Salvias have been growing rapidly in popularity in recent years. Salvias (also known as sages) have gained their new fame because they flower for a long period; do well in hot, dry conditions; and they provide an incredible variety of fragrance, bloom habit and color. Salvias include some of our best summer-blooming annuals and perennials.
Most salvias grow fairly rapidly. The less hardy types that are usually grown as annuals may reach 5-6 ft by the end of the season. There are also many salvias that will stay low enough to be used at the front edge of your flowerbeds.
Salvias have brilliantly colored flowers and attractive, often scented foliage. They can be used for massing, borders, containers, accents and cut flowers. In addition to the colorful flowers and interesting foliage of salvias, one of the main benefits of growing sages are the hummingbirds and butterflies they attract.
Most salvias prefer full sun and well-drained soils, but there are also many that will bloom well in part shade. Most are quite drought-tolerant and require little care once established. Wait to plant annual and semi-hardy salvias until after all danger of frost is past. Remove the bloom spikes of salvias after blooms have faded to encourage continuous bloom. Wait until new growth begins to emerge in early spring to do your winter cleanup of old stems to avoid freeze damage to the less hardy types.
The best time to divide perennial salvias is in early spring, before new growth begins.