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Summer staple

Sturdy salvia is a butterfly, hummingbird magnet 

JUNE IS PERENNIAL GARDENING MONTH and if you head to your local garden center, you will see rows upon rows of beautiful perennials to consider. One of my favorite groups, the salvias, is a top contender for color from late spring through summer. 

There are many varieties of salvia, so be sure you get one that is truly perennial and not one of the half-hardy or annual varieties. While most perennial types in our area are in shades of blue, you can also get white and a few pink salvias.

Perennial salvia are known for being easy to grow. They prefer full sun but do surprisingly well in part sun. They attract butterflies and hummingbirds and are resistant to rabbits and deer. Tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, salvia bloom best in average soil with adequate moisture; water occasionally if dry to encourage reblooming. While salvia require no summer maintenance, if you deadhead or cut them back after each bloom sequence, it will encourage more flowering. 

The perennial salvias in our area typically grow from 15 to 24 inches tall. Because of their colors and textures, I think they look best when planted in groups of three or more. You could even choose several colors and have a mosaic of salvias. 

Among the blue flowering varieties, I recommend ‘Caradonna,’ ‘East Friesland,’ ‘Marcus’ and ‘May Night.’ For white flowering, try ‘Snowhill’ or ‘White Profusion;’ and for pinks, check out ‘Back to the Fuchsia,’ pictured, ‘Eveline’ and ‘Pink Delight.’ 

SHELLY NOLD is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207.

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