Blue Sage

Blue Sage

Blue Sage Salvia farinacea Victoria Blue

Victoria blue, Blue, Mealycup, is a herbaceous perennial native to Mexico and parts of the United States including Texas. Violet-blue spikes rest on a compact plant of typically narrow salvia-like leaves; however, the shiny leaves are what set this species apart from most other Salvia, which bear velvety-dull leaves.

This plant requires full or partial sun and will grow to 18-24 inches or more with good soil and will attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds all find Victoria Blue Sage irresistible, but deer aren’t so fond of it.

A hardy, upright to sprawling perennial native to Texas, and easily grown throughout the southern portion of the United States. The densely congested violet-blue flowers are concentrated in whorls surrounding a square stem. Prefers sandy or gravelly soil in full sun. A very drought tolerant wildflower that blooms all summer up to first frost.

This cultivar is so drought resistant and heat tolerant that they can grow well in locations that are almost never irrigated. Hence, their discovery in a dusty Texas graveyard. So don’t over water. Water as needed during dry spells.

Makes an excellent xeriscape plant.

For best results avoid wet areas. Does not transplant well.

This Texas native species is one of the mainstays of gardens worldwide. Tidy, easy to grow, hardy, long blooming and undemanding, Mealy Cup Sage belongs in almost any sunny garden. Due to the popularity of the species, the number of varieties is staggering.

farinaceais a hardier plant than its cousin, S. splendens, and may last for several years in mild winters. It is less prone to damage by snails and slugs, and is fairly self-sufficient except in extreme weather conditions. Flowers last well when cut and can be combined with a variety of other flowers and foliage. This plant was one of the few salvia that is not routinely destroyed by hungry deer and rabbits, a trait shared by many of the sages (members of the genus Salvia).

If planted early in the season, can usually withstand full sun. Afternoon shade is appreciated in very hot areas, and prolongs the life of the plant which may last several years.

USDA Zones 8 – 10. Grown in other zones as a warm weather annual, but survives light freezes without damage. In ideal conditions, plants may last up to 5 years.

Propagation: From seed planted after danger of frost has passed. Clumps can also be divided in the spring. Seed should be started indoors 10-12 weeks before last frost date.
Tall Salvia farinacea cultivars can be used as a stunning blue-flowered hedge which will be in bloom for months. It can be used at the back of a border and in combination with a great many other flowering annuals and perennials for an English cottage garden effect. The shorter cultivars lend themselves nicely to container gardens and to broad borders.

Blue is an early bloomer that features large, dark blue flower spikes. Blue is a great performer with strong stems and dense habit.

Plant sages in areas with good air circulation to prevent mold germination. Sow seeds of annuals in spring when the average temperature does not dip below 60ºF.

Harvesting:

Good to harvest before the plant blooms in summer.  For the best flavor, cut stems in the morning, after the dew has dried.  After cleaning the stems, use them fresh or allow them to dry in a dark, ventilated place and hang them upside down.  Once the leaves have dried, crumple them and store in an airtight jar.  Will keep for up to 3 years.

Most every sage plant thrives in full sun. Provide low to moderate humidity. Keep the soil around the roots cool.  For continual harvest through winter, remove sage from the ground in late fall and pot up in containers.

Indoors, grow in full light with shade from the heat of day; water sparingly in winter.

Flowers are 2-lipped and range in color from white, yellow, salmon, pink, red and scarlet. For continued blooming, deadhead flowers.

Sages require good drainage, especially when they reach the wintertime.  Freezes are more lethal when sages are sitting in soggy soils.  Prefers rich loam.

Once per month provide a complete and balanced liquid fertilizer to the soil.

Prune in spring. Remove branches that ruin symmetry of the shrub. Otherwise, they need minimal pruning.

Sages are susceptible to mildew and other fungal diseases as well as Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites and whiteflies.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Native to Texas and Mexico, mealycup sage is a shrubby, clump-forming, tender perennial that typically grows on erect, branching, square stems. It features two-lipped, violet-blue flowers in axillary and terminal racemes (to 4-8” long) from summer to fall. Drooping, irregularly-serrate, ovate-lanceolate, gray-green leaves (to 3” long). ‘Victoria Blue’ is a compact, densely-branched cultivar that typically grows to 15-24” tall and features large deep blue flowers from summer to fall. Common name and specific epithet are in reference to the white powdery felting found on the upper stems and calyx (“mealy” means covered with powdery meal, “cup” is in reference to the calyx shape and farinacea comes from the Latin word for flour or meal).

‘Victoria Blue’ is a dwarf form of the species . The plant habit is erect but densely branched, this plant is generally used as an annual because it does not overwinter well. Also known as Mealy-Cup Sage because the flowers and stems are fuzzy. Victoria Blue Sage has deep blue flowers and looks nice massed or planted as borders.

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