Container Gardening

Versatile Salvias Add Color and Can Be Used Anywhere

By Darren Sherriff


Bonus Species

As a whole, salvias are carefree and easy to grow. In the landscape, they are tolerant of a lot of different conditions, but wet, poorly aerated soils can cause root rot. Heavy clay soils will retard root growth and starve the plant of oxygen, which can lead to other root diseases. However, as a bonus Salvia species, you may wish to consider Salvia uliginosa or Bog Sage. It is an open, upright plant with clear sky blue flowers and unlike most salvias, it thrives in damp, boggy soil, though it will grow well in other areas of the garden as well. Just make sure you amend your soil with lots of compost or grow them in containers, even if you are attempting the Salvia uliginosa. 

Other Considerations in Planting Salvias

In areas of high rainfall or a heavy hand with irrigation and high temperatures it may be better to use a fertilizer, such as Osmacote with a slower release rate since higher temperatures will cause the fertilizer to be released too quickly. You really do not want to over fertilizer, as too much nitrogen will promote excessive foliage growth and lessen flower production. Too high of nitrogen levels can also cause soft and weakened stems.

When it comes to the multi-legged pests, there are a few that may come visit, such as aphidsthripswhiteflies and spider mites. The first three are a breeze to control with insecticidal soap as they are soft-bodied insects. The spider mites will need something a tad stronger such as a miticide or neem oil.  

In closing, a few other generalities pertaining to salvias are, remember to pinch off spent flowers (also known as dead heading) to encourage continuous blooming and keep a nice, neat appearance. No matter if you grow your salvias in the ground or a container, remove weeds from the plantings because they will compete with your prized plants for moisture, nutrients and light.

I hope this little trip down Salvia Lane has given you some enlightenment and motivation to try one or two or maybe ten different species of salvia. I encourage you to seek out and try some of the other many species of Salvia that are out there, this is truly a very small sampling.

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