We all have high expectations of the plants we give a home to and while some results may vary, it is unlikely that salvias will disappoint. If its bold, vibrant colour you are after, coupled with a tough disposition then salvias are the answer. Out of a big family one member is particularly noteworthy – Salvia splendens – commonly known as scarlet salvia or rooi-salie, it also comes in shades of red, purple, pink, cream, white and blue.
Not only are they easy to grow, with their showy flowers and deep green leaves, they make an ideal addition to the summer garden. This eye-catching annual offers glorious, long-flowering heads 30cm tall. If you are looking for something smaller look out for the compact hybrids – ideal for edging and containers. They flourish in full-sun positions and once established, they will withstand high summer temperatures. For best results plant your seedling in well-drained, composted soil which gets regular watering, particularly during dry spells.
The plants are spectacular in mixed herbaceous-borders and patio pots, or interspersed with shrubs and perennials. Salvias will bloom year-round in sub-tropical climates, but being frost-tender, are grown as annuals on the Highveld. Plant your seedlings from spring and enjoy magnificent displays of enduring colour. If you cut the plants back after each flowering, blossoming will continue into early autumn.
Information supplied by the Bedding Plant Growers Association. Go to www.lifeisagarden.co.za for more.