Kick your garden off with a bang. Salvia offer a wide variety of choice options and a huge array of colors to pick from, making them a gardening favorite.
Gardening salvia is fun and exciting. Frequently referred to as the firecracker plant, the salvia produces vibrant blooms of different colors, shapes and sizes. Not only are the flowers of these plants an eye catcher, the plants themselves are lush, attractive and hearty.
Salvia Plants – A Chronicled History
Originally, Salvia plants were grown for medicinal purposes and the name is derived from the latin word salvo, meaning to heal or save. Salvia plants belong to the mint family and are closely related to garden sages. Many species have been traced to back to Brazil, but in the Americas and Europe the frost-sensitive salvia is grown mostly as an annual that give gardens a burst of beautiful color.
Common Names – Red salvia, scarlet sage, and firecracker plant.
Botanical Gens – Varies per species.
Blooms – From summer to fall.
Heartiness – Grown as an annual in all planting zones.
Bloom Colors – Bright red, orange, pink, lavender and blue.
Plant height – 8 – 30 inches.
Plant width – 8 -12 inches.
Light Preference – Full sun, but in really hot climates, partial shade.
Soil – Moist and well draining.
Planting – Sold as bedding flowers, pinch tops to encourage branching, richly mulch to maintain cool root system.
Modern day gardeners are using salvia flowers to add season-long brightness and color to their gardens, and another desirable feature of this flowering plant is how they blend so well with other plants. Birds and Blooms (June/July 2002) magazine suggests a nice contrast mix citing that salvia “combine beautifully with other plants such as dusty miller and marigolds.”
Gardening Tips For Salvia Plants
Most gardening manuals recommend full sun for salvia, but intense summer heat will thwart the plants growth and debase the flowers. To keep your salvia bright and happy there are a few simple planting tips. If the planting climate region is excessively hot, plant the salvia in partial shade. It is also advantageous to plant these blooming beauties in a location facing east, when the summer heat is extreme.
Salvia plants host spiking blooms. Eventually the flowers on these spikes will begin to fade and fall. To keep the plants looking vibrant and fresh, deadhead them as soon as the bottom inch or so of flowers begin to fade. Many gardeners minimize the deadheading chore but using their salvia as cut flowers and floral arrangements inside the house.
Salvias are a blast in the garden and many garden enthusiasts fine new and innovative ways to use them. Because of their distinct and precise color varieties, color themed gardens are popular. Melinda Myers, horticulturist says, “Nothing grabs attention in the yard like red salvia,” and the intense color and large spikes make them really stand out in any landscape.” Because of their flowering time, 4th of July themed red, white and blue gardens are popular and fun.
Most salvia flower plants are sold in flats of small pots. Plant in well drained, nourishing soil at a similar depth as they are in the original containers. Once planted, water lightly and mulch around the base of the plant to keep the roots cool and moist. After the plants are set, in a few weeks, add a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to help promote extraordinary flowers.
Over all most gardeners love salvia, they offer up the ultimate in gardening pleasure. Once salvia plants take root and begin to grow they are very low maintenance. So sick back, relax and enjoy as these “dynamite” plants put on their non-stop summer garden show.