Craving a gorgeous garden but short on time? Salvia is your answer! This easy-care flower blooms for months with minimal effort, attracting pollinators and adding pizzazz to your landscape. Learn how to grow salvia and enjoy season-long blooms with these simple tips!

Salvia plants, with their stunning blooms and interesting foliage, are a popular choice for gardeners of all skill levels. From the fiery red of Salvia splendens to the calming lavender of Salvia officinalis, these perennials offer a wide variety of colors and textures to enhance any garden bed.

The good news is that growing salvia is easier than you might think! This guide will provide you with all the essential information you need to cultivate thriving salvia plants and enjoy a continuous display of blooms throughout the season.

Learn how to grow and care for salvia with these simple tips.

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The Allure of Salvia

Hardy in zones 4-8, Salvia comes in a stunning array of colors, from deep purple and sky blue to fiery red and sunshine yellow. These vibrant blooms appear on tall spikes, adding texture and elegance to your flower beds, garden borders, or containers.

As a medium-sized plant, they look beautiful when planted in groupings in the front or middle of the border.

And the best part? You can enjoy these gorgeous perennial plants from spring through summer. Butterfly and hummingbird lovers will also appreciate salvia, as its tubular flowers offer a sweet nectar reward for these pretty pollinators too.

salvia midnight closeup
May Night Salvia Close up

Why Choose Salvia?

Unlike some high-maintenance flowers, salvia almost thrives on neglect. This makes it a perfect choice for busy gardeners who don’t have hours to spend tending to their flower beds.

Salvia is also naturally drought-tolerant once established, so you won’t have to worry about constant watering during hot summer days. Deer tend to avoid salvia too, thanks to its slightly fuzzy leaves and scented foliage.

Growing Salvia: It’s Easier Than You Think!

Planting salvia is a breeze. You can either start from seeds sown or purchase seedlings from your local nursery. In my gardens, I prefer to purchase live plants from the nursery because I’d rather save my seed starting space for other types of flowers that are not readily available at the nursery.

Salvia prefers a sunny spot in your garden with well-drained soil that is . Once established, these low-maintenance flowers won’t require frequent watering. They’re quite happy with occasional deep watering, especially during dry spells. Avoid watering from above focusing on the base of plants and make it a practice to water in the mornings.

Salvia can also thrive in containers making them a versatile choice for balconies, patios, and smaller gardens. However, if you want them to return yearly, you’ll need to ensure you choose a variety that is two zones hardier than your own.

While salvia is known for being a low-maintenance and fairly hardy plant, there are a few common pest and disease problems to watch out for like powdery mildew, aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. To help prevent such problems, plant salvia in full sun and well-draining soil with adequate spacing so it gets good air circulation and does not stay waterlogged.

Through the years, I’ve also had some issues with Japanese beetles on my salvias so keep an eye out for those as well.

Here are some resources for learning more about these issues:

salvia azure snow
Salvia Azure Snow by Proven Winners

Dividing Salvia

If you want to increase your stock and maintain plant health, the most common method of propagation is division.

Here’s how to do it:

  • In the spring or early fall, dig up the entire plant, including its root ball.
  • Gently separate the clumps of the plant by pulling them apart, using a knife or spade shovel if needed.
  • Replant the divided clumps in well-draining soil at the same depth as the original plant.
  • Water the divisions thoroughly and keep them well-watered until they establish new roots.

I’ve been doing this for many many years in my gardens with salvia plant. It divides easily and does well after replanting. While you can technically divide salvias anytime during the growing season, I recommend doing it in early spring when the plant breaks ground or in fall as it starts to go dormant. It will be easier for you to establish them at this time as opposed to trying to do it during the summer heat.

close up of salvia midnight
Salvia May Night

Enjoying Your Long-Blooming Salvia

There’s immense satisfaction in having a beautiful garden that flourishes with minimal effort. Salvia rewards you with months of vibrant blooms with very little upkeep. To encourage even more flowers throughout the season, you can deadhead flowers, or remove spent blooms, by pinching them off just below the faded flower head. This will signal the plant to produce a second set of new blooms and keep your salvia looking its best.

deadheading flowers on salvia may night
Where to deadhead flowers on Salvia Plant

Favorite Salvia Plant Varieties

Here are a few popular salvia varieties that I’ve grown to consider for your garden:

  • May Night Salvia: This variety features deep indigo-blue blooms on tall spikes.
  • Azure Snow: This variety boasts pretty blue flowers with touches of white on the petals.
  • Big Red Salvia: As the name suggests, this salvia boasts fiery red flowers that attract hummingbirds.

In my gardens, I gravitate to May Night. I love that hue and it performs well here in my zone 6b garden. I’ve been growing it since I started working with perennials and love the texture it adds to my cottage gardens.

cottage garden flowers with alliums, siberian iris, salvia and bearded irises -perennials vs annuals
Cottage garden flowers in my former home

Companion Plants for Salvia

Since I’ve been growing salvias for almost my entire gardening life, I enjoy it with certain types of flowers. Here are some of my favorites to grow with salvia plants.

close up of nepeta 'cat's meow' and salvia 'May night' in front porch garden
Nepeta ‘Cat’s Meow’ and Salvia ‘May Night’

Conclusion

Salvia is a true gem for any gardener. It’s easy to grow, boasts a long blooming season, and requires minimal maintenance. So why not add a touch of effortless beauty to your garden this year? Try planting salvia and enjoy a season-long display of vibrant blooms!

For more information on salvia varieties and care, check out this cooperative extension website, and your local gardening resources, or browse online some online gardening websites.

More About Growing Salvia Plant

Have you ever grown salvia before? If so, what are your favorite varieties? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

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Newly planted salvia may night and nepeta cats pajamas
Newly planted Salvia May Night and Nepeta Cat’s Pajamas

Garden Supplies I Use

Since I’ve been gardening for well over twenty-five years, I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. Here are some of my favorites that I use in no particular order.

dahlia kogane fubuki in the potager garden

Click here to shop my favorite garden supplies!

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Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling

Want to learn more about me? I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.

stacy ling cutting dahlias in her garden

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