Why Southerners Love Salvia
Salvia can be found in gardens across the South. What makes it so special? This bell shaped flower produces a showy display of color ranging from blue to red. Salvia is found unattractive to some animals and insects, but it is loved by butterflies and hummingbirds. The largest member of the mint family, Salvia is also known as sage, but the ones that fill Southern gardens are grown solely for show.
1. They love our Southern weather
Heat-loving salvias are among our best sources for low-maintenance color. Colors include purple, white, red, pink, magenta, and yellow. Salvia tolerates both heat and drought. It does best in full sun and can grow more than 4 feet tall, depending on the species.
2. They span 3 Seasons
Salvias start blooming in early spring and continue through fall. Occasionally soak your salvias during dry spells, and then fertilize to ensure a long season of flowers.
3. They attract the Birds and the Butterflies
4. They play well with others
Salvia mixes well with roses, artemisias, lantanas, and purple cone-flowers. It is perfect for the back of borders or showing off up front.
5. It’s saucy and spicy
One of our favorite varieties of Salvia is ‘Saucy Wine.’ Unlike other “scarlet sages,” which produces spikes of red flowers, ‘Saucy Wine’ has purple blooms. They’re self-cleaning. This means no deadheading—you don’t have to cut off spent flower stems to keep them blooming.
6. It’s easy to multiply
Salvias are generally easy to propagate from cuttings or seeds if you aren’t in a winter hardy area. Cut about 3 to 4 inches off the end of a stem just below a pair of leaves. Strip off these lowest leaves, and then dip the cut end in rooting powder. Stick the cutting into a pot filled with moist potting soil, and place it near a bright window. The cutting should root in several weeks. You can transplant it to the garden after the last spring frost in your area. You can also propagate perennial kinds by dividing the roots or taking cuttings.