Ideas & Inspiration

Plant Salvia for Summer Bloom

4 Tips for Spectacular Salvias

1. Choose easy-to-grow salvias that require only modest amounts of water once the roots have become established. Vigorous annual varieties such as scarlet sage, tropical sage or Texas sage are more accepting of neutral to slightly alkaline soil conditions. Best of all, the plants often reseed themselves, so new seedlings appear season after season. Scarlet sage grows well in containers, too, but the best use of this salvia is to plant small drifts of six to eight plants, spaced ten inches apart.

2. Add blue hues to the garden with mealycup or blue sage, also known as Victoria Blue sage and Blue Bedder. It’s one of the best sources of blue color for warm-climate gardens. Regular light feedings with a flower fertilizer will help keep the plants in bloom all summer. Keep in mind, common blue salvias are technically perennials, but they often bloom so long that they exhaust themselves in only a year.

3. Form upright hedges of bold red spikes with familiar bedding salvias. These popular plants grow 18 to 30 inches tall. Although the red varieties are the best known, bedding salvias come in white, salmon, pink, purple, lavender, burgundy and orange.

4. Try perennial salvias, especially Mexican bush sage, also known as velvet sage because the flowers have a felt-like texture. This surprising salvia waits until late summer to bloom, and then it explodes with arching spikes studded with purple or bicolored flowers. A single plant will grow to at least three feet tall and wide, and tolerates dry heat better than most perennials. Mexican bush sage makes a great low-maintenance partner for ornamental grasses.

Try These Other Low-Maintenance Summer Bloomers
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Coneflower
  • Coreopsis
  • Gaillardia
  • Petunias
  • Rio dipladenia 
  • Russian sage
  • Speedwell

Tip: For more blooms, pinch back salvias early in the season and cut off old flower spikes.