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:
New at FBTS: Suncrest Salvias

Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2014
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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Upcoming at FBTS: Hummingbirds Love Cute Cupheas

Posted: Sunday, December 15, 2013
Synopsis:

Bright orange, tube-shaped blossoms cover Cuphea x 'David Verity' like tiny windsocks blowing in a breeze and beckoning hummingbirds. Similar to Salvias, Cupheas are rich sources of nectar that fuel hummingbird migration. At Flowers by the Sea, we are always interested in expanding choices for creating wildlife habitat. So we are growing a wide variety of Cupheas for sale this coming spring, including David Verity.



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Salvia Small Talk: Customized Shipping Charges

Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Synopsis:

Flowers by the Sea uses a customized system for shipping charges. Customized fees allow adjustment of shipping prices based on how far away you live from FBTS and how many plants you purchase. This is a more equitable way of covering delivery fees instead of increasing plant prices to cover losses on delivery charges as in a flat-rate system.

 



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Sage Words About Wildlife: Threats to Monarch Butterfly Migration

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Synopsis:

Declining numbers of Monarch butterflies is an ongoing problem. Due to research by organizations such as Monarch Watch and the Xerces Society as well as tracking efforts by the Mexican government, we now know about the dramatic ups and downs the species has experienced in the past 20 years. At Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery, we grow butterfly favorites to help you plant gardens supporting the migration of Monarchs and other butterflies.



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Quick Digs: Treating Salvias as Bedding Plants

Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Synopsis:

As autumn days become shorter, so does time for protecting all your tender perennial sages (Salvia spp.) that nature designed for warmer winter conditions. This is the fifth and final article in our Quick Digs series on preparation for winter in the Salvia garden. This post acknowledges that sometimes it's better to replant favorites as annuals in spring.



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Ask Mr. Sage: How to Identify Fertilizer Burn

Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Synopsis:

Ask Mr. Sage is our blog's new question-and-answer feature, based on calls and emails received at Flowers by the Sea. This question concerns dark spotting on foliage that may be caused by fertilizer burn.



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Quick Digs: Overwintering Salvias in Containers Outdoors

Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Synopsis:

In chilly climates, such as USDA Cold Hardiness Zones with winter temperatures lower than those of Zone 8, it is difficult for potted plants to survive outdoors when the mercury dips. Soil in containers freezes harder and thaws more rapidly than the ground. This third article in our Quick Digs series on preparation for winter in the Salvia garden discusses how to improve chances of survival when overwintering sages in containers outdoors.



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Quick Digs: Putting Salvias to Bed with Winter Mulch

Posted: Monday, October 14, 2013
Synopsis:

During spring, a heavy coat of fall leaves or wood mulch isn't good for Salvias, because it can cause fungal problems that attack crown and roots. But in winter, organic mulches are ideal for blanketing the foliage and root area of sages. Mulch is particularly useful in protecting protect plant roots against injury from freeze-and-thaw cycles, especially for new fall plantings.This is the second article in our Quick Digs series on preparation for winter in the Salvia garden.



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Quick Digs: Prepping and Overwintering in Salvia Gardens

Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2013
Synopsis:

In autumn, even while the days are bright and balmy, you may be wondering how to help favorite Salvias survive local winter temperatures and freeze-thaw cycles. Although we can't offer you foolproof solutions, we provide ideas in this first article of our Quick Digs series on winter mulching Salvias and overwintering them both outside and indoors.



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Fall Planting: Commemorating the HMS Salvia

Posted: Sunday, October 6, 2013
Synopsis:

Not long ago, we stumbled on an article about a World War II British naval warship named the HMS Salvia. The name made strange sense to us due to the toughness of the genus. Many Salvias survive, and even thrive, in heat, cold, drought and other difficult conditions. This article ponders how the ship got its name. It is also a commemorative of sorts to those who lose their lives serving their countries.



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Ten Favorite Flowers for Butterflies and Hummingbirds

Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013
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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Sage Words About Wildlife: Climate Change Alters Hummingbird Migration

Posted: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Synopsis:

Nature doesn't come to a sudden, overall halt, when the timing of its ecosystems slip, including ones involving hummingbirds. Instead, change occurs gradually. Plants and the animals that pollinate them have coevolved to meet each other's needs. You can help by planting hummingbird habitat in your home garden. Learn more in the Everything Salvias Blog at FBTS Online Nursery.



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Book Review: A Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Mexico's Copper Canyon Region

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Synopsis:

Copper Canyon is one of four labyrinthine gorges in Northwest Mexico's state of Chihuahua. The canyon lands are home to the indigenous Tarahumara Indians, who are famous for their reclusive culture, herbal knowledge and habit of easily running ultra marathon distances. The gorges are also home to a fabulous array of wildflowers, including Salvias, that amateur botanist Linda J. Ford documents in " "font-style: italic;">A Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Mexico's Copper Canyon Region."



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Fall Planting: 8 Best-of-Class Sages that Are Easy to Grow

Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013
Synopsis:

"Best of Class" is the title that Flowers by the Sea bestows on plants we honor for being winners in many ways. They are lovely, abundant bloomers and reliable repeat performers that are useful in many landscapes, including low-water gardens designed to have a cottage, woodland or desert look. In the case of the sages (Salvia spp.) described here, all are easy to grow because they thrive with little fuss. Many are heat tolerant and drought resistant.



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Book Review: The New Sunset Western Garden Book

Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013
Synopsis:

On a day when it's too cold or hot to be outside, a gardening guide, such as The New Sunset Western Garden Book, is a useful and entertaining companion. At 768 pages long, it isn't lightweight reading. Be prepared to prop the book up on pillows in your lap as you page through it while kicking back on the couch.



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Fall Planting: Tips for Salvia Success

Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013
Synopsis:

For people and for plants, cool fall weather is comfortable for working in the garden. As gardeners dig, amend soil, weed and water, newly planted perennials focus their efforts on growing strong root systems before the chill of winter. Most perennial sages (Salvia spp.) thrive if planted in fall. As temperatures decline, the soil remains warm. These conditions cause plants to decrease their growth above ground and focus on root expansion. Here are some tips about why and how you can succeed in the Salvia garden by planting during autumn.



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Composing a Symphony of Pastel Salvias Including Elk Rainbow Sages

Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Synopsis:

If you want to orchestrate a peaceful symphony in a flowerbed, planting a profusion of pastels is one way to do it. Pastels are lighter hues of bright primary and secondary colors. Although gardeners often visualize bright colors when thinking of Salvias, there are a number of pastels in the genus such as among the Jame Sage Hybrids (Salvia x jamensis spp.), including many in the new Flowers by the Sea Elk Rainbow Series.



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Quick Digs: Zone 7 to 9 Salvia Groundcovers Discourage Weeds

Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Synopsis:

This is the fifth article in our Quick Digs series on Salvia groundcovers for minimizing weeds in the garden. Here are four choices for Zones 7 to 9, including one that spreads up to 8 feet.



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Buying Salvias Online from FBTS: How to Order & What to Expect - Updated

Posted: Sunday, September 1, 2013
Synopsis:

When you purchase plants online, it's understandable to feel a bit nervous. After all, a tender green life is being sent to you in a box. Will it survive the journey in healthy condition? Also, how secure will your credit card information and other data be? Furthermore, how do you sort through all those plants in the online catalog? Flowers by the Sea provides answers.



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Salvia Small Talk: Bug Song in the Bushes

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Synopsis: Katydids love Salvias. Here are some photos from the University of California at Davis as well as a recording of katydids from a West Virginia naturalist.

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Unpacking and Hardening Off Mail-Order Plants

Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Synopsis:

Flowers by the Sea offers videos about plant cultivation in its Northern California demonstration gardens. In this video, first-time FBTS customers see how the company ships live potted plants so they arrive moist and healthy. Longtime horticulturist and FBTS co-owner Kermit Carter demonstrates how to remove the paper-wrapped plants from their box when they arrive a few days after shipping. He suggests checking them against the packing list and examining the plants for damage, which should be as minimal as the yellowing of a few leaves. This yellowing is due to the brief onset of dormancy while the plants are boxed. Unpacking is followed by a few days of hardening off in partial shade before planting. Carter explains that although most FBTS Salvias benefit from gentle misting after unpacking, the ones with blue tags are exceptionally drought-resistant and need to be allowed to go almost dry before watering. This video is part of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog series Views from the Garden.



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Ask Mr. Sage: How to Combat Whiteflies Safely

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage is our blog's new question-and-answer feature, based on calls and emails received at Flowers by the Sea. This question concerns how to safely rid Salvias of Whiteflies and their eggs.

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How to prune Salvia elegans 'Tangerine'

Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2013
Synopsis:

Pruning makes some people nervous. Am I doing too much or too little? Will I kill the plant? Is this the right time? Salvia specialist and longtime horticulturist Kermit Carter, co-owner of Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Mail-Order Nursery, describes the pruning of Tangerine Scented Sage and answers all these questions. This video is part of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog series Views from the Garden.



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Salvia Small Talk: Infusing Your Car with Sage

Posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Synopsis:

Make your own deodorizer for your car with a tea infuser and herbs, such as salvia.



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Quick Digs: Zone 5-9 Groundcover Gardens for Damp Conditions

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Synopsis:

Quick Digs is a serial containing short posts focused on a central issue about Salvia gardening. The topic for the first series is Salvia groundcovers for weed control, and this is the third article.

If you are a Salvia lover facing the difficult scenario of cold winters and damp soil, the sages listed here are right for winter conditions from USDA Zone 5 to 9. All are water-loving, shade-tolerant species and have handsome foliage that adds to landscaping even when the plants aren't blooming. By massing these plants, you gain coverage more rapidly and increase weed deterrence.



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