Silvery white and as if dusted with flour – this is how the flower spikes of the flour sage appear on the bushy plant as early as May. However, as soon as the flowers open, this variety of sage shows all its splendor. Bright blue to blue-violet flowers form on the upright, long spikes over the entire summer until the first frosts. The color-intensive flowering plant is one of the easy-care perennials that are also suitable for inexperienced hobby gardeners. Since the Mediterranean, perennial shrub is sensitive to frost, we usually cultivate it as an annual plant.


  • botanischer Name: Salvia farinacea
  • Plant family: Mint family (Lamiaceae)
  • Genus: Salvia
  • Common names: Mealy sage, eared sage, flour sage
  • Origin: New Mexico and Texas
  • Height: 50 to 80 cm
  • gray-green, opposite leaves, lanceolate
  • Flowers: blue-violet lip-flowers with floury white hairy calyxes
  • Flowering period: May to October
  • Flowering plant
  • summer green


Like most of its kind, the floury sage is a robust and not very demanding summer plant. It loves sunny locations, but also gets along well in light partial shade. Due to its densely branched growth and the countless blue or blue-violet flowers, Salvia farinacea is not only suitable as a summer container plant, but can also be used as a bee pasture in beds or borders.

  • Light requirement: sunny to light penumbra
  • warm and sheltered from the wind

Tip : The spiky sage also grows in a partially shaded location, but with only a few hours of sunshine, the flowering power of the pretty mint family decreases significantly.


Flour sage thrives in normal garden soil. On the one hand, the substrate should be able to hold moisture well, but on the other hand, it should not be prone to waterlogging.

  • moist and fresh
  • like sandy
  • medium humus content
  • pH value: neutral or slightly calcareous
  • Substrate for potted plants: high quality potted plant soil
  • alternatively: normal standard soil with sand and compost

Plants in the open ground

From April, young plants of the flour sage will be available in garden shops. Alternatively, self-grown plants can also be planted in the spring in the bed or in a tub on the balcony. But you should definitely wait until you no longer have to worry about heavy frosts . Light late frosts, such as those that occur from mid-April, usually do not mind the plants if they are in a somewhat sheltered location.

  • Time: from mid to late April
  • Planting distance in the bed: 30 to 40 cm
  • Plant spacing in the tub: 25 to 30 cm
  • Root ball of planting water
  • Planting hole: double the ball size
  • below a layer of gravel or lava granules fill
  • Insert the plant without a pot and fill it with compost-containing soil
  • water lightly

Good soil preparation makes it easier for the herbaceous perennial to grow better. Therefore loosen the soil well in advance and free it from weeds and old roots. Also enrich the garden soil with nutrients while planting, for example with compost or horn shavings . A couple of handfuls of sand or grit guarantee that the water can run off properly.

Plants in the tub

Planting in pots differs only slightly from planting outdoors. Only use pots with a drainage hole in the bottom so that excess irrigation water can drain off promptly and there is no waterlogging . High-quality potted plant soil or a mixture of normal potting soil and some sand (or grit) are suitable as a substrate.


Salvia farinacea attaches great importance to a regular water supply . This is especially important with young plants, adult plants can also cope with occasional drought. In dry and hot periods, the herbaceous plant is best watered in the morning and evening. Care should be taken that the irrigation water is not dosed via the leaves and flowers , but directly onto the root ball. The sage likes a fresh, moist soil, but the water should be able to run off, because the flour sage is sensitive to waterlogging. The sunnier the bushy flowering plant is, the more often it has to be watered.


Mealy sage does not need high amounts of nutrients in order to thrive and to form a rich flower pile. Even so, the plant cannot do without fertilization. The easiest way is to work some compost or horn shavings into the soil when you are planting . The nutrients are then sufficient for the entire vegetation period and there is no need to re-fertilize. If you use high-quality substrate for planting in pots, you do not have to fertilize additionally in the first year. Only in the second spring, when the ear sage sprouts again, does it need some fertilizer. This can be done either with an organic-mineral slow -release fertilizer or with a liquid universal fertilizeradministered. Liquid fertilizers can be added to the irrigation water about once a month.

To cut

It is advisable to clean out faded panicles , as the spiked sage otherwise puts a lot of energy into the formation and maturation of its seeds. If you do not need these for propagation, you should therefore regularly use scissors and cut out what has faded. In this way , new flower spikes form throughout the summer .


The ear sage can be propagated generatively as well as vegetatively.


The seeds of the floury sage are available in specialist shops, but can also be taken from your own plants after they have ripened. As soon as frost is no longer expected in spring, the seeds can be sown directly in the bed. Alternatively, it is customary to prefer the sage on the windowsill or in the greenhouse from March onwards .

  • Sow outdoors: mid-May
  • Pre-culture in the house: from March
  • Substrate: potting soil , Kakteenerde
  • Sprinkle seeds on moist substrate
  • cover with some substrate or fine sand
  • Cover the planter with foil or place in a plastic bag
  • Location: bright (without direct sun)
  • Temperature: 15 to 20 degrees
  • Germination time: 7 to 14 days

When the first real leaves appear after the cotyledons, the cover can be removed and the young plants pricked out. If the plants are too tight in the planter, they have to be repotted again before they are finally planted out. You can use normal, sandy potting soil for this.


In summer, cuttings can be cut from the plant for propagation. These will form roots in the following weeks if they are placed in moist soil and placed in a warm and bright place.

  • Time: June to July
  • select healthy, unwooded shoots
  • only use shoots without a flower base
  • Length: 10-15 cm
  • remove the lower pairs of leaves
  • Slightly scrape off the bark in the lower area
  • Put about 4 to 5 cm deep into the moist substrate
  • set up bright and warm

Always keep the substrate slightly moist for the next few weeks, but without producing waterlogging. If the cutting shoots new leaves, this is a clear sign that roots have formed. The cuttings are cultivated on the windowsill or in a greenhouse until next spring and repotted if necessary.

Tip : When repotting for the first time, either normal, fertilizer-containing potting soil is used or, alternatively, a thin layer of compost is spread on the bottom of the container so that the young plant is adequately supplied with nutrients.

Special varieties

The slender ears, which usually produce blue flowers, are typical of the floury sage. But there are also one or the other white flowering variety and two-colored flowers.

  • ‘Farina Violett’: blue-violet flowers
  • ‘Strata’: pure blue flowers on a white calyx, maximum height 45 cm
  • ‘Midnight Candle’: midnight blue flowers
  • ‘Victoria Blue’ (also called Victory Blue): intensely colored, blue-flowering species, up to 70 cm in height
  • ‘Victoria White’: white flowers
  • ‘Sallyfun Bicolor Blue’: two-colored flowers (blue-violet and white)


Flour sage is a perennial shrub native to Central America. Since the winters are very mild there, the herbaceous plant is unfortunately not used to braving icy temperatures. Salvia farinacea can withstand light frosts ( up to about -6 degrees ), but is only able to survive in very mild areas over the long term. In our latitudes, the floury sage is therefore only grown as an annual plant in beds and borders. As a container plant, it can be moved to a frost-free area in winter.

  • store before the first frosts
  • Prune the plant heavily
  • winter cool
  • unheated greenhouse or basement, frost-free garage or garden shed
  • Temperature: 5-10 degrees
  • the cooler the plant is, the less it has to be watered
  • However, the root ball should never dry out completely
  • do not fertilize between September and April

Fully grown plants can be put outdoors again as early as the end of April. Clean the plants beforehand. This means that all old and dried up parts of the plant are removed. In this way, the floury sage can sprout again healthily and vigorously.

Diseases and pests

If the flour sage falls ill, care errors are often to blame. Salvia farinacea is prone to waterlogging. If the roots are in water for a long time, root rot can occur. Good drainage is therefore essential to keep the plant in good health.

Spider mites
The common pests that do not stop at the ear sage include aphids as well as spider mites. In the event of an infestation, the leaves initially appear silvery and then take on a gray-brown color. Fine webs can be seen on the armpits. Since spider mites prefer a rather dry climate, they can usually be found in winter quarters when the plant is too warm. Set the ear sage cooler and also increase the humidity by frequently spraying it with water that is low in lime.

If honeydew and black fungi can be seen on the plant, it is probably an infestation of the whitefly, whose larvae suckle on the underside of the leaf. The pests can be combated with insecticides, but beneficial insects are better suited in this case.

Powdery mildew
Powdery mildew is a fungus and often occurs after long periods of drought in which the plant has been weakened. If a floury coating can be seen on the leaves, you should cut off the affected shoots as soon as possible. In this case, the plant can usually still be saved.


In contrast to kitchen sage, floury sage, also called ear sage, is cultivated for its beautiful, dark blue flowers that appear on the herbaceous plant all summer. Unfortunately, the flour sage is not hardy enough that it has to be replanted in the bed every year.

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