Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pruning Salvia - A Simple How to

Salvia 'Maynight'
I was contemplating what my next blog was going to be on and as I was just in my garden pruning my salvia it came to me. One of the most often asked questions by many of my customers is, “What do I do with my salvia now that it is done blooming?” Very often when the salvia stalks start to turn brown it appears that the plants are dead but they are only finished with their first show.  Now for some of you the timing of this blog may be a bit early but here in the Northeast everything is about two weeks earlier than usual due to the abundant spring rain and snow cover over our past winter. Due to these factors the perennials are bigger and better than ever and the salvia are magnificent!   By the way if you are wondering what type of salvia this is, it is my favorite, Salvia 'Maynight'.  Its deep purple coloring and long blooming habit make it a welcome addition to any full sun garden.  Now lets talk about how to prune your salvia for maximum bloom.
Perennial Garden with Salvia 'Maynight'
When your plants are starting to look a little less desirable than you prefer it is time to dead head. It is sometimes difficult to explain how to prune salvia so follow me on this. Take a look at any three fingers on your hand that are next to each other. When you prune your salvia you will be cutting out the center stalk that is done blooming. On each side of the center stalk you will see two other stalks with new buds and blooms forming. If there are blooms done on the two side stalks you can cut those out as well. Only cut the spent stalks and the new flowers will form. I usually get about three blooms out of my salvia throughout the summer and into the early fall. By the second or third bloom you may want to give your plants a little plant food to give them a boost and add energy for the rest of the season.   If your plants are brand new they may have been force bloomed so for the first season you may only get one or two blooms but come next year you will be able to push out three blooms if you time your pruning right.
Pruning Center Stalk form Salvia
Now that you are ready to prune your salvia the best time of day is either early morning or late afternoon or just when you need a little garden therapy.  Pruning salvia can be both rewarding and therapeutic so pick the right time to perform this task!  When the fall season arrives and winter is on its way be sure to prune your salvia down to just two to three inches above the ground and add a little mulch around the plant for protection.  With regular maintenance of your plants you will receive blooms to enjoy for the entire season.  Now-back to my garden!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Thank you for the helpful tip! I did try it this past summer and I got more blooms out my salvia than ever before. They tend to get leggy at the end of the summer and this really rejuvinated them.

  2. I just discovered your blog - an amazing amount of helpful information! There is so much here to read. I'll be back often. Thank you for writing and sharing!

  3. Thank you for visiting and for your kind words. I just checked out your blog and will be visiting as well! Happy New Year to you!

  4. My salvia has flopped over due to heavy rain. They look terrible and are not straightening up.They are blooming a beautiful purple. How should I prune then o look better


    1. Hi Janice. At this point while they are still blooming I would recommend building up the soil or mulch around them and pressing firmly to help them stand up. I have experienced this with my own Salvia and this seems to work well. You can prune them as explained in this post once the blooms expire. Hope this helps! Enjoy your day!

  5. I got a salvia plant last summer and it did wonderful. Later on in December when I brought the plant indoors and the blooms had dissipated my father assumed that it was dead and whacked off every stem about 2 inches out of the dirt, leaves and all. Its warming up now in Dallas where I am and new stalks have come up from under the old ones but now I'm unsure what to do with the old vestiges. The old stalks stick out like a sore amputee thumb and its the first plant people see when they get to the porch of the house should I leave it and let it be hidden under the new stalks or cut it back to soil level? I love your blog btw is a lifesaver!

    1. Hi Paige. Thank you for your kind words. You can carefully remove the old stalks so that the new foliage can appear. Also give the plant a little slow release fertilizer to give it a good start. Salvia is one of my favorites! Enjoy!


Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!


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