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Is coarse sand necessary in planting S. Officinalis?

Posted by ginnyginny Zone 9 Calif (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 9, 10 at 13:44

In reading Betsy Clebsch's Salvia book she recommends incorporating coarse sand or grit into the soil when planting Salivia Offinalis. She also recommends planting it on a mound.

My soil is well amended (over 30 years) clay.

If I use the sand or grit where would I buy a small amount, what would it be called, and how much do I need?

I've grown salvias before and just put them in well amended soil and they did fine.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is coarse sand necessary in planting S. Officinalis?

The sand is for drainage. Do you know your soil type, and are you planting on a slope? A raised bed is advised for a low area.

You can get a builder's sand (washed, to make concrete) from building suppliers. If they don't have it, they would know who does.

RE: Is coarse sand necessary in planting S. Officinalis?

I've never had my soil tested but it was originally clay. Over the 30+ years I've been gardening here and adding compost each year, it is quite nice now.

It won't be on a slope.

Does this suggestion apply to all Salvias?


RE: Is coarse sand necessary in planting S. Officinalis?

From what you report about your soil, it probably won't need the sand. A looser, more airy soil would allow more air to the roots and increase longevity, and make a leaner soil. A rich soil will encourage fast growth and a shorter life span.

Your soil sounds optimal for the subtropical sages. In general, xeric (desert) and alpine sages prefer leaner, looser soils.

RE: Is coarse sand necessary in planting S. Officinalis?

My Salvia oficionales var bergarten is extremely happy in a very fast draining limestone rubble with a bit of native mulch built up through the years from live oak and cedar growing in the area. It is mostly gravel, fossils and a bit of caliche. alkaline and Lean and very un claylike. In town, my friends who live on clay grow it in pots mostly. It takes drought and heat very well.

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