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A quick guide to Salvias

Updated: May 14, 2023

Salvias are a bit of a dream come true for all of us but particularly for the novice gardener. They come in a huge range of shapes and sizes. They grow in any well drained soil, in full sun and they put on a good show that attracts both bees and butterflies.

The salvia is part of the sage family and was believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to have medicinal properties. In fact the name Salvia is taken from the Latin, salvere, which means “to heal.”

Salvia plant with purple flowers for sale in Frome

Lazy loveliness

There are around 900 different salvias in almost as many colours - from blues to purples, whites, yellows and even pinks.

One of my favourites is a variety called Jezebel. It grows to be nearly a metre tall and has gorgeous hot red blooms that add colour and interest to the back of the border.

If your border isn’t in full sun, choose one of the lighter-coloured flowering varieties, that will tolerate semi shade. They don’t flower as prolifically, but will still make a fantastic insect friendly addition to your patch – with very little effort!

Planting and Care: If you’d like to cure your garden of needing a hose pipe (who doesn’t?) then the salvia can certainly oblige. It thrives in well mulched ground and doesn’t even need a feed to produce beautiful blooms, pretty much continuously throughout the summer – just remember to deadhead. Then in winter, leave the seed heads for the birds and after the first frost, cut the dead shoots down to around an inch from the soil.

And if you'd like some free plants then salvias are easy to propagate. Before flowering, remove stems that are about three inches long (just above a node), remove lower leaves add a bit of hormone powder and pot up, covered in a greenhouse or cold frame for three weeks.

However, the salvia is a prolific self-seeder, so if it’s happy, you should find you’ve got a few extra plants courtesy of nature.

Where can I buy them? I’m so glad you asked that. We've been selling them at The Station Approach in Frome over the past few years and you can now, of course, buy them through Plant a Border.

We're planning to be at The Station Approach every first Saturday of the month from 8am until 1pm.

Use the Contact page to get in touch and we'll be happy to let you know what we're up to.

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