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How to Grow Annual Blue Salvia — Salvia

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Annual blue salvia, Salvia farinacea, produces spikes of small purple-blue flowers from midsummer to fall. Annual blue salvia is sometimes called mealycup sage. The plant is an upright perennial often grown as an annual. Leaves are lance-shaped.

Annual blue salvia has the best effect when planted in drifts in beds and borders. More than one plant in a container will give a true sense of the plants’ vibrant color.

Blue salvia, Salvia farinace
Blue salvia, Salvia farinace

Get to know annual blue salvia

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Growing Zones and range: Grow as an annual in Zones 2-7; grow as a perennial in Zones 8-11
  • Hardiness: Annual blue salvia prefers warm weather and moderate to high humidity
  • Height and width: 12 to 36 inches (30-91cm) high; 10 to 12 inches (25-30cm) wide
  • Foliage: Lance-shaped leaves
  • Flowers: Bright blue spikes
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Uses: Bedding, containers, mixed flower borders
  • Common name: Annual blue salvia, mealycup sage
  • Botanical name: Salvia farinacea
  • Family: Lamiaceae

Where to plant annual blue salvia

  • Grow annual blue salvia in full sun in Zones 2-6; grow in light shade in hot summer areas in Zones 7-11.
  • Plant blue salvia in average, well-drained soil.
Mealycup sage, Salvia farinacea
Mealycup sage, Salvia farinacea

When to plant annual blue salvia

  • Set annual blue salvia in the garden in spring or later after all danger of frost has passed.

Planting and spacing annual blue salvia

  • Space annual blue salvia plants 8 to 12 inches (20-30cm) apart.
  • Sow seed 1/8 inch deep in evenly prepared soil.

How to water and feed annual blue salvia

  • Annual blue salvia needs moderate moisture; keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Fertilize annual blue salvia occasionally, every 4 to 6 weeks, or work in a slow-release fertilizer in spring.

Annual blue salvia care

  • Mulch around annual blue salvia to conserve soil moisture.
  • Annual blue salvia is prone to rust, aphids, and leafhoppers.

Annual blue salvia propagation

  • Sow seeds in warm soil after all danger of frost has passed.
  • Start seeds indoors 6 weeks before setting plants in the garden.

Annual blue salvia varieties to grow

There are several cultivars of annual blue salvia, Salvia farinacea; here are a few:

  • ‘Blue Bedder’ grows to 12 inches high.
  • ‘Rhea’ is compact with intense blue flowers.
  • ‘Silver White’ bears pearl white flowers.
  • ‘Strata’ has bicolored flowers.
  • ‘Victoria Blue’ has rich blue flowers.
  • ‘White Porcelain’ has white flowers.

Also of interest:

How to Grow Perennial Salvias

How to Grow Annual Red Salvia

How to Grow Perennial Blue Salvia

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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How to Grow Perennial Blue Salvia — Salvia x superba