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Salvia

SALVIA NEMOROSA 'MAY NIGHT'

Salvia (sal-vee-uh) Sage; Lamiaceae Family. A large genus, salvia is native to many areas of the world, in the temperate zone and the tropics.  Included are annuals, biennials and perennials, as well as shrubs and the kitchen herb called sage, Salvia officinalis. Almost all have small flowers in showy spikes, and are square stemmed, as are all mints. Full sun, ample moisture and a fairly rich garden soil will get best results.

Salvia is easy to grow planted in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil. Though it is drought tolerant and adaptable to almost any climate, it will bloom better with regular moisture and fertile soil. Deadheading encourages a longer bloom time. If plants get leggy during the season, cut them all the way back to the newly developed foliage. If flower spikes are cut back, plants may rebloom in fall but often the flowers are fewer and smaller.

Excellent as a border plant, in mass or containers, as cut flower or dried flower; fragrant flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Deer and rabbit resistant. Salvia is the largest genus in the mint family with some 900 species of annuals, perennials and soft-wooded shrubs, including culinary and medicinal herbs as well as garden ornamentals.

PLANTING: Set plants 12 to 18 inches apart, in a sunny location where the soil is good and well-drained.

MAINTENANCE: Heat and drought tolerant once established, Salvia is relatively problem-free. Cut back vigorous growth in early summer to assure bushiness; and cut back blooms when spent to encourage a second bloom. Divide plants every 3 to 4 years, if necessary. Winter mulch is beneficial.

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