A genus that includes annuals, biennials and
perennials grown as annuals.
The biennial Salvia sclarea (syn. Salvia bracteata) is
the Clary, native to the Mediterranean, with broad
leaves, up to nine inches long, with bracts of
rose and white and bluish-white flowers, about
one inch long, borne in branched racemes, and
two feet tall.
The Thistle Sage (Salvia carduacea), of California,
is a perennial grown as an annual with one-inch
flowers of bluish-purple in whorls.
Salvia coccinea, two to three feet, is a North American
species, bearing deep scarlet flowers in autumn.
Salvia farinacea, two to three feet, from Mexico,
with lavender-blue flowers; Salvia patens, two feet,
also Mexican, with the loveliest Gentian blue
Salvia splendens, two to three feet, of Brazil, the
Scarlet Sage, are all favourites, grown as annuals.
Salvia sclarea, being biennial, is best raised from
seed sown in spring, planted out in permanent
positions, when the plants are large enough, to
flower in the following summer.
The remainder should be raised from seed sown
in March where the plants are to flower, in warm
The flowering season is in summer.
Half Hardy Perennial.
Two to three feet.
Flowers blue or scarlet, July to September.
These glorified Sages are very useful as bedders-out,
affording brilliant colour in beds and borders
in late summer and the verge of autumn.
For ordinary garden purposes Salvia patens and
Salvia coccinea splendens are the most effective.
Salvia farinacea has small lavender-coloured spikes,
and is undistinguished; for Salvia sclarea or
“Blue Beard”, see under Clary. Salvia
patens has spikes of hooded flowers of a very
intense and beautiful blue, a shade seldom found
in garden flowers.
The plant is nearly hardy, and in mild latitudes
will survive the winter, if protected with some
In general, it should be put out after the risk
from spring frosts is considered to be over, and
treated as a half-hardy annual.
Cuttings of side-shoots may be taken in the summer,
and if dibbled in sandy soil under glass, and
helped with shade and water, will quickly root.
They must be potted and housed safe from frost
before the winter.
Seed may be sown on a hotbed in March, and the
seedlings brought on as annuals and got ready
for the summer bedding-out.
The scarlet Salvia has a smaller flower than Salvia
patens, of a rich colour; its culture is the same
as that of the blue given above, except that as
it is tenderer, cuttings must be struck in heat,
or the plants raised from seed on a hotbed.