia x 'Margie Griffith' -- one of our newest introductions at Flowers by the Sea, our family farm and online nursery. Margie Griffith Sage grows up to 96 inches tall and wide in bloom. In some parts of its USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 to 11 it feeds hummingbirds nearly year round.



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Salvia Small Talk: Measuring Soil Drainage

Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Synopsis:

Well-drained soil for Salvias contains a loose mix of clay, coarse sand and organic matter.



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