Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pruning Salvia - A Simple How to

Pruning Salvia-A Simple How To
I was contemplating what my next discussion was going to be while in the garden pruning the salvia. One of the most often asked questions I receive from my customers is,“What should I do with my salvia now that it is done blooming?” 
Salvia 'May Night'
Very often as 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 post 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 Border with Salvia May Night
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. 
Pruning Center Stalk from Salvia
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.
Salvia Before Pruning Late June/Early July in Zone 7
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! 
Salvia After Pruning Early July Zone 7