How to Grow Perennial Blue Salvia — Salvia x superba

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Perennial blue salvia, Salvia x superba, bear slender, terminal racemes of bright violet or purple flower from midsummer to early autumn.

Perennial blue salvia is a clump-forming, erect, branched perennial with lance-shaped mid-green leaves. It grows up to 3 feet (91cm) tall. It grows best in Zones 5 to 9.

Get to know perennial blue salvia

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 4-8
  • Hardiness: Hardy to -20°F (-29°C)
  • Height and width: 12-36 inches (30-91cm) tall; 12 to 24 inches (30-61cm) wide
  • Foliage: Lance-shaped to oblong, scalloped, mid-green leaves to 4 inches long
  • Flowers: 2-lipped, the upper lips erect and hooded, the lower one 2-toothed and more spreading on spikes
  • Flower colors: Bright violent or purple
  • Bloom time: Early to midsummer
  • Uses: Beds, borders
  • Garden companions: Shasta daisies, yarrow
  • Common name: Perennial blue salvia
  • Botanical name: Salvia x superba
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Origin: Distributed worldwide in temperate and tropical regions

Where to plant perennial blue salvia

  • Plant perennial blue salvia in full sun to light shade.
  • Grow perennial blue salvia in humus-rich, well-drained soil.

Salvia uses and companions

  • Plant Salvias in beds and borders and containers.
  • Salvias are effective in a sunny border, light woodland, or wildflower meadow.
  • Many Salvia species attract bees.
  • Good garden companions for Salvia include Achillea, Coreopsis, Gazania, Gerbera jamesonii, Heuchera, Potentilla, Rudbeckia.
Perennial blue salvia, Salvia superba
Perennial blue salvia, Salvia superba

When to plant perennial blue salvia

  • Set perennial blue salvia in the garden in spring or fall.
  • Start seed indoors 8 weeks before the last frost.
  • Sow seeds outdoors after the danger of frost has passed.
  • Set plants started indoors in the garden after the last frost when the weather has settled.

Planting and spacing perennial blue salvia

  • Start seed indoors in flat or six-packs; cover seeds with 1/8 inch of soil.
  • Water and keep seed warm 65° to 75°F (18°-24°C); seeds germinate in about 14 days, sometimes less. Grow in bright sunlight or a few inches below fluorescent light.
  • Sow seed outdoors in drills about 2 inches (5cm) deep; plant seeds 2 inches (5cm) and cover with 1/8 inches of soil.
  • Thin or transplant seedlings when they are about 4 inches (10cm) tall.
  • Space salvias in the garden 8 to 36 inches (20-91cm) apart depending on the variety.
Perennial blue salvia, Salvia superba
Perennial blue salvia, Salvia superba

How to water and feed perennial blue salvia

  • Keep the soil evenly moist; perennial blue salvia needs moderate moisture.
  • Fertilize perennial blue salvia every 6 weeks with an all-purpose fertilizer or work in a slow-release fertilizer in spring.

Perennial blue salvia care

  • Mulch around perennial blue salvia to conserve soil moisture.
  • Trim off spent blooms to promote additional blooms.
  • Tall varieties may need staking.
  • Perennial blue salvia is commonly pest and disease-free.
  • Perennial blue salvia can be divided in spring.

Perennial blue salvia propagation

  • Grow annual salvias from seed; grow perennials from seed or by division.
  • Seeds germinate in 12 to 15 days at 70°F (21°C); soak seeds of Salvia splendens to speed germination.
  • Sow seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost for early blooms.
  • All salvias can be grown from stem cuttings. Take stem cuttings during warm weather. Root under high humidity in damp potting medium.

Perennial blue salvia varieties to grow

  • ‘East Friesland’ is purple
  • ‘Mainacht’ is violet-blue.
  • ‘Maynight’ is bright blue.

Also of interest:

How to Grow Salvias

How to Grow Perennial Salvias

How to Grow Annual Blue Salvia

How to Grow Annual Red 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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