Salvias are now extremely popular in many styles of garden. We grow them in our own and often include them in garden designs for their long flowering season, usually until the first frosts. They are generally easy to look after, just requiring some dead heading throughout the summer and pruning once a year in late Spring.
It is best to leave the old stems on over winter to protect any growth from the frost as many Salvias are on the tender side. They are split into three main groups
Herbaceous – evergreen
These include such beauties as Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’ which have new shoots forming at the base in a low mound. Leave all the top growth until Spring and then cut right back to the new growth.
Herbaceous – deciduous
Salvia ‘Amistad’ and Salvia leucantha fall within this group and are the most tender. They will survive a mild winter in this country but it’s always best to take some cuttings to ensure replacements are available. In late Spring when there’s new shoots at the base prune the old stems back to almost ground level.
Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ is perhaps the best know of the shrub forming Salvias and can be evergreen if not cut back by hard frosts. There are many varieties in this group including ‘Nachtvlinder’ with beautiful purple flowers and like all Salvias fragrant leaves. These are a little trickier to prune; remove all dead, diseased or damaged stems and then cut back the rest by about half to healthy shoots.