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The General Care of a Salvia Plant

red salvia image by Michelle Reimers from

The Salvia genus encompasses a large group of plant species that include perennials, biennials and annuals. Flowering salvia plants bloom in dense cluster spikes of small flowers during summer. Many flowering salvias have flowers in shades of white, pink, red, purple and blue. In general, salvia plants are easy to care for and can withstand some drought, heat and drier soils. Most salvia plants also have fragrant leaves and attract hummingbirds. Depending on the species and variety, salvia plants grow 1 1/2 to 5 feet tall.

Water your salvia plants deeply to soak the soil once each week during the summer when rainfall is less than 1 inch. You don’t need to water the salvia plant when weekly rainfall is adequate.

Spread a 1-inch-thick layer of organic compost on the ground around the salvia plants once each year in spring.

Apply a 2-inch-thick layer of bark or wood chip mulch on top of the organic compost each spring. The compost will feed the salvia plants, while the mulch will retain soil moisture and control weeds.

Cut the salvia plant’s stems back to 1 or 2 inches above the ground level after the first killing frost in fall or early winter.

Divide the salvia plants in spring by digging up the plant’s roots and separating them into clumps. You can divide the salvia plants about once every three or four years.


Plant the salvia in a spot that receives full, direct sunlight and has fast-draining soil. Plant the salvia in spring, after all chance of frost has passed.


Choose your salvia plants carefully, because they have individual levels of cold tolerance and aren’t hardy in all climates. In fact, some tropical salvia plants like Salvia divinorum can’t tolerate temperatures below freezing.

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