How to Grow Purple Salvia

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Purple salvia (Salvia dorrii) is a small evergreen shrub that thrives in dry, poor soil. Purple salvia, also known as purple sage or desert sage, thrives on neglect and requires very little water. In return, the plant, which grows to 3 feet tall, will grace the landscape with gray-green foliage that forms an ideal contrast to the stunning blue flowers that bloom all summer. Native to the dry, high deserts of Washington, Idaho, Arizona and California, purple salvia is hardy to USDA Zones 5 to 9.



things you’ll need:
  • Cell packs or other small planting containers Peat-based commercial potting soil Spade Rake Compost or well-rotted manure Trowel
    1. Start purple salvia seeds indoors in mid- to late winter. Fill cell packs or other small planting containers with a peat-based commercial potting mixture. Add enough water to the potting mixture to make it uniformly damp.
    2. Place the container in indirect, bright light. Avoid direct light and hot, sunny windowsills. Room temperature should be between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
    3. Begin moving the purple salvia outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Place the plants outdoors in a shady area for two to three days. After that time, begin moving the plants into a sunny area for one to two hours, increasing the time daily until the salvia can tolerate sunlight all day.
    4. Prepare a sunny, dry spot in your garden. Be sure the planting site drains well as purple salvia will rot in soggy soil. Spade the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Rake out any weeds or rocks. Work in 2 to 3 inches of compost or well-rotted manure.
    5. Use a trowel to dig a hole for each purple salvia plant. The hole should be just deep enough to cover the root ball. The crown of the plant, which is where the stem meets the root, should be slightly above the ground.
    6. Water the salvia deeply immediately after watering. After that time, water only during periods of extremely hot, dry weather. Water deeply then allow the soil to dry completely before watering again.

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