Salvia patens is undoubtedly one of the very best blue flowering plants. Since the 1838 discovery of this herbaceous species from Central Mexico, Salvia patens has been a mainstay of the perennial garden. The large, double-lipped blossoms are one of the truest blues found in nature.
Salvia patens 'Blue Angel' is one of the smallest of the 'Gentian Sages'. Well branched and compact the plants grow 45 to 60cm (18 to 24in) tall. Extremely attractive, deep, royal blue hooded florets are borne on erect stems above toothed foliage. There is little else that can compete with the richness of its colour.
This perennial species is frequently treated as an annual by gardener’s due to its sensitivity to hard frost. It is hardy to around -4°C (25°F), so it may survive a mild winter in sheltered locations especially so if given some protection.
In warm areas, it is reliably perennial, returning year after year. In colder areas, this first year flowering plant is used as an annual, planted out in May it blooms from summer through to first frosts. The plants are tuberous and are easily lifted for overwintering in a greenhouse.
Sowing: Sow February to June
If at least 15°C (59°F) is not possible, do not sow before March. Germination can be slow if a fairly warm temperature is not maintained – around 18 to 24°C (64 to 75°F) seems to be ideal. Start indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frosts are due. Do not cover the seed as light is needed for germination. A fungicidal drench to prevent damping off might be helpful.
Keep the germinating seedlings moist at all times, without overwatering. Maintain good air movement, watering in the morning rather than the evening to keeping the foliage dry.
Prick out the seedlings as appropriate. For best results the next move should be to a larger pot, increasing the size of these according to growth. From the larger pots, move the plants to outdoor positions at the end of May or early June.
Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out into their final positions. Space 15 to 30cm (6 to 12in) apart. Pinch out growing tip when plants are 15cm (6in) tall to encourage bushy growth.
Water, fertilise and dead-head regularly.
Salvia require pretty much full sun to bloom they do well if they are planted in the shade but will have fewer blooms and be more leggy. Although drought-tolerant once established, a moderate amount of water must be supplied to young plants. Water freely in periods of drought. A typical recommendation is that Salvia benefit from monthly liquid fertilising to keep it blooming non-stop, though they will often bloom impressively without such attention.
Remove the spikes of salvias after blooms have faded to encourage continuous bloom. Some gardeners prefer to let salvia flowers go to seed. After the very first frost the tuberous root can be lifted and store in 'just moist' peat or compost for the winter.
Salvias are easy to propagate by taking cuttings from their side shoots, in spring and summer. When potting up the cuttings, use a free-draining compost and grow them on in a bright area out of direct sunlight. Keep the cuttings moist by regularly misting them.
Coastal, Flowers Borders and Beds, Mediterranean or Wildlife Gardens, Patio/Container Plants. Cut or Dried Flowers. Drought & Heat Tolerant
Salvia is a large genus containing both annual and perennial species many of which come from California and tropical America, although there are a few of European origin.
Salvia patens an herbaceous perennial that is native to a wide area of central Mexico. It was introduced into horticulture in 1838 and popularised by William Robinson.
It was first discovered by plant explorer Karl Theodor Hartweg on an expedition to Mexico that began in 1836. In 1839, Scottish botanist Robert Marnock wrote exuberantly about the species in The Floriculture Magazine. He said that Salvia patens was ”exciting so much interest” throughout Great Britain, and that everything said about the species couldn’t do justice to its ”remarkably brilliant blue.” In the 1933 edition of The English Flower Garden, William Robinson praised the species as, ”doubtless, the most brilliant in cultivation, being surpassed by and equalled by few other garden flowers.” Today, one of the most influential gardeners of the 20th century, Graham Stuart Thomas continues its praise.
The genus name Salvia derives from the Latin word salveo meaning 'I am healed' or 'I am well', referring to the medicinal qualities of some species.
The specific epithet patens means ‘spreading’.
It is commonly called the Gentian sage or Spreading sage.
The New Book of Salvias: Sages for Every Garden - ISBN-13: 9780881925609
Following the great success of Betsy Clebsch's first book on salvias comes an expanded edition. Betsy has added more than 50 new species and cultivars, bringing the total to approximately 150 beautiful, garden worthy species and significant hybrids. She documents them alphabetically and includes botanical descriptions, information on habit, blooming cycle, recommended companion plants, and delightful historical titbits of discovery and usage.
Nearly 100 new photos and illustrations make this new edition even more attractive than its predecessor. In her ardent pursuit of salvias, Betsy has explored the wild to collect plants and seeds to test in her California garden. The resulting wealth of cultural information ensures that our gardens will not only be exquisitely aromatic but also beautiful !
- Additional Information
Average Seed Count 20 Seeds Family Lamiaceae Genus Salvia Species patens Cultivar Blue Angel Common Name Gentian Sage Hardiness Tender Perennial often used as an Annual Flowers Royal Blue blooms, Natural Flower Time Summer to first frosts. Foliage Blue-green foliage Height 45 to 60cm (18 to 24in) Spread 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) Position Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Well-drained/light, Moist, Sandy