How To Care For Salvia Chamaedryoides

Salvia chamaedryoides [SAL-vee-uh, kam-ay-dry-OY-deez] has evergreen foliage and bright blue flowers. 

It spreads easily, providing interesting ground cover for any garden or landscape.

purple blooms of Salvia Chamaedryoides (Germander Sage)

Salvia chamaedryoides is part of the salvia plant genus, typically called the sage genus. 

It also has a few common names:

  • Germander sage
  • Mexican blue sage
  • Blue oak sage

The plant is part of the Lamiaceae (mint) family of plants. 

It’s native to Mexico and tolerates drought during the summer.

Other Popular Salvia Varieties:

Salvia Chamaedryoides Care

Size and Growth

  • Salvia chamaedryoides has spreading growth, but it’s not invasive. 
  • It produces woody stems reaching about 12″ inches tall and 18″ inches wide.
  • The stems are covered in small, round leaves. 
  • The leaves typically only measure about an inch long.
  • The leaves and the stems are sage green with downy coats. 
  • The fuzzy stems and leaves are not toxic.

Flowering and Fragrance

The plant blooms from summer to fall, producing bright blue or bluish purple flowers. 

The flowers don’t produce a scent. 

They feature small, circular petals, close to the same size as the leaves. 

Light and Temperature

Place the plant in full sun when grown in-ground. 

Indoor plants should receive filtered sunlight throughout the day.

Salvia chamaedryoides is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10. 

It grows in hot, dry climates and cannot last during severe frost.

Watering and Feeding

Salvia chamaedryoides grows best when the soil is kept moist. 

Avoid water logging the soil, but ensure the ground remains mostly moist during the warmer months.

Use liquid fertilizer once every four weeks, starting in the spring. 

It doesn’t need fertilizer during the winter when it goes dormant and stops producing new growth. 

Soil and Transplanting

Use well-drained soil. It can grow in a variety of soils, including poor soil, if it offers suitable drainage. 

Transplant potted plants every three or four years if it outgrows its pot. 

Grooming

In frost-free regions, trim the plant back in the fall. 

Indoor plants are trimmed before winter starts. 

This limits the need for watering and encourages fuller growth the following season.

How to Propagate Germander Sage

Take cuttings, divide the plant, or sow seeds to propagate germander sage. 

Sow seeds outdoors after the last threat of frost or start indoors in containers.

Keep the soil moist and ensure the seedlings receive lots of sunlight.

To propagate with cuttings, disinfect a pair of gardening shears with isopropyl alcohol. 

  • Cut a stem measuring 5″ to 8″ inches long just below one of the nodes.
  • Remove the leaves from the bottom 2″ inches of the cutting. 
  • Place the cutting in a glass with 2″ to 3″ inches of water.
  • Set the glass in a spot with filtered light. 
  • Add water as needed to maintain the water level.
  • When the roots are about an inch long, the cutting is ready to transplant. 

Mature plants are easily divided to produce new plants and limit the spread of the root system. 

  • Divide the plant in the fall after flowering.
  • Cut the plant back and then dig the soil around the base of the plant. 
  • Loosen the soil and use a towel to slowly lift the plant without damaging the root ball.
  • Loosen the soil around the roots to get a better look at the root ball. 
  • Divide the plant into two to three sections.
  • Each section should contain several roots. 
  • Wrap the divided sections of the plant in a damp newspaper to protect the roots. 
  • Transplant the divided sections to their new homes, either indoors in pots or outdoors in the ground. 
  • This process is repeated every three to four years, depending on the growth rate of the plant.

Germander Sage Pest or Disease Problems

Salvia chamaedryoides is prone to powdery mildew, fungal spots, and stem rot. 

These issues are often caused by excess moisture or not enough sunlight.

Remove infected areas of the plant. 

If the plant is majorly covered in fungal growth or rot, use one of the propagation methods to try saving it.

After removing the infected areas, amend the soil with clay to improve drainage. 

Limit watering until the remaining fungal growth or rot disappears.

The plant may also suffer from common pests, including spider mites, mealybugs, whitefly, and aphids. 

Most of these critters are easily removed with tweezers. 

Sometimes the plant needs a strong spray of water to remove pests. 

Always take plants outdoors to try removing infestations.

If water doesn’t remove the pests, wash the foliage with a combination of dish soap and water. 

The dish soap should drown the critters. 

When these methods fail to kill the pests, treat the plant with insecticidal soap.

Suggested Salvia Chamaedryoides Uses

The showy little flowers and fuzzy growth make germander sage a popular choice for mixed borders and containers. 

It provides contrast for shorter plants.

Germander sage may also be used to attract butterflies or hummingbirds.

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