Salvia, with over 900 species, is the largest genus in the mint family, Used for everything from cooking to divination, salvia is a perennial herb that needs full sun and well-draining soil. Whether grown from seed or starter plants, creating the best growing environment possible will help prevent diseases, such as root rot, from decimating the plants. Root rot, caused by overwatering, poor drainage and fungal diseases, can affect even the most tolerant salvia varieties.
Salvia that is suffering from root rot may show signs of wilt, even if care and conditions are perfect. Portions of foliage or the entire plant may be affected. Depending on the cause of root rot, the progression can be gradual or rapid.
Since root rot prevents the plant from ingesting the proper amount of moisture and nutrients, foliage and blooms may begin to fade and discolor. Foliage will go from healthy green to yellow and brown.
Roots of affected salvia plants can quickly turn to mush. Smaller rootlets, normally white in appearance, may be darkened or altogether missing. The outer skin of larger roots will slide off with ease.
Root rot can be avoided by situating salvia plants in a warm, sunny, well-draining location. Amend heavier clay soils with plenty of compost and sand to improve drainage. Avoid planting salvia by drainage spouts or in areas where water stands regularly after rain fall. It may be possible to save plants already affected by moving them to a drier location.