Salvia is back in the news today, and it made me realize that I have more in common with Disney princess Miley Cyrus than my own occasional Disney delusion. We both have a penchant for Salvia, albeit different species and for different reasons. Salvia divinorum makes Miley feel kind of funny and comes in a little baggie. Salvia coccinea and Salvia farinacea are planted firmly in my garden, and unless you’re a butterfly or a hummingbird, won’t get you high.
Salvia coccinea is a Florida native wildflower. It’s commonly known as red, scarlet, or tropical sage. Since it is a wildflower, this particular Salvia self-sows and spreads easily if left alone. Deadhead to avoid the spread and soon be rewarded with more blooms, which will inevitably attract more butterflies and hummingbirds.
Let the blooms go to seed, and you’ll have more plants, butterflies and hummingbirds the following year. You can let nature take its course or spread the seeds yourself. The plants will grow in sun or shade.
Salvia farinacea doesn’t self-sow the way Salvia coccanea does, but it is hardy. Annuals don’t always last, but this particular plant was started from seed three years ago and has remained stunning through every freeze since. When it gets a little leggy, prop it up with a small support to keep the blooms in prominent view. The flowers are as long-lasting as the petals are vibrant. Commonly known as Victoria Blue, this Salvia species blooms all winter.