Showing off its large, intensely coloured bracts from summer through to autumn, this annual sage, known equally well as Salvia viridis or Salvia horminum, is one of the most rewarding and most colourful plants in the summer garden.
Salvia viridis 'White Swan' is an easy and vigorous hardy annual that produces spires of flowers, that are encased in very showy, clearly-veined, white bracts.
Prized by gardeners for its spectacular display, Salvia viridis provides a welcome vertical accent to beds, borders as well as containers. The plants grow vigorously in multi-branched clumps, up to 60cm (2ft) tall and 30cm (1ft) wide. They thrive in full sun to light shade in humus rich, well drained soils.
Easy to grow, low maintenance and relatively pest and disease free, the plants tend to be ignored by deer and rabbits. As a hardy annual, the plants are easy to grow from seed, simply sown directly where they are to grow, in autumn or spring. The flowers attract bees and butterflies, blending in with any other annuals or perennials for the best effect.
The stems make excellent and long-lasting cut flowers that will also hold their colour well when dried, adding to more permanent displays inside the house.
For a long season of colour, try this annual sage in your containers or in your garden. It won't disappoint.
Sowing: Sow indoors March to April, or sow outdoors April to May
Sow indoors in early spring 3 to 4 weeks before planting outside, alternatively, the seed can also be sown directly where they are to flower in mid to late spring. They will take approx 70 days from sowing to flowering. Keep soil moderately moist during germination. Plant out three weeks after sowing at a 25cm (10in) on a sunny or half sunny spot.
Use well drained soil and cover to a depth of 3mm (1/8in). When large enough to handle, transplant the seedlings into small pots to grow on. Acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost 15cm (6in) apart.
Sow direct into a weed free soil, remove any weeds or stones and rake to a fine tilth. Sow thinly, 6mm (¼in) deep in drills 30cm (12in) apart. Sow the seed sparingly or they will choke out other seedlings. Water ground regularly until the seedlings are established, especially in dry periods. Seeds can be slow to germinate, the optimum temperature is 60 to 65°F (15 to 18°C).
If sowing more than one plant in the same bed, consider marking the sowing areas with a ring of sand and a label. The seedlings will appear in rows approx 6 to 8 weeks after planting and can be easily told from nearby weed seedlings. Prick out superfluous seedlings rigorously, so that the plants are at least 30cm (12in) apart. The plants will then have enough space to spread satisfactorily.
When the seedlings have three pairs of leaves, pinch out the tips, leaving at least one pair of leaves.
Only water in an extended drought and do not apply large doses of fertiliser as flowering will be suppressed.
Deadhead to prolong flowering and encourage new flower buds. Harvest seeds from the plant at the end of the season for use next season.
Cut down the last of the plants and compost them at the end of October or November when tidying up the gardens.
A cut-and-come-again bloomer, meaning that the sooner you cut the blooms, the quicker new buds will pop up to replace them. The blooms appear so profusely that you'll still have plenty of colour in the garden after you've picked your flowers. If you sear the stem end in boiling water for twenty seconds they will last a week in water.
To dry the bracts for arrangements, harvest the plant when the bracts feel papery and hang them upside down until dry.
At the season's end, don't be too quick to pull up withering plants. The seeds may drop to the ground and reward you the next year by sprouting into a whole new crop. Alternatively you can harvest the seeds and sow them where you would like them to grow the following season. When the seeds are fully ripe. either attach a paper bag around seed pods using an elastic or string to catch the seeds as they fall, or cut the stems from the plant and pop them inside the paper bag to dry. Leave for ten days, then remove the stems and you should find the seeds in the bottom of the bag.
Do not forget to label and date the bag and store it somewhere cool and dry for next year. By the time you have finished you will have shelves stuffed with the makings of next year’s garden.
Flowers Borders and Beds, Patio/Container Plants. Cut or Dried Flowers.
Coastal, Mediterranean or Wildlife Gardens, Bee Keeping, 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 viridis is an annual plant native to an area extending from the Mediterranean to the Crimea and into Iran. It has been in cultivation since before 1596.
Until the 1980s, Salvia viridis went under the name of Salvia horminum. Carl Linnaeus described and named both of them as separate species, and to this day, some modern botanists still believe that they are two separate species. While the argument continues on whether or not they are two different ones, we will leave it to the taxonomists to sort this out. Until then, to be clear the species we stock is Salvia viridis and its cultivars.
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 viridis, from the Greek, refers to the colour green, with implications of youth and vigour.
The former species name horminum is from the Greek word for sage.
The plant is mistakenly called Clary Sage, which is the common name for Salvia scalerea, and is commonly called Annual Clary. The word clary is from Medieval Latin sclareia, derived from the Latin clarus meaning 'bright' or 'clear'.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 500mg Average Seed Count 175 Seeds Family Lamiaceae Genus Salvia Species viridis var. comata Cultivar White Swan Common Name Painted Sage, Horminum Sage Other Common Names Annual Clary Sage Other Language Names Fr; La Sauge verte, Sauge hormine Hardiness Hardy Annual Flowers White bracts Natural Flower Time July until October Height 60cm (2ft) Spread 30cm (1ft) Position Full sun for best flowering Soil Well-drained/light, Moist, Sandy