There are over 60 varieties of salvia, both perennials and tender annuals. They are members of the sage family of plants. 'May Night' is a popular perennial variety. Flowers are lavender, blue, purple and white and blossom from June to August. Perennial salvia varieties grow in a neat, compact form of 2 to 3 feet. They are hardy in USDA Planting Zones 3 to 8. Salvia grows best in full sun in soil that drains well. Gardeners choose salvia for drought-tolerant gardens because it does not need heavy watering. Salvias can be grown from seed or purchased plants.
Choose a sunny garden location where soil drains quickly. Prepare soil by digging to a depth of 8 inches and turning it over. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass or large stones.
Amend the soil by adding 1 shovel-full of compost. Mix well to incorporate it with the garden soil.
Dig the hole to a depth and width twice as large as the root-ball of the salvia plant. Set the plant in the hole with the roots spread and the crown slightly below the level of the surrounding soil. Fill in around the roots and tap slightly so soil is firm around the plant. Leave a slightly indented saucer shape around the stem to catch and hold water.
Using about a quart of water, gently irrigate the saucer area. Watch to see that it drains fairly quickly. When drained, repeat the process, and let it soak in. Add soil to fill in the saucer area.
Mulch in cold climates. Cover the circle area around the plant with a layer of straw or evergreen branches. Do not use materials which will pack down too tightly. This layer of mulch may be removed in the spring when soil warms up.