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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:
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 about 1,000 species. This video is part of the FBTS Everything Salvias 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 tolerate 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 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 about 1,000 species. This video is part of the FBTS Everything Salvias 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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Sage Experts: Meet Huntington Gardens Curator Kathy Musial

Posted: Saturday, July 19, 2014
Synopsis:

The Sage Experts series focuses on Salvia specialists — both amateurs and professionals -- in settings ranging from botanic gardens to universities. Kathy Musial, curator of live collections at Southern California's Huntington Gardens, is the subject of this profile. If you imagine a great dinner party involving lots of garden talk, Kathy Musial would be an ideal guest who could share her experiences plant trekking in Australia and Chile or co-managing some 14,000 varieties of plants at Huntington.



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Salvia Small Talk: The Gardens and Sages of Alcatraz

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2014
Synopsis:

Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay once housed prisoners, many of whom helped beautify "The Rock" by working in prison gardens. Nowadays, volunteer gardeners keep the island flowering with the help of long-blooming, drought-tolerant Salvias



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Ask Mr. Sage: Shipping Outside the Lower 48 States

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2014
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage is a question-and-answer feature based on calls and emails received at Flowers by the Sea. This inquiry concerns whether FBTS ships plants to foreign countries and parts of the nation outside the continental U.S. The simple answer is "Yes." The complicated answer about shipping to foreign countries is that the process is time consuming, costly and highly regulated. We won't break exportation rules

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Portraits in Gardening: Michael Kampf

Posted: Monday, July 14, 2014
Synopsis:

Portraits in Gardening is a new blog series from Flowers by the Sea that profiles customers who are passionate about the Salvia genus. This post features Illinois gardener Michael Kampf who has succeeded in growing many kinds of Salvias despite the frigid winters and fiercely hot summers of the Chicago area. He began gardening when 6 years old with encouragement from his mother and fell in love with Salvias at age 12.



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Salvia Small Talk: What to Do When Plants Are Out of Stock

Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Synopsis:

Flowers by the Sea ships plants year round. However, at any given time we may be out of stock for plants in high demand. Clicking on the Email me when back in stock button causes you to receive an email immediately when the plant is back in stock. Production of some plants is limited. Some can only be obtained for spring delivery; others require special ordering. 



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Bat-Faced Beauty: Gardeners & Hummingbirds Love Cuphea schumannii

Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Synopsis:

Most bat faces only look beautiful to their mothers. However bat-faced Cuphea schumannii seems pretty as punch to hummingbirds in search of a sweet drink of nectar. If you take a close look at the ragged, open end of each flower, you'll see two, tiny, lavender petals standing straight up like bat or mouse ears. So, despite its common name, Orange Cigar Plant, this species is known as a bat-faced Cuphea. Aside from being excellent for attracting pollinators, Cupheas are becoming important agricultural crops that reduce pesticide use.



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Sage Experts: Meet Professor Rolando Uria of Argentina

Posted: Sunday, June 22, 2014
Synopsis:

Sage Experts is a new feature on our Everything Salvias blog. It focuses on horticulturalists -- both amateurs and professionals -- in settings ranging from botanic gardens to universities. All have expertise in cultivating plants in the Salvia genus. This first profile talks about Argentina's Rolando Uria, an agronomy professor at the University of Buenos Aires and a presenter at the 2013 Salvia Summit II. Uria is well known for discovering Salvia 'Amistad'.



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In the Native Garden: 25 Colorful California Salvias Plus a Cousin

Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Synopsis:

Native plants, including California's many indigenous sages, are like the boys or girls next door who were overlooked until outsiders discovered their good looks and other fine attributes. For the longest time, native species didn’t get respect in home gardening – a sizeable oversight considering that California alone has more than 5,500 native plants. Natives are roughly defined as species that were growing in America before European colonization. Flowers by the Sea cultivates hardy, drought-resistant California Salvias that are native to a broad swath of the West Coast ranging from Northern Baja to Southern Oregon. The California natives detailed here are all drought resistant and many tolerate heat. They are well suited to waterwise, xeriscapic landscapes, including dry gardens in which plants must survive despite almost no supplemental watering.



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Ask Mr. Sage: Do You Ship to My Address?

Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives. This one talks about how we work with you if a glitch arises in shipping. It concerns addresses to which Flowers by the Sea can mail plants.

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Ask Mr. Sage: What Kinds of Salvias Are Edible?

Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014
Synopsis:

Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives. This post concerns Salvias that are edible and tasty. Although we are unaware of any Salvia species (true sages) that contain poisonous parts, we are cautious about which ones to recommend for culinary use. A link to our culinary species is included along with links to our blog posts about cooking with sages.



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Ask Mr. Sage: How Light and Growing Conditions Affect Flower Color

Posted: Saturday, June 7, 2014
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives. This one explains the many factors that can cause the color of a plant's flowers to vary from one location to another. The blossom color of Flowers by the Sea plants in your garden may not always exactly match the colors in our photographs.

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Ask Mr. Sage: What Hummingbird and Butterfly Salvias Tolerate Lots of Moisture

Posted: Sunday, June 1, 2014
Synopsis:

Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives. This one explains how to cruise the Flowers by the Sea online catalog to find butterfly and hummingbird Salvias that can handle lots of moisture.



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