Growing Salvia Farinacea: Caring For The Mealycup Sage

Salvia Farinacea belongs to the Lamiaceae family of flowering plants, belonging to the sage plant genus. This family of plants is also commonly known as the mint, deadnettle, or sage family. The salvia Farinacea grows in warm regions.  

This herbaceous short-lived perennial is native to parts of Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico.

Blue Salvia farinacea flowers, or Mealy Cup Sage. A beautiful, brightly colored and eye-catching, full blooming purple flowers, bunch into long bouquet on red background, close-up, natural sunlight
Blue Salvia | Wert1007 AT gmail.com-DepositPhotos

Farinacea grows in prairies, plains, savannahs, pastures, and woodland edges, in limestone soils between 3500′ and 6000′ feet. The plant’s flowers are a brilliant purple-blue. 

Salvia Farinacea is the plant’s botanical name and pronounced [SAL-vee-uh] [far-ih-NAH-kee-uh] or [far-i-NAY-see-uh]. 

It is also commonly referred to as: 

  • Mealycup sage
  • Blue sage
  • Texas violet
  • Victoria blue salvia

The plant is a landscaper favorite. The salvia Farinacea has a subtly fragrant scent that attracts hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. 

Salvia Farinacea Care

Let’s look into how you care for this plant.

Size & Growth

The salvia Farinacea grows up to four feet tall, forming foliage mounds up to four feet wide in its native habitat. When cultivated, it typically grows up to 18″ inches tall. 

Its lance-shaped leaves grow to about 3″ inches long, drooping towards the ground when in full bloom. Salvias tend to have hairy, velvety leaves; their shininess makes them stand out from other plants.  

Farinacea means mealy, which means flour in Latin. The name refers to the fine silver colored hairs that cover the plant’s leaves. 

Flowering & Fragrance

The salvia blooms from early summer to the first frost, typically between April and October, depending on the region. 

Its flowers grow on erect, branching, square stems. The plant’s two-lipped purple-blue flowers grow to between 4″ and 8″ inches. The plant’s flowers are sometimes a silvery-white color. 

Light & Temperature

The salvia requires light for germination. Medium to medium-high levels of light is optimal. They also do well in partially shady conditions, which is essential to salvia farinacea care. 

Temperatures must reach 65° – 70° degrees Fahrenheit for germination. On average, it takes 14 days for the plant to emerge. 

The salvia does best in USDA hardiness zones 8 – 10. Salvia is sensitive to cold and dies in the winter. Cutting them down to the stems in the fall may aid winter survival. 

Watering and Feeding

The salvia’s watering needs are considered average. Keep the soil damp. In climates where the salvia is perennial, regular waterings are necessary.  

In cooler climates, water when planted, and then infrequent waterings are sufficient. The salvia tends to become leggy in waterlogged soil. 

Water baby salvias regularly until taking root. After they have taken root, allow the soil to dry between waterings. 

If you live in a zone with little rainfall (less than 1″ inch per week) or if there is a drought, water salvia with a soaker hose is ideal. 

Avoid watering from overhead. Instead, concentrate the water at the base of the plants. This will prevent the fungus from growing on the foliage.

Soil & Transplanting

It is best to transplant salvias on days when the temperature is moderate. Avoiding transplanting them in winter or during a heatwave is critical to salvia farinacea care. 

Here are the steps to follow when transplanting salvias. 

  • Dig a new planting hole 
  • Choose a sunny location or one with partial shade
  • Trim any excess roots
  • Insert the plants into the ground 
  • Compact the soil around the stem
  • Thoroughly water the newly transplanted salvia

Divide Salvias when transplanting. However, keep in mind that this is riskier than transplanting the entire plant. 

Salvias do best when planted in well-drained soil. They will tolerate dry clay soil. If the soil is nutrient-rich, fertilizer is unnecessary if the soil lacks nutrients, fertilizer aids growth when nutrients are lacking. 

Grooming And Maintenance

Salvia Farinacea’s care is low maintenance and doesn’t require much grooming. 

How To Propagate Salvia Seeds

The Salvia Farinacea is relatively easy to propagate from the seed. Before the last spring frost:

  • Fill seed tray or cell packs with a seed-starting mix
  • Lightly pack down the soil 
  • Set trays into a shallow container of water to wick up moisture 
  • Let the starter soil mix soak up the water
  • Place two to three Salvia seeds into each planting cell 
  • Push the seeds into mix to ensure good contact with the soil 
  • Do not cover the seeds with soil
  • Place seed 
  • Put the seed tray near a window with bright light – AVOID direct sunlight 
  • Keep temperatures between 65° – 70° degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Keep soil in seed tray moist, but not wet 
  • Water as needed
  • Salvia seeds should begin to germinate in 10 to 14 days

The salvia adapts easily to most types of soils. The seeds also self-sow. Move the plants outdoors after the last frost. Salvia seeds typically germinate between 10 and 30 days. 

Pests or Diseases

Pests typically don’t have any impact on the salvia farinacea’s long term health. They are known for being resistant to most pests and diseases.  

When aphids suck the plant’s juices, they coat the leaves with sticky honeydew. Powdery mildew is a risk of forming on the plant’s leaves, resulting in a white powdery growth.

Salvia farinacea care requires little in the way of pest control. 

There are many variants of the Salvia Farinacea. Salvias tend to be popular because they are easy to grow and are great for landscaping. 

There are over 700 different Salvia species. Here are a few of the most popular varieties: 

  • Blue Bedder: 32” inch tall plants whose deep-blue flowers grow on large spikes 
  • Strata: 12” to 18” inches tall plants with a range of colors from deep blue to silvery white
  • Victoria Series: 18” inches tall with thin deep purple-blue or silvery-white spikes
  • Mini Victoria: These are 12” inches tall dwarf plants with thin deep purple spikes
  • Silvery White: 18” inches tall with tall silvery-white flowers 

Ways To Use the Salvia Farinacea — Indoors or Outdoors 

The Salvia Farninacea’s flowers can be cut and used as an indoor flower display. 

Outdoors salvias look great in a garden. Planting them in groups creates a stunning landscape. They also work well in pots with other perennials.

More On Growing Salvia Plants

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