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How to Care for Salvia Plants

Attractive, aromatic Salvia divinorum is related to the common kitchen sages. These subtropical perennials love humid weather and thrive in sustained temperatures between 45 and 70 degrees F. Salvia’s durable good looks and forgiving attitude allow even the greenest beginning gardener to shine with pride. These subtropical perennials can be grown from seeds, but they’re cranky. You’re more likely to succeed by purchasing seedlings appropriate for your area. These are readily available from gardening and home improvement centers.

Put your salvia out in the spring after all danger of frost has passed for your area. Choose a sunny, well-draining spot and cultivate the soil to about 12 to 15 inches deep. Plant the seedlings at the same level that they occupied in the grower pots. Space them 1 to 3 feet apart, according to variety.

Water the planting site thoroughly. The soil should be evenly moist but not wet or soggy. Apply ½ inch of compost to feed your salvias. This will be all the fertilizer that these undemanding beauties need for the season. Follow with 2 or 3 inches of mulch to retain moisture and discourage weeds. Your salvia will bloom for you from June to September.

Continue watering weekly throughout the growing season whenever you receive less than 1 inch of rainfall. Soil should be evenly moist but not waterlogged. Salvias don’t like wet feet.

Cut flowers for your arrangements freely. Deadhead spent blooms to encourage further flowering.

Shear salvia plants back to 1 inch above ground level following the first killing frost of the year. No other winter care is needed.

Reapply compost in the spring each year.

Dig up and divide clumps of salvia in every three or four years. The best time for this is in the spring when new growth appears.


Possession of Salvia divinorum may be regulated by federal laws, and laws vary from state to state. It’s your responsibility to know and abide by these and any other state, municipal or local regulations that govern your area of residence.

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