Plant of the Month--July

If you’re looking for plants that flower all year round with the minimum of care, then read on. There are over 500 members of the salvia family and all of them are sensational in the sun.

Salvias are classified as annuals, biennials, perennials and herbaceous shrubs. They are rugged plants which grow equally well in rubbly clay or friable loam, providing they are well drained. They is over 500 species of Salvias from edible sages (S. officinalis) and small to large shrubs up to 3m high. There is a Salvia to suit any climate, season and garden style. Most Salivas show off their flowers best in spring through to autumn. 

Salvias can easily be propagated by either sowing seeds (for annual types) or by taking cuttings or dividing old clumps (for biennial, perennial and herbaceous types).

Planting and care of Salvias

Plant salivas en masse for a stunning display of colour in garden beds or use the smaller more compact varieties for pot displays around patios and entertainment areas. Most love a full sun position and well drained soil. Mix into soil before planting 5in1 Organic Plant Food for strong healthy foliage and flower display. An occasional application of soluble fertiliser, such as Searles Flourish Soluble Plant Food will keep the plants flowering optimally, although too much nitrogenous food will result in excess foliage at the expense of flowers.

They are tolerant of moderate droughts although in poor soils it is a good idea to protect their roots with mulch during prolonged periods of hot and dry weather.

Annual and perennial varieties can be pruned after flowering to remove spent flowers and reproportion top heavy plants, while the larger shrubby types should be cut to approximately 45cm from the ground in autumn, after which they will produce fresh new growth almost immediately.

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