Apr 142010
How To Propagate Salvia from Cuttings

Salvia is one of my favorite perennials to propagate and spring is the best time to do it from stem tip cuttings. Pretty soon our gardens will be filled with salvia blooms and you’ll see why I like them so much. I’ll post a picture at the bottom of this post if you’re curious! The salvia in question for today’s post is a cultivar of Salvia nemorosa called ‘East Friesland’. The method of propagation I’ll show you is one that should work on many salvias and probably quite a few other perennials as well.


How to Propagate Salvia Cuttings:

First I locate an ideal stem for cutting. This particular stem has three nodes – one apical bud (at the stem tip), and two other nodes. I’ve done stem tip cuttings of salvia with only two nodes before so it will work but three will result in a larger plant a little bit faster. Once I’ve targeted the salvia stem tip I want I cut just below the bottom node. The nodes contain auxins which are naturally occurring growth hormones used to induce root or leaf growth.

propagate salvia from cuttings

Here’s a look at the salvia cutting after I’ve separated it from the plant. Notice that there are several leaves that aren’t necessary. I remove all the leaves except for two and pinch off the apical bud. That will encourage the auxins to work toward roots rather than making new foliage at the top. Once the salvia has rooted it will also encourage lateral branching for a nice bushy plant.

propagate salvia from cuttings

Here’s how the cutting looks after leaf removal. Two leaves and two nodes with a little bit of stem in between.

propagate salvia from cuttings

The next step is to dip the cut end of the salvia cutting in rooting hormone then stick it in moist rooting medium. Then I’ll wait for 10-14 days until rooting has occurred. Once I have roots I’ll pot up my new salvia. It should bloom by the end of this summer (at least here in Tennessee other zones may have different results). I’ve had success using this method with many other plants – go ahead and give it a try!

It doesn’t hurt the plant and makes it encourages it to become more full of foliage. Hopefully you can see why I want to make more salvia!



Dave has written GrowingTheHomeGarden.com since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 5 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

Reader Comments

  1. Great tutorial. You can also do this with agastache. I plan to increase my May Night salvia collection tomorrow. It needs pinching, and it's already blooming. I want to add it to the purple/pink/white bed I've started. Thanks for the reminder. 😉

  2. Good, timely tutorial. I have a new plant of 'Indigo Spires' that needs propagating.

    It's a good time to root S. leucantha and S. elegans since they won't bloom until September.

  3. Thanks Dave. The hyssop I have looks very mush like salvia so I agree with you that it should propagate the same way. Thanks!

  4. Very good tutorial. Does anyone know how long a plant like Mystic Sprire Blue Salvia remains on the no propagation list and how to find out if it's been removed from the list?

    Thank you!


  5. Thanks Bob!

    Plant patents last for 20 years from the date of application. It was filed in 2005 by Ball Horticultural Company. It looks like it's safe to propagate for sale in 2025 ;). If you're interested in propagating it for sale you can always seek out a license from the company. Here is the patent information on it: Salvia Mystic Spires

  6. I live in Long Island NY . Can I still propagate my May night salvias this time of the year ?( MAy 5 ). Can I just dip the cuttings in water ? Thanks !

  7. Dannick,

    You should still be able to take cuttings from salvia through mid summer and still have a plant large enough to make it through winter. (Of course that all depends on how harsh a winter you have.) Now is a great time! I've never tried rooting salvia in water. sand works well and if you don't have that you could try a regular potting soil. Either should work faster and better than rooting in water.

  8. The pictures tell it all, thanks for the great tutorial. I'll try this in my garden coming spring. Wish I could skip winter… Greetings, Cynthia (The Netherlands)

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