Salvia, a member of the mint family, includes more than 900 species of shrubs, annuals and perennials. Also known as sage, salvia plants grow natively in most areas of the world. The majority of these blossoming plants prefer sunny locations with well-drained soil. Salvia shrubs and perennial salvia specimens thrive in warm, southern climates with mild winters. Annual specimens complete their entire life cycle in one season, making them suitable flowers for both northern climates with hard winters and sunny southern locations. With their vast variety of colors, annual salvia plants emphasize and enhance many landscape designs.
Plant salvia seeds outdoors in sunny areas after the final frost of spring. In colder climates with short growing seasons, start the seeds indoors about 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. Use biodegradable pots to minimize any shock during transplantation. Loosen the soil in your planting site and remove all weeds and other vegetation. Use a garden shovel to turn the top 4 to 5 inches of soil. Incorporate compost into sandy soils and clay soils to improve porosity and provide nutrients. Plant the seeds at the depth directed on the package instructions.
Add 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch of soil over annual salvia seeds. Boost germination with a sprinkling of water over new seeds. Apply water until the surface is slightly moist.
Separate your seedlings to allow about 10 inches between healthy specimens after these annual flowers form their second set of leaves. Pinch out the crowded and spindly plants, leaving the healthiest seedlings.
Water your growing salvia to provide equal and steady moisture near the developing roots. Although mature salvia plants withstand droughts and arid conditions, immature plants require consistent moisture. Add water whenever the surface of the soil shows signs of dryness. Apply water to small seedlings with a fine mist or light sprinkle from a garden hose to avoid damaging delicate stems.
Trim off faded blossoms and broken stems to keep your salvias producing new flowers. Use sharp shears to cleanly cut the stalks with the flowers from the rest of the plant.