The salvia plant is a semi-tropical perennial that prefers warm, humid environments. Stemming from the Mint family (Lamiaceae), the salvia plant family includes more than 90 species. This plant, commonly known as sage, grows thick, hollow stems with foliage that rest around the diameter of the stem. The plant’s blooms rest atop the foliage in clusters and bloom from early spring through late fall.
Choose a planting location for the salvia plants. Select a warm location that receives at least eight hours of partially shaded sunlight each day. Avoid planting in direct sunlight unless the majority of that direct sunlight is morning light. Do not plant salvia plants in cold climate locations.
Prepare the planting area for the salvia plant. Till the planting area thoroughly with a tiller or spade the area, about 12 to 18 inches deep. Ensure that the location is nutrient and well drained. Create this environment by mixing the native soil with equal parts of peat moss and half part perlite.
Prepare the planting hole for the salvia that is at least twice the diameter of the original container. Remove the salvia plant from its original container and position it in the center of the hole. Ensure that the soil’s surface is level with the top of the salvia’s root ball. Fill the hole with the soil, pressing firmly to secure the salvia’s upright position.
Water the salvia plant thoroughly but infrequently. Provide the salvia plant with about an inch of water each week. Increase the watering schedule during the hot, dry summer months. Always decrease the watering schedule for periods of heavy rainfall. Allow the salvia plant to dry out, almost completely, between watering. However, do not allow the plant to go too long without watering.
Keep the salvia’s planting area free of weeds and crabgrass. Hand-pull the growing weeds from the area to avoid damaging the salvia with heavy equipment. Promote even soil moisture and reduce the potential of weed infestation. Treat the planting area with a two inch layer of organic mulch. Increase water retention and preferred environment by adding a thin layer of organic compost between the soil’s surface and the mulch.
Fertilize the salvia plant monthly during the growing season. Use a well-balanced, slow release fertilizer that is ideal for acidic plants. Ensure that the combination includes a good amount of nitrogen and potassium, such as a 20-20-20 or 30-30-30 (NPK) combination. Distribute the fertilizer evening around the planting area and water in thoroughly.