clary sage or salvia viridis

Plant Pick – Salvia viridis or Clary Sage

Lovely veining? Stained-glass-window look?

No matter what makes you fall in love with this foliage plant, it is breathtaking, backlit and glowing in morning sunlight. This is an old-fashioned plant which is great among other cottage garden plants or in containers.  Annual clary sage was probably a plant brought over by early settlers to the United States. It was said to have grown in the gardens at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. And since it is such a colorful and carefree plant, I can see why it would be loved and nurtured.

 Beautiful Salvia viridis - The Hypertufa Gardener

I have seen this listed as an herb for uses like eye problems, anti-depressant, etc. But I am not knowledgeable in herbal usage for any plants. The flower I am growing is the flower referred to by Fine Gardening magazine in this article. See this link.

I have grown this Clary sage for years and even when I don’t plant it, some scattered seed from the years before will just suddenly start growing again.  You know that I have a gravel bed in my garden, so you can understand how easy it is to grow. Right now, it is blooming right up through the gravel.

It is a lovely plant to see in the garden because of its intense color. I like to see it growing with a backdrop of bright green foliage such as evergreens, or the leaves of peonies no longer in bloom.

Fading bracts of salvia viridis - The Hypertufa Gardener

Plant information:

  • Exposure: full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: well-drained soil
  • Rate of growth: average to fast-growing
  • Flowering period: May to August
  • Flower color: deep rose/purple/blue bracts
  • Hardiness: annual with color all season until frost kills it

 The color of this plant’s “flower” is actually the bracts which surround the small flowers. Those bracts are very showy and come in vivid colors which intensify as the days pass. The bracts are clearly veined and show their color so well. They will last a long time as cut flowers and you can also dry them for a display in the house.

 Once your Salvia viridis begins growing and gets established, it is very drought-tolerant. It will self-sow but is not one of the garden thugs  I posted about which will take over a garden. It just comes back here and there, adding great touch of color. I think it has a really delicate look, but it is a strong and lasting plant.

You can deadhead for more branches. It grows in an almost “candelabra” shape, so pinch away. Your color will last for a long time. When you let it dry and want some more, I just strip the stem and toss the seeds on the ground. Mother Nature will bring you more.

It is just about the perfect garden plant, right?  If you have any problem finding it, here is an affiliate link.

Clary Sage Pink Sundae Salvia

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