Perhaps the best known Salvia is the common sage, Salvia officinalis (link to Herb seed) which is very easy to grow and a must for any herb border and keen cook! However, for punchy colour there are some real show-stopping relatives which are well worth your time and have become very fashionable in recent years:
Salvia 'Hot Lips' is on many a gardener's lips and has been for years, as a much talked about recent introduction. Its two-tone red and white blossoms are striking and prolific and pretty hardy in a sheltered sunny spot, flowering from June until September. This paired with blissful blackcurrant scented leaves makes it a garden winner every time! Another fellow fashionista is Salvia 'Amistad' - the most regal deep purple spiky flowers and dark stems, reaching a height of around a meter. Again, hardy in all but the worst of winters.
With these salvias, it is best to prune in the spring so as not to subject them to harsh treatment just before the bad weather.
A familiar face at Chelsea is Salvia caradonna, this is a reliable friend for any herbaceous border and its towering purple blue spires from June until August are elegant and satisfying, merging perfectly with many other border favourites such as roses.
If it’s the annual types you crave, beloved of mass bedding schemes in decades gone by but still worth introducing today for a blanket of unmissable colour, then growing from seed in early spring is the way ahead. Flame red is traditional and impactful when planted tightly together to form a low growing summer carpet.
Thriving in full sun and even happy in poor soils, sharing your garden with salvias is sure to be a success.
Where to grow Salvia plants?
- Any reasonable garden soil with good drainage
- Full sun is preferred
- Beds and patio containers
How to grow Salvia plants?
- Give Salvia plants a monthly liquid feed
- Cut back faded flower spikes to encourage continued flowering
Buy Salvia plug plants and established plants online from Suttons