This is a good choice for moist, shady garden spots, but can take a bit of morning sun. Makino cultivars are hardy as long as they receive plenty of shade, water and soil that is rich and well-drained. In autumn, short flower spikes rise out of compact, basal foliage, creating a gracefully proportioned look.
This herbaceous sage should be seen up close both for its extraordinary flowers and lush foliage. Plant it in a container, along a shady pathway or as a woodland groundcover. Although slow growing, this tough yet lovely sage is worth the wait. Fortunately, deer don't like it.
Here are some guidelines for success with this plant in your garden.
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This plant can handle extreme heat.
Full-sun Salvias that don’t like any shade are among the most heat tolerant. Heat-loving Salvias also are often drought tolerant. Moisture-conserving features, such as fuzzy leaves, help them stay perky at high temperatures.
Heat-tolerant Salvias are fine choices for western and southern exposures.
This plant thrives when planted where it will receive morning sun followed by afternoon shade, such as on the eastern side of a house. Make sure it isn’t exposed to midday and afternoon sun, which can damage tender leaves during the summer when sunlight is more intense due to being more direct.
Although midday is when sunlight is most direct, it takes time for the atmosphere to heat up and for heat to peak at sometime in the afternoon. Salvias that prefer cooler temperatures are protected by afternoon shade during the hottest time of year.
This plant grows well in partial shade, such as the kind on the edge of woodlands or under deciduous trees with breaks in the foliage through which dappled sunlight penetrates. Many Salvias thrive in partial shade, including ones that spend part of their day in full sunlight. Some species need partial shade to overcome severe heat and dry soil.
This plant grows well in an outdoor container, such as on a patio.
Some containerized Salvias leaf out and flower year after year following a period of dormancy. Annuals in containers may die back and appear to grow again when they reseed.
During extreme heat, check the soil in container plantings once or twice daily to be sure it doesn't completely dry out. Feel its surface for coolness, then gently poke a finger into the soil to check for dryness.
Plant hardiness Zones defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture tell you the minimum temperatures a plant can withstand in your garden. The USDA divides the nation into winter climate areas from coldest (Zone 1) to warmest (Zone 11).
However, it is sometimes possible to grow a Zone 6 Salvia as a perennial in Zone 5 if you provide preferential care, such as winter mulching and a location sheltered from harsh winds. In contrast, a Zone 9 Salvia may act like a perennial in Zone 10 if given a bit of shade or extra water.
To create a harmonious landscape plan, it is important to consider the heights of individual plants.
Height also affects function. Short Salvias often make excellent ground covers that conserve soil moisture and discourage weeds while also brightening your yard. Medium-height Salvias, such as ones 36 inches tall, often are ideal border plants. A tall Salvia planted singly can highlight a landscape; multiple plantings can form an attractive screen.
By considering the width of a plant, you can determine how many to place in a row or what other plants to grow with it.
For example, a narrow, moderate-height Salvia may look good interplanted with bushier species, kind of like Mutt and Jeff.
In contrast, wide-spreading Salvias are economical for hiding lengths of wall and fence or for creating hedge-like divisions in a yard.
Plant this herbaceous species in the USDA Zones where it grows as a perennial, returning year after year.
After dying back to the ground at frost, herbaceous perennials emerge in the Spring with soft, new growth. A Salvia that is perennial in one region, may be an annual in another depending on local conditions, such as winter temperatures.
If you live in USDA Zone 5, for example, Salvias in our catalog cited as growing well in Zone 5 or lower will be perennial. Those cited as doing well in Zones 6 or higher may do well in Zone 5, but generally will act like annuals coming back from seed instead of the parent plant’s roots.
This plant thrives on or at least tolerates lots of water, especially when soil is well drained.
A number of Salvias hold up well in areas where rainfall is a regular occurrence. Some even tolerate boggy conditions. These are usually top-notch plants for regions of the country, such as the Southeast, where summers are soggy.
This plant reaches peak bloom in Fall or flowers for much of the season.
It may begin flowering much earlier in the year. Bloom time for some Salvias lasts from Spring till first frost. Others begin flowering in Summer and continue into Fall. There are also Salvias that don’t bloom until late Fall and continue into Winter if grown in mild-Winter areas.
There is a great deal of overlap in blooming seasons for Salvias.
Unless local forage is in short supply, most deer likely will avoid this plant.
It appears that deer dislike Salvias, in general, due to their volatile oils that make the plants so fragrant and savory in cooking. However, the only completely deer-proof plants are the ones grown beyond reach.
(Formosan Woodland Sage or Tai wan qin zhu cao) A native of Taiwan, this Salvia nipponica grows well in hot, humid climates as well as milder locales.
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019
It's helpful to understand botanical terminology such as clone, variety, and cultivar. Mr. Sage explains what the three words mean and how the processes of cloning and plant development work. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog and is based on questions from customers.
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Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Emerald and other cool shades of green are among the hot colors for 2013, according to Pantone, a design-industry leader. Flowers by the Sea doesn't generally think of greens or of any colors in nature as being in or out. However, we think it is fun and fresh to consider garden design from a different perspective. Emerald is Pantone's top color for the year. This article about emerald-colored Salvias begins a pageant of sorts down the runway of our blog, showing how the Pantone color matching system can be used to shape landscaping decisions.
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Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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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Posted: Friday, March 27, 2020
Flowers by the Sea grows Salvias that are already popular in the Southeast as well as others we would like to introduce to gardeners seeking thirsty flowering plants that can also adjust to dry spells. Many are fine choices for Florida hummingbird gardens. Our suggestions are organized into categories based on moisture tolerance â€“ average and ample -- as well as sun requirements.
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Posted: Friday, August 21, 2015
Sturdy, shade-loving Japanese Salvias are lovely additions to woodland gardens with their lush, large-leafed foliage and delicate-looking flowers in colors including pinks, purples and yellows. They're ideal for bordering shady paths where they invite visitors to pause for close-up views. Flowers by the Sea suggests Japanese species for woodland gardens and organizes them according to their cold hardiness.
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Posted: Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Answering the question of how much sunlight Salvias need is dependent on the lands and conditions in which they originated. Also called true sages, Salvias may range from full sun to full shade species. But many prefer a combination of sun and shade. Flowers by the Sea is an online, mail-order nursery where you can buy hundreds of different sages.
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