Gardens can have it all with Salvia – Colour, Fragrance & Wildlife
Bringing colour, fragrance and wildlife to any garden! Salvia delivers a triple whammy for gardeners looking for must have plants. As an all-in-one solution, it’s ideal for the Horticultural Trades Association’s (HTA) Plant of the Month for July 2015.
A member of the sage family, salvia are a diverse group of plants that include annuals, herbs and herbaceous and evergreen perennials.
As free flowering and sun-loving plants, they make a colourful display in borders during July onwards until the frost comes. Offering fragrance and various shades of red, cream, purple and pink salvia is also a good pollinator and highly attractive to bees and butterflies.
Salvia is a favourite of BBC Gardener’s World presenter Pippa Greenwood who says, “I’m a great fan of the hardier Salvias. Even before the buds open they are attractive plants with erect stems, often with aromatic foliage and forming a sort of clump of exclamation marks.
Then when the flowers appear, usually in shades of violet, purple, pink or white and with stunning, showy bracts, they can bring any sunny border to life instantly. They are much loved, not only by gardeners but also by bees and butterflies”.
Salvia are a sun-loving plant, so grow in full sun. Soils need to be well-drained and moderately fertile.
Dead head any flowers and trim in late spring any shoots that spoil symmetry.
Some varieties, such as culinary sage, are edible to humans as well and are used in foods such as stuffing and to add flavour to dishes.
Recommended ornamental varieties include:
– Salvia Hot Lips
– Salvia Caradonna
– Salvia East Friesland [Ostfriesland]
– Salvia Amistad
– Salvia uliginosa
Those looking for companion plants to complement salvia in the garden are recommended to try:
– Phormium ‘Yellow Wave’
– Hebe -purple flowered varieties
– Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’
– Digitalis x mertonensis [foxgloves]
Nominated and agreed upon by British growers and retailers, the HTA’s Plant of the Month campaign highlights the plants that are widely available and looking especially good each month.