Many species of ornamental sage come from Asia and Central and Southeastern Europe and, given their warmer home, are not exactly hardy. Salvia nemorosa, its scientific name, is a perennial plant. It becomes 30 to 50, sometimes up to 70 cm high. Their strong lilac-blue to dark purple flower candles, which look very elegant and graceful, are striking. The long flowering period, often from June to October, and the fragrance that emanates from the flowers should be emphasized.
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There are numerous varieties and hybrids of Salvia nemorosa, including annual and perennial. Most of them have blue flowers, but there are also other colors, especially white and pink. But blue and purple tones are the most common.
- S. nemorosa ‘Blauhügel’ – the “bluest” flower among the ornamental sage varieties, only 40 cm high, flowering in June / July and September, hardy to at least –25 ° C
- S. nemerosa ‘Caradonna’ – very dark purple (dark purple) flowers on very dark stems, slender, upright growth. Up to 60 cm, blooms in June / July and September, hardy to at least –25 ° C
- S. nemorosa ‘Viola Klose’ – dark purple flowers, blooms in May and June and again in September, densely branched, loosely looking, only 40 cm high, hardy to –25 ° C
- S. nemorosa ‘Rosenwein’ – dark pink flowers with wine-red sepals, flowering in June / July and September, about 50 cm high, hardy to –25 ° C, great companion for white and pink roses
- S. nemorosa ‘Schneehügel’ – white flowers, low but upright growth, profuse flowering, flowering in June / July and September, 40 cm high, hardy to –25 ° C
- S. nemorosa ‘Amethyst’ – pink-violet to purple-violet-pink flowers, flowering from June to September, up to 80 cm high, sufficiently frost hardy
- S. nemorosa ‘Schneekönig’ – pure white large flowers, long flower panicles, flower, becomes approx. 60 cm high, sufficiently hardy?
- S. nemorosa ‘Mainacht’ – bright midnight blue flowers, richly branched, flowers from May to September, up to 40 cm high, no information on winter hardiness
- S. nemorosa ‘Negrito’ – dark purple flowers, only 25 cm high, flowering from May to October, no information on winter hardiness
- S. nemorosa ‘Pusztaflamme’ – dusky pink flowers, flowering June to September, 40 cm high, no information on winter hardiness
- S. nemorosa ‘Rügen’ – dark blue flowers, flowering from June to August, up to 40 cm high, no information on winter hardiness
- S. nemorosa ‘Wesuwe’ – violet flowers, dark green foliage, flowers from June to August, up to 45 cm high, no information on winter hardiness
The care of ornamental sage
The attractive ornamental sage is undemanding and easy to care for. The plant has a few preferences and if you respond to them, it will thank you with a long, blooming pile. It is important to have a sunny and warm place to thrive. The earth must be permeable and rich in nutrients. Plants do not benefit from wet soil at all. It may have to be watered from time to time during the flowering period, but not excessively. The plants get through the summer quite well with two fertilizers. Otherwise you can add more nutrients from case to case. You only have to be careful when wintering. Not all varieties are sufficiently hardy. Some need protection and a few varieties are better off wintering frost-free. Otherwise the plants are really frugal and look good.
Ornamental sage likes it sunny and warm. He should get as much sun as possible. When planting, it is therefore important to ensure that there are not too many taller perennials around the sage, which could dispute the sun. The more sun the plants get, the more splendidly they thrive. Sometimes they do not develop as well in wet years with little sunshine, but that is no different with other plants.
- Full sun
- Sheltered from the wind
The ornamental sage does not place high demands on the plant substrate. Most species do well in dry soils. However, moisture is not tolerated. Quite normal garden soil is basically completely sufficient, the main thing is that it is permeable. If this is not the case, you can mix in some sand, the plants like it very much, but not exclusively.
- Normal garden soil, nicely permeable
- Nutrient-rich is cheap
- Particularly suitable for gravel beds, because they are always nice and warm.
- Install a drainage system in the bottom of the pot for keeping a bucket. Excess water must be able to drain off easily.
- As earth, unit earth is usually completely sufficient. If necessary, you can mix in some more sand.
The best time to plant the ornamental sage is in spring. The varieties are suitable for group planting in the perennial bed, but also very good as companion plants for roses. I find the delicate colors, pink and white tones, with roses and sage varieties particularly beautiful, but that is a matter of taste. It is important not to put the plants too close together. The individual varieties have different widths, this must be taken into account when planting. You need more or less space.
- Plant in early spring
- Ideal for perennial beds
- Most effective in group planting – spectacular color effect
- For gravel beds
- Good for steppe planting and prairie gardens
- Suitable for keeping in pots, especially the non-winter-hardy varieties
- Planting distance depending on the variety, whether broadly bushy or growing upwards, 30 to 40 cm
- Mix compost under the soil when planting
- It is beneficial to add extra fertilizer at the same time
Watering and fertilizing
Ornamental sage is very drought tolerant and, once grown, gets along quite well with drought. During the flowering period you should still water every now and then so that the flowers last a long time. Otherwise dryness is better than wetness. Normally, ornamental sage gets along well with one fertilization when planting and two more per year. During the flowering period you can still add some liquid fertilizer to the irrigation water from time to time, but only if necessary.
- Tolerates drought
- Still watering every now and then
- Container plants need more and more regular water
- Fertilize at the start of budding in March / April
- After the first flowering, when you cut off the first pile, fertilize again
Many varieties of ornamental sage bloom twice. To do this, however, they have to be cut back after the first flowering. Otherwise, ornamental sage is only cut back about hand-high after flowering in autumn or in early spring, before budding begins. I would recommend pruning in the spring. This protects against frost damage if you don’t cover it. If you want to give the plants winter protection and cover them, it is easier to cut them off beforehand. Ornamental sage should not be cut back into the old wood, it is often bad for him. It is also a good idea to cut off the flower stalks after the second flowering so that the plant does not invest all its strength in the formation of seeds. If you want to harvest seeds, you can leave one or two stalks, that’s usually enough.
Many types of ornamental sage are sufficiently hardy. However, some exotic species, including the variegated foliage varieties, are a bit sensitive. They should be packed well. You use reed mats, dry leaves, brushwood or the like. Some varieties are not hardy. It is better to plant them in a tub and overwinter it frost-free. The ornamental sage varieties, which are considered winter hardy, are also grateful for winter protection from brushwood. If you cover them up, you are definitely not doing anything wrong.
Ornamental sage can be propagated in different ways, by sowing, dividing and cuttings. All three types work well. The easiest way is to divide the plant. Division in spring at the start of budding
- From February / March in a warm room
- As soon as one or two leaves have appeared, prick out the plants and place them individually in small pots
- As soon as no more frost is expected, the young plants can be planted out
- Especially worthwhile with beautiful annual varieties
- Cut off non-lignified shoots in summer. They must be about 6 inches long
- In the case of non-winter-hardy varieties, do not cut until September
- Remove the lower leaves
- Put the shoot in a container with potting soil, alternatively in a sand-peat mixture (1: 1)
- Must be warm and bright
- Don’t forget to pour
- Roots should have formed by autumn
- Winter hardy varieties can be planted out
- It is better to overwinter non-hardy varieties in a frost-free and light environment
Diseases and pests
Decorative sage is very robust and less susceptible to diseases and pests. Powdery mildew can occur, as can spider mites, but both are quite rare.
Ornamental sage is a decorative garden plant that looks particularly good in prairie gardens, in perennial beds or as a companion for roses. I don’t like the blue varieties, but rather the white and pink ones, which also fit better in our garden. Decorative sage is very easy to care for, has a great long-distance effect and really brings color to the garden (blue and purple varieties). I think ornamental sage works best when planted in groups or in a planter. This type of sage is highly recommended for all those looking for easy-care plants.