Growing salvia in clay soil?

jlc102482(6)June 4, 2012

I would like to plant several salvia (May Night and East Friesland) in my front garden, but I have clay soil. Should I bother trying? Is there anything I can do to amend the soil or feed them with something other than the usual compost? I love the way they look and have heard they are hardy, but I'd hate to have them all die on me because they won't like the soil.

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Clay soil join the club. Every time I dig a new hole in my front yard I not only have to deal with clay but rock,,, no I mean ROCK , but I stray photo below for effect. I dont have this in my back yard which is very tiny.

I usually mix evenly as I can clay soil, 5-5-5 compost and maybe top soil and builders sand step 2 if you can find it. Along with this at planting I also add time release osmocote or 12-12-12 or bone meal and water all this in well and you should be ok. This soil wont be what you want from day one but it will get better over time and worms get in this and make it better. It should be ok.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 12:34PM
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WOW, that is some serious clay soil! Mine is clay-ey but not quite that bad, so I guess there's hope for my salvia! Thank you for the soil remedy recipe, too - I will be working on that this weekend for sure.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 8:34AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Like Steve, I have heavy clay, I amend it with compost and a topsoil combo of peat and sand mix. One of my beds also has huge rocks becuase it was built over a layer of rock and stone that was mistakenly done in the wrong place when the drivway was redone. We dug out as much stone and larger rocks as possible and then built the bed over the top. Salvia greggiis work well in that bed because of the super drainage made possible by the rocks below.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 7:07AM
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The soil on my property (north central New Mexico) is concrete-like adobe clay. No humus, no stones, rocks or gravel--no nothing but clay. But once you get it dug up, a surprisingly large number of plants will grow in it. Best I've found are Salvias and snapdragons. Any of the annual Salvias do great, but best perennial Salvia here is purple flowered S. virgata (lately going around as S. cadmica, which it is not). Impervious to heat and cold, blooms most of summer. Good for places that get very little rain, like my place. Caveat: USDA lists it as an invasive weed. And it does reseed itself here, which gives me great pleasure.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 3:36PM
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Hummersteve, I was going to say what are you doing in my backyard. Yup the same thing here. I had to replace my shovel a few years back (it was a cheap one)from all the stone and bedrock in the ground. The size of some of the ones I've found is just ridicules. Just a side note I was told never to use sand in clay soil unless you want concrete, perlite is better.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 8:59PM
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