LSU Garden News: Salvias are a summer sensation | Home and garden

LSU Garden News: Salvias are a summer sensation |  Home and garden

There are quite a few perennials that do well in the summer, but salvia is almost the best.

There are plenty of gorgeous sage plants available today for consistent, dramatic color all summer — and fall — long.

Salvia varieties are prized for their extended blooms, vibrant colors, fragrant leaves and flowers, as well as their nectar production. They range widely in height, flower color and growth habits. Many cultivars are erect, but later cultivars are also available.

White and purple are the most common colors of salvia flowers, but new varieties come in shades of orange, red and blue.

Among the different varieties, heights can vary from a foot to several feet – upwards of 5 to 6 feet.

Salvias can be used in the landscape in mass plantings, as borders, in containers and as center or center plantings. Some varieties even make good cut flowers.

Its nectar makes it a favorite among admirers of pollinators such as butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.

While they can tolerate partial shade, most varieties thrive best in full sun.

It is grown in well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Once established, most salvia plants are drought tolerant and require little care.

However, waterlogged soil and over-watering can increase susceptibility to fungal diseases. Plant in early spring after the last threat of frost. Established plants can be divided when new growth begins in early spring.

To maintain flowers all summer and into fall, remove faded flowers to encourage new flower production. Feeding a water-soluble fertilizer occasionally in the summer will encourage blooms and keep the foliage healthy and green.

Plant tall, upright sage plants at the back of flower beds; Use shorter varieties as border plants. Make a big impact in your landscape by mass planting a single variety.

Plants can drop their lower leaves when stressed or without water for long periods. To revive plants, remove the top third of the plants by quick pruning, and the plants will fill back in nicely. You can also prune to shape or reduce size at any time throughout the growing season; This will encourage new branches and create a more compact habit with more flowers.

Some great varieties include the Evolution Series, a selection from the Louisiana Super Plant Program. This series comes in the flower colors violet and white. The Wish Series is another great option. These include Wendy's Wish, Ember's Wishes, and Love and Wishes. The Skyscraper series is a new series that includes Skyscraper Dark Purple, Skyscraper Pink, and Skyscraper Orange.

A few other varieties grown and evaluated at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station are White Flame, Black and Bloom, Van Remsen, Blue Ensign, Rockin' Blue Suede Shoes, Mystic Blue, Big Blue, Rockin' Deep Purple, and Unplugged So Blue , Rebel Child, Roman Red, Purple & Bloom, Amistad, Amante, San Carlos Festival and Limelight.

Not all varieties are sold in local nurseries, but many are. Get as many as you can and start your own collection.

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