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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.

Explore the Categories:










































Here are all of our articles:
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Select Plants in Warm Zones

Posted: Friday, November 7, 2014
Synopsis:

Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives. This one concerns how to select plants when you move to a different USDA cold hardiness zone, such as in a warmer climate.



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Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Space Salvias When Planting

Posted: Monday, October 27, 2014
Synopsis:

By spacing Salvias properly when planting, you avoid problems caused either by overcrowding or leaving too much space around individual plants. Most Salvias are healthier with good air circulation. Crowding leads to the spread of fungal diseases and pests, such as spider mites. Too wide of spacing may cause branches to break in high winds. By paying attention to plant measurements before planting, you can create a good spacing plan. Ask Mr. Sage is a Q&A feature based on topics raised in calls and emails to FBTS.



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Ask Mr. Sage: How to Prevent Root Disease in Plants for Dry Gardens

Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2014
Synopsis:

Learn how to prevent root rot and keep dry-garden Salvias healthy by providing optimum growing conditions and avoiding overwatering. Ask Mr. Sage is a Q&A feature based on topics raised in calls and emails to Flowers by the Sea. This one, which concerns a Salvia species that is drought resistant and native to a dry climate, considers how to identify and prevent rot caused by a complex of soil pathogens that attack when roots.



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Beneficial Insects at Flowers by the Sea

Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Synopsis: Beneficial insects help control destructive insects in greenhouses and gardens. Flowers by the Sea uses beneficials to keep plants free of pests and to avoid use of harmful pesticides. FBTS is a horticultural farm in Northern California specializing in hundreds of ornamental Salvia species. In this video, FBTS horticulturist and co-owner Kermit Carter talks about the use of predatory mites called Persimilis and Fallacis to attack plant-eating spider mites and Encarsia wasps to control whiteflies. Carter shows how a tiny box from an insectary contains thousands of helpful insects, including ladybugs, which keep his farm free of pests. The microscopically small predatory mites come packaged with bean leaves that make it easy to distribute them in the garden. Paper strips for overhead hanging contain the wasp eggs. This video is part of the FBTS blog series Views from the Garden.

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Sage Experts: How Dr. Dufresne Became the Sultan of Salvia

Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2014
Synopsis: A chance encounter with Pineapple Sage led organic chemist Dr. Richard F. Dufresne to become one of America's leading Salvia researchers. Sage Experts focuses on specialists -- both professionals and amateurs -- who have helped popularize the Salvia genus. Dufresne's life course changed the day he visited Rhode Island's Biodynamic Meadowbrook Herb Farm. The study of chemistry had already helped him to emerge from childhood confusion caused by ADHD. Discovering the heady pineapple fragrance of Salvia elegans at Meadowbrook gave him a cause.

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Using Salvias in Flower Arrangements

Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Synopsis:

You don’t have to be a florist to create eye-catching designs with dramatic Salvias. By planting the right Salvias and complementary flowers in your garden as well as gaining a little knowledge about color combinations, well-balanced compositions, simple tools and cut-flower preservation, you are on your way.



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Ask Mr. Sage: How to Water Desert Plants

Posted: Sunday, October 5, 2014
Synopsis: Overwatering harms desert plants more than underwatering. When growing them, you need to consider the quantity, duration and timing of watering. Excellent soil drainage is also essential. This article talks about how to identify overwatering and establish an effective watering schedule. Ask Mr. Sage is a Q&A feature based on topics raised in calls and emails to FBTS.

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Ask Mr. Sage: Why FBTS Uses Foam Packing Peanuts & How to Reuse Them

Posted: Friday, October 3, 2014
Synopsis:

It isn't easy being completely green. Flowers by the Sea explains why polystyrene packing peanuts are essential for shipping and what you can do with them after unpacking your orders. Ecofriendly reuses include donating them to shipping companies and using them to lighten container plantings. Ask Mr. Sage is a Q&A feature based on topics raised in calls and emails to FBTS.



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How to Find Food for the Bees at Flowers by the Sea

Posted: Monday, September 29, 2014
Synopsis: Forgive the bad pun, but we almost wouldn't be without bees. These tiny pollinators make it possible for us to eat and experience the flowering beauty of the world around us. Honeybees -- the kind managed by beekeepers -- and thousands of wild species pollinate at least one-third of the plant species we eat. At Flowers by the Sea we've decided to improve our efforts to help the genus Apis. Our first step is to make it easier for you to find plants honeybees frequent by making our catalog easier to search for bee favorites.

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Gray and Silver Foliage Lights Up the Landscape Day and Night

Posted: Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Synopsis: It isn't easy describing green in the garden. Foliage can span greens so pale they are almost white to blue-greens so deep they murmur the forest primeval. Amid this range, you'll find shimmering silver- and gray-leaf species. To locate these types of Salvias and companion plants in the Flowers by the Sea catalog, please visit our new Gray and Silver Leaf Plants category in our catalog menu at the top of every page on our website. This article includes a small sampler of our selection.

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Summer & Early Fall Pruning of Autumn and Mountain Sage

Posted: Saturday, September 20, 2014
Synopsis: 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 with flowers 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 some 900 species. This video is part of the farm and online nursery's blog series Views from the Garden.

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Ask Mr. Sage: When Is It Too Late for Autumn Planting?

Posted: Saturday, September 20, 2014
Synopsis:

Learn how to determine the best start and stop times for fall planting. Ask Mr. Sage is a Q&A feature based on topics raised in calls and emails to Flowers by the Sea. This post concerns fall planting and provides tools for making decisions based on local frost dates and temperatures.



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Repotting Salvias: The Basics

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2014
Synopsis: When a container-planted Salvia grows too large for it pot, it's time to move it to roomier quarters. But how much extra space is too much and what kinds of containers are best? In this video from Northern California's Flowers by the Sea family farm, FBTS horticulturist and co-owner Kermit Carter shows how to select the right size of pot for a Salvia based on its size and need for moisture. He talks about the differences between plastic and clay pots: Carter explains that although plastic pots may be best for conserving moisture in semi-arid parts of the nation, he prefers terra cotta clay pots for their better breathability and drainage. FBTS specializes in the Salvia genus, which contains some 900 species. This video is part of its blog series Views from the Garden.

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Sage Experts: How Robin Middleton's Gardens Bloomed

Posted: Monday, September 15, 2014
Synopsis: Sage Experts focuses on Salvia specialists -- both amateurs and professionals -- in settings ranging from home gardens to university laboratories. This article concerns Robin Middleton of Surrey, England, and his popular Robins Salvias website. The longtime horticulturist grows more than 100 Salvia species and cultivars in his garden and greenhouses.

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Rootbound Salvias: Assessment & Treatment

Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2014
Synopsis: Before planting a Salvia in the ground or moving it to a larger container, you should determine whether it has become rootbound and needs to have its rootball loosened. Salvias put up with being rootbound more easily than most flowering plants. However, a Salvia needs extra attention before replanting if its roots dangle from the pot's drain holes and are so dense that they overwhelm the soil. Then the rootball feels too firm and can't be replanted as is. In this video from Northern California's Flowers by the Sea family farm, FBTS horticulturist and co-owner Kermit Carter removes several plants from their containers to show you different stages of heavy rooting. Carter demonstrates a variety of methods for loosening roots and soil before replanting. FBTS specializes in the Salvia genus, which contains some 900 species. This video is part of its blog series Views from the Garden.

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Leonotis: Mint Family Members that Roar in the Landscape

Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2014
Synopsis:

Orange is an aggressive color in the garden. It doesn't purr. The fuzzy, shaggy, hot orange flowers of the Leonotis genus growl for attention. Their stems are so tall that they may reach up to 6 feet, towering over the foliage like gawky Dr. Seuss blossoms. Flowers by the Sea grows three kinds.



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Portraits in Gardening: Ward Dasey

Posted: Monday, September 8, 2014
Synopsis:

Portraits in Gardening is a blog series from Flowers by the Sea that profiles customers who are passionate about the Salvia genus. This article focuses on wildlife gardener, birder and dedicated volunteer Ward W. Dasey III, who grows Salvias at New Jersey's Palmyra Cove Nature Park. Dasey and nature-loving friends proposed the park to make bird watching easier on the Delaware River.



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Texas and Southwestern Native Plants for Butterflies, Honeybees and Hummingbirds

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2014
Synopsis:

Many gardeners and wildlife lovers in states with recurrent drought choose to increase the number of native plants in their yards. This is especially true of Texas, where statewide drought began in 2010 and hasn't yet abated. Native plants appeal to local wildlife, including pollinators. To help gardeners from Texas and the Southwest who want to create wildlife habitat, Flowers by the Sea (FBTS) suggests Salvias appropriate for Texas and Southwest gardens.



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Ask Mr. Sage: Why Doesn't FBTS Use USPS Mail

Posted: Saturday, August 9, 2014
Synopsis:

Ask Mr. Sage is a question-and-answer feature based on topics raised in calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives. This post concerns why U.S. Postal Service priority mailing containers don't fit our plants and their shipping prices for larger containers can't match those of our shipper, UPS. We choose to keep plant prices affordable by charging accurate shipping costs based on customer locations.



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Ask Mr. Sage: How to Use the 'Email Me When Back in Stock' Button

Posted: Saturday, August 9, 2014
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage is a question-and-answer feature based on topics raised in calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives. This post concerns the FBTS "Email Me When Back in Stock" button -- a feature on our plant description pages that allows customers to request notification as soon as out-of-stock plants become available again.

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Sage Experts: Meet Salvia Researcher Jesús Guadalupe González-Gallegos

Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014
Synopsis: The FBTS Sage Experts series focuses on Salvia specialists -- both amateurs and professionals -- in settings ranging from botanic gardens to universities. This article focuses on Jesús Guadalupe González-Gallegos of the University of Guadalajara, an expert in the taxonomy of Salvias native to Western Mexico. He discusses the megadiversity of Mexican flora and problems involving incorrect identification of sage species.

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Salvia Small Talk: Accenting Floral Arrangements with Salvias

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Synopsis:

Southern California urban homesteader Kate Richards offers good advice for incorporating Salvias into country-style bouquets. Richards gained her flower-arranging experience while working in the floral industry, but you don't have to be a florist to design beautiful bouquets.



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Sage Words About Wildlife: Hummingbirds Love Lobelias

Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014
Synopsis:

Top-10 lists of hummingbird favorites almost always contain Salvia and Lobelia, because each genus is nectar rich and offers many species in bright reds, oranges and pinks. Hummingbirds have a weak sense of smell, but bright colors, such as those of Lobelias, lure them to flowerbeds. They are particularly devoted to the four types grown at Flowers by the Sea.



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Salvia Small Talk: Summer Squash Sage Sauce with Pasta

Posted: Saturday, July 26, 2014
Synopsis:

Every now and then, we visit other websites for promising recipes containing sage. For this post, we dropped in at food writer Claire Adas’ Out of the Ordinary cooking website for a sauce of summer squash and sage.



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

Posted: Friday, July 25, 2014
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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