Salvia winter care?

sunimrette(7b / NC)February 23, 2008

I was told that salvia should not be trimmed in the fall because that can lead to its crown rotting. So I left all my salvia species as they are- little skeletons. Does anyone know when the soonest is that I can go ahead and prune them to the ground? My in-laws are coming for a visit next month and my garden looks like a plant graveyard- I'd really love to neaten it up and put down some fresh mulch, but I love my salvias and don't want to loose them! Here we are still having occasional overnight frost, plenty of rain, paired with days that sometimes soar into the 70's (my poor, confused plants!) But our average last frost date isn't till April 1, give or take a week.



Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I wait until I at least see some good strong growth coming up from the base of the plant before I cut them back. If you do that, AND the plants are well mulched, you should be okay. If you have any doubt, trim the dead growth back, but leave some standing as insulation. Less dead will look neater.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 5:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


The problem is that often when you cut them back the hollow stems allow water to run right down into the crown of the plant and that causes rot. What you want to avoid is cutting or breaking the stems.

Can you bend the plants over and put a rock on the dried growth? I did this with success once when I had company coming from out of town.



    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sunimrette(7b / NC)

Thanks for the advice guys! Yes, I knew that it had to do with the stem being hollow and water getting in and rotting it... so I went ahead and trimmed back the lateral stems, leaving the main ones unharmed. Looks better, but still not great. I like the idea of putting a rock over it- they will only be in town for two days, and spending the nights in a nearby hotel, so they hopefully won't have too much time to scrutinize!



    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 12:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
qqqq(z7 AR)

I never trim my salvias until Sprint. But it's not because of crown rot, it's because I just don't have enough time until Spring!

I've never had crown rot.

But I'll be on the look out. Learned something today. Thanks, Q

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 4:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sunimrette(7b / NC)

Well, I tried the bending it to the ground thing on my 'black and blue' salvia, but they all snapped away! So they have been unintentionally trimmed, and I am hopping that the weather stays warm enough to encourage new growth rather than rot. I'll be pretty sad if I loose it, it was such a pretty plant!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 4:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sunimrette(7b / NC)

Well the "black and blue" survived! It popped up a few weeks ago and is growing happily despite the abuse. Now I'm just watching my pineapple sage, hoping. I went ahead and trimmed that one down, though not all the way down to the crown. Has anyone else grown pineapple sage (salvia elegans) in NC and know about how late in the spring do they send up new shoots? I know the guides say it's hardy to 8a, but I'm only one county away from the start of that zone and we had a relatively mild winter.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 4:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

my first experience with salvia was buying them from Loew's. They were labeled as annuals, and as a neewbie
I took the data and did not question it.
After a prolific summer of never-ending bloom, from a plant who asked so little........a drink once a week if it was dusty hot. Other than that, I ignored the salvias and they grew and flowered steadily all through the broiling summer.
They give you your moneys worth!

Later that spring, as I was cleaning up the yard, I came upon dried-out tumbleweeds, the forlorn destination of my marvelous salvias only months before.
As I was yanking them out of the ground, they sure did put up a fight to stay there...I guess if they could have talked they would have chanted, " we are here, we are here!!" But oh no, the tag from Loews said you are annuals, which means I must send you to compost heaven.

Of course now, being more experienced and plain pooped out from the unneccesary work I create for myself, I embrace the "pereniall-ness' of salvias .

My salvia get no special care. They do not get winterized.
Surely, the plant dies back with the cold, and a small rosette of leaves may remain, as the plant snoozes through winter. Anything that looks dead, I leave it alone.
When it starts hitting the 70s and 80s in April and May here in NC, and we get some rain, all live perennials make it known without a doubt they are here. At that time, I may cut off the old flower stocks from last year. The new stalks will come out of the base of the leaf mound.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 12:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hardiness and winter treatment depends on the species of Salvia, in my experience. I always cut back guaranitica ("Black and Blue", "Argentina Skies", etc.) in the winter - they are really ugly when dead, and I've never lost any in almost 20 years. They're basically weeds here, and develop tubers that allow them to survive much better than other varieties. "Purple Majesty", a hybrid of guaranitica (with gesneriflora, I think) is much less dependable, so I always take cuttings in fall.

Rutilans (Pineapple Sage) and leucantha (Mexican Bush Sage) are more iffy, and I do tend to leave those stems in place until I see new growth in spring; they're not as invasive as the guaraniticas, but they are usually perennial. I take cuttings of rutilans every year, just in case, but they are fussy little critters in pots, and one of the only plants I grow which will flat out die if allowed to dry out even once. Oresbia is another species which has been reliably hardy for me without any special care or protection.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 4:08AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
desert rose
Can anyone tell me how to care for a desert rose? My...
Identifying Mushrooms On Oak Log
We have some creamy colored disc type mushrooms growing...
Lilac for the South
Wayside has a lilac in their catalog which they say...
Very hard pruning of big boxwoods?
I know this has been discussed before, but I just can't...
New home landscaping
My husband and I will be moving into our new home next...
Sponsored Products
Ivory Cotton Rich Sheet Set
$54.99 | zulily
Ornate Outdoor Garden Stool
$200.00 | Horchow
AquaContour Automatic Sprinkler
$199.00 | FRONTGATE
Indoor Area Rug: Contemporary Brown Rectangle 5' 3" x 7' 5" Plush
Home Depot
Slide Design | Kami Ichi Lounge Chair
LA Baby Sweet Slumber Crib Mattress - MT-4110-V
$84.99 | Hayneedle
Frontier Juniper and Winter White Rectangular: 5 Ft. x 8 Ft. Rug
$345.60 | Bellacor
Mykonos Blue Sufi Tiles Rio Indoor-Outdoor Mat
Cost Plus World Market
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™