Garden Felix: Salvias or Sage

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Garden Felix: Salvias

Perennial Salvias are more commonly known as sage, being part of the mint family.

Grown to be used as a herb, an ornamental plant for its flowers, and for their ornamental and aromatic foliage, the salvia appears as a colourful spike of densely-packed flowers with tubular blossoms at the top square stems and velvety leaves.

Salvias range in colour, from blue, purple, pink, white, yellow and red, the mainstays of the summer garden border or container, in bloom during summer-autumn months.

Salvias are both heat and drought tolerant and are a great pollinator attracting bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

They grow from 18 inches to 5 feet tall, depending on the variety and have a distinctive, pungent odour on their leaves, which acts as a repellent to garden pests, like rabbits.

All salvias thrive in full sun. A south-facing location is ideal, requiring well-drained soil and little water, if there is no rainfall.

Plants grown in containers will also require weekly feeding. Deadhead, to encourage continuous blooms throughout the season. At the end of the season leave the flowers on the plants, to encourage re-seeding and also to feed birds.

Divide perennial salvias every few years in early spring, before new growth begins. Lift, divide into clumps, and re-plant.

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