Salvia farinacea, or Mealy-Cup Sage, is a much branched perennial herb native to Mexico, New Mexico and Texas. Leaves are ovate-lanceolate to 1.5-3 inches (3.8-7.5 cm) long and coarsely serrate. Plants in containers will reach 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) tall. There are several cultivars that differ in size and flower color. Cultivars can be as small as 12 inches (30.5 cm) to as tall as 4 feet (1.2 m). Plants are very drought resistant once established in the landscape and make great border plants or may be planted in mass plantings as ground cover. They are very easy plants to grow whether in containers or in the landscape. Salvia farinacea is hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 8-10.
Blooming Time: Plants in containers or in the landscape have a long blooming season. In the greenhouse, they will bloom from spring until fall if the dying flowers are kept trimmed off. They are very showy when in flower.
Culture: Salvia farinacea need full sun to partial shade, with a well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand. The plants are well watered and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. Plants should be fertilized only when needed. In the landscape, plants are drought resistant up to a point, but in severe drought conditions supplemental water keeps them looking good and blooming. In late fall, we move the plants to the cool rooms for their winter dormancy period. Once plants die back, they should be cut back to about 3 inches (7.5 cm) above soil level, this should be done with plants in the landscape also. During winter dormancy in the greenhouse, the plants are watered once a month until new growth starts in the spring.
Propagation: Salvia farinacea or Mealy-Cup Sage is propagated by cutting, division of large clumps or by seed.
Salvia farinacea was featured as Plant of the Week February 5-11, 2010.
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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.