Black & Blue Salvia, Anise Sage, Anise-Scented Sage, Blue Anise Sage, Brazilian Sage, Brazilian Anise Sage, Licorice Sage, Giant Blue Sage, Sapphire Sage, Hummingbird Sage, Meadow Sage
‘Black and Blue Salvia’ thrives in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil and full sun. Although the plant is able to tolerate some shade, it tends to become spindly as it attempts to stretch toward the light. ‘Black and Blue Salvia’ will appear more attractive and bloom more abundantly when receiving 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. This plant is most easily propagated from cuttings or division, although it can be grown from seed. Rhizomes may be lifted and transplanted in early fall into moist, slightly-acidic, well-draining soil, and the addition of organic matter, such as compost, is beneficial at the time of planting. Tubers may also be dug in early fall to be stored in a cool, dark, slightly-moist location until time for spring planting, which should be after the date of the last frost. Additionally, ‘Black and Blue Salvia’ can be propagated from stem cuttings by removing a 6-inch long stem from the plant, dipping the cut end into moist, fertile growing medium, and placing it into a warm, bright, location until roots form. Seed may be purchased from a reputable local nursery and planted in the spring. If gathered from plant, seed will need to be refrigerated to allow it to adjust to cold temperatures. Seeds should be kept moist, but not wet, and placed in a sealed container until after the last spring frost.
‘Black and Blue Salvia’ thrives with 6-8 hours of full sunlight daily and evenly-moist, slightly acidic soil. Excellent soil drainage is essential. Soil quality and drainage can be improved with the addition of 2-3 inches of organic matter to the existing soil. ‘Black and Blue Salvia’ should be watered weekly, or when the soil is dry, and prefers to be watered in the morning hours so that the leaves do not remain wet. Over-watering will cause root rot, which can quickly kill this plant. The surrounding area should be kept free of weeds to allow air to circulate around the plant, and a space of about 24 inches should be allowed. If grown in sufficient sunlight, ‘Black and Blue Salvia’ rarely requires staking. However, if stems are stretching to reach the sunlight, staking may be required to prevent the plant from falling over.
‘Black and Blue Salvia’ does not require additional fertilizer once the soil has been amended with organic matter. Too much fertilizer will weaken the plant, causing it to fall over.
‘Black and Blue Salvia’ will bloom more abundantly if spent flowers are regularly removed throughout the growing season. To retain an attractive appearance, entire stems should be cut back to the base of the plant after flowering. In spring, the plant should be cut back by a third, removing all dead, unsightly wood, and in late fall, the entire plant should be cut to ground level.
‘Black and Blue Salvia’ is not affected by any serious pests or diseases if grown in the right conditions. Over-watering the plant can most certainly cause root rot, especially if the soil drains poorly. High humidity and poor air circulation can encourage whiteflies. In order to prevent an infestation, the area around this plant should be kept free of weeds. Morning irrigation will allow the leaves to remain dry. If whiteflies do attack, they can be rinsed away by a strong spray of water or, if necessary, an insecticidal soap may be applied according to the directions on the product label.