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Loretta Aaron
Varieties of salvia all ready

By Loretta Aaron Published: April 5, 2001
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The salvia family (sage) is a wide and varied one.

It consists of both annual and perennial plants.

The annuals, already in bud and bloom, are ready to set out in your garden.

Grow these in shade or morning sun only. Provide a deep, moist organic soil, slightly acid. Color range is wide with white, red, salmon, purple and red/white bicolor. These can be kept blooming until frost if faded bloom spikes are kept removed.

In the perennial variety, there is a plant to fit any area in the sunny garden.

Plants range from 18 inches to 5 feet tall.

An outstanding plant is Peroviska or Russian sage. This one was the Perennial Plant Association's plant of the year for 1995.

The gray/green feathery foliage is topped with blue flower spikes from late spring until frost.

The flower spikes are great to use in arrangements and for cut flowers.

The plant will grow to 36 inches or more in a season.

It appears to have no insect or disease problems. I like to prune mine about half of the way back just as new growth begins This is a foolproof plant for the neophyte gardener.

A perennial salvia that is native to Texas and New Mexico is S. Greggii.

It has a somewhat shrubby growth habit and will grow from 1 to 3 feet tall.

Bloom will be more lush if soil is rich and kept moist. Blooms are both white and red. Bloom begins in late spring and continues until frost. I like to do some pruning on this one to keep it in the shape I want. It is a perfect perennial for hot, dry summers.

Several new ones have appeared in the marketplace in the past 10 years.

These grow from 18 to 24 inches tall and should be grown in full sun. In 1997, the Perennial Plant Association picked the variety "May Night" as its choice. It has dark purple bloom spikes.

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