Growing salvias

Salvias are generally drought resistant, long flowering and many have scented foliage, plus they are great for attracting pollinators too. They are the perfect option for a hot, dry border with free draining soil.  

There are annual, biennial and perennial salvias. Planted in the right spot, the shrubby and hardy herbaceous salvias can overwinter.

There are a number of half hardy species that need protection from frost, so are either grown in pots or lifted and moved to a greenhouse, for example Salvia blepharophyllaSalvia cacaliifolia, pineapple sage (Salvia rutulans), and Salvia uliginosa, while Salvia patens has tubers and can be mulched or lifted like a dahlia. 

Some of the popular annual salvias, including Salvia farinacea (mealy cup sage) and Salvia splendens (scarlet sage) are actually short-lived tender perennials too, and will survive winter if given protection.

I grow many of the half hardy salvias. My favourite has to be Salvia Mystic Spires. This is a striking plant that produces long blue flower spikes all season, from early June to October Its always covered in bees and other pollinators. This cane be planted in a hot sunny bed or in pots. I mulch heavily to give protection in winter and also take cuttings to ensure I have plenty for the next year.

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