Tough Plants – Salvia nemorosa

Daylily-and-Salvia-5-2009-1While the winter is still in gear I thought it might be helpful to begin reviewing some of the toughest plants I have grown over the years. I’ve grown a lot of them (and killed a few of them along the way). In my garden it has to be a tough plant to survive over the years. Today I’m going to mention one of my all time garden favorite perennials: salvia. I’m not talking about the annual salvia that a lot of folks use as a bedding plant. I’m talking about the Salvia nemorosas of the world. The ‘May Night’ salvias, the ‘Caradonna Salvia’, or the ‘East Friesland’ salvias are the toughest salvias I have grown.

propagate salviaAll three of these salvia varieties have been planted in my garden and all three have survived neglect, transplanting, drought, rabbits, and deer.

Let me be clear here, I don’t take care of my Salvia nemorosas. I don’t water them, I don’t fertilize them (aside from a natural mulch that will eventually break down to feed the soil), and I barely maintain them. For maintenance I simply trim them back when the flowers are done blooming or prune the dead foliage back when they are done for the season. That’s really about it.


Salvia-Caradonna-5-2009-1The deer and rabbits leave my Salvia nemorosa alone which is great since I have more deer and rabbits than salvia! As for drought conditions, salvia does just fine and comes right back.

When transplanting my salvias I have accidentally left bits of roots in the ground. The transplanted salvias did great but more came back from the original planting location! Accidental plant propagation is awesome!

There are lots of great salvias out there to choose from outside of the Salvia nemorosa varieties but if you have a place in your garden for a plant that looks great, attracts pollinators, and you can practically ignore then try one of these salvias!