Perfect Partners: Salvia May Night tones perfectly with Erigeron Shining Sea (Strahlenmeer).

Basic Facts:

A very large and varied genus of plants that includes the culinary herb sage as well as exotic tender plants from the new world. They grow in a wide range of conditions, soils and situations: there is a Salvia for everyone! Care instructions are covered under each variety.

Garden Use:

Most Salvia flower in flushes. The tender, New World types can flower throughout the winter in a warm conservatory or heated greenhouse. Winter conditions can also influence how early flowering starts. For example, after a mild winter S.elegans can start flowering in late May, but after a cold winter when it dies back to its underground root stock, flowering might not start until late July.

Wildlife Interest:

Great bee plants.

Cut Flower Use:

Reasonably long lasting


See each type as growing conditions vary.

Salvias vary in hardiness and winter care is covered for each variety, but please bear in mind that it is not only cold but wetness that can kill a plant over winter. Many Salvias are very cold hardy but this is because they are covered with a blanket of snow in winter that keeps the roots dry. Others withstand cold winters in mountains which again present very different conditions to the garden. In our details we state how hardy the plants have proved to be in our garden.

Some Salvia prefer warm but slightly shaded spots, but as a general rule in the UK you can't go wrong by putting a Salvia in the sunniest position possible. New World species and cultivars are best if given a warm sheltered spot for winter. These types also tend to break easily in strong winds, so a leeward of a wall, fence or taller plant is beneficial


Most can be propagated from cuttings, seed (for species) or by careful division.

Pests and Diseases:

The only pests that trouble them in our garden are capsid bugs which make blackened holds in the topmost leaves leading to distorted growth. Not a major problem and damage growth can be pinched out. I don't know of any organic preventive measure; we use a systemic insecticide if really bad damage is occurring.


A member of the Lamiaceae family (Dead Nettles).

Salvia forskaohlei

Difficult to pronounce, easy to grow! Large hairy leaves and many spikes to white-lipped purple flowers in early summer. Sun or light shade

Price £5.00 (9cm pot)

Salvia guaranitica Blue Enigma

Salvia guaranitica Blue Enigma is used to great effect in late summer herbaceous borders like in this example at The Dorothy Clive Garden.

Royal blue flowers with green calyx.

About 2ft 6in to possibly 3ft tall in flower. July-October.

RHS Award of Garden Merit

Price £6.00 (9cm pot)

Salvia nemorosa East Friesland

The blue spikes of East Friesland contrast with the flat heads of red Achillea

East Friesland contrasts nicely with orange and yellow - Kniphofia Gladness and Lonicera Baggescens Gold

Blue blue flowers backed by reddish calyces. 1ft 6in / 45cm. Fully hardy.

RHS Award of Garden Merit

Price £5.50 (9cm pot)

Salvia uliginosa

Known as bog sage, I'd say it's better in a soil that drains fairly freely but enriched with compost to hold some moisture for a while. Tail and airy (3-4ft / 90-120cm) and flowering late in summer and into Autumn.

Price £6.00 (9cm pot)

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