Salvia guaranitica is an attractive perennial that bears cobalt blue flowers. Also known as “Black and Blue” Salvia, the cultivar belongs to the Salvia genus of evergreen shrubs. Native to southern South America, especially Brazil, the plant forms a 6′ foot tall bush and is grown as an annual.
Pick one up at your local nursery, and let’s learn to grow this purple plant with dark stems that attracts hummingbirds!
|Common Name(s):||Black & Blue salvia, Blue Anise Sage, anise-scented sage, Brazilian sage, giant blue sage, sapphire sage|
|Scientific Name||Salvia guaranitica|
|Height & Spread:||2-5′ tall and 2-5′ wide|
|Light||Full sun to part shade|
|Soil||Average, well draining|
|Pests & Diseases:||Whiteflies, downy and powdery mildew|
Brazilian sage is a drought tolerant perennial as it has moisture-conserving rhizomes. It’s a tall shrub with a running root stock that forms wide clumps of stems with ovate dark green leaves and 1-2″ long dark blue flowers. They bloom open in late summer and autumn. The plants are sun lovers and can grow up to 5′ feet tall.
Types of Salvia Guaranitica
Salvia guaranitica is a species within the Salvia genus and belongs to the Lamiaceae family. This plant can be biennial, annual, evergreen or herbaceous. It is known for its simple or pinnately-lobed, fragrant leaves and two-lipped flowers with spikes.
It’s quite similar to its cousin, Salvia rhinosinia, that grows up to 8′ feet tall with vigorous and often invasive tubers. Like Black and Blue Salvia, this one also loves sunny to partial shade areas.
Black and Blue Salvia Care
Also known as Blue anise sage, this plant takes about 1-2 years to reach its full height. It’s a low-maintenance, drought tolerant plant, with a bloom time that lasts from June to frost. Its fragrant foliage and deep blue color of the flowers attract butterflies and birds. It makes for an excellent planting choice to add to your garden border due to its unique characteristics.
Light & Temperature
Anise-scented sage requires full sun to partial shade to grow well. However, keep it under a sheltered, well-lit spot, preferably south-facing or west-facing. Avoid a north facing planting if possible. It’s a winter hardy plant that grows well in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10 and can tolerate heat.
Water & Humidity
This plant likes regular watering, preferably once or twice a week, especially during the summers. However, make sure to drain the soil completely. Whenever the top 2″ inches of the soil is dry, water it. The plants love a humid atmosphere and grow well in around 50% humidity.
They love rich, well-drained soil. Avoid poorly-drained soils as that can cause root rot. Go for sandy, chalky, and loamy soils with a slightly acidic pH of 5.5 – 6.5.
Only the container-grown plants require monthly fertilizer. In a garden, they require little fertilizer as an excess of it can reduce flower production.
- Prepare a pot with good drainage holes.
- Fill the pot with potting soil and lightly compact it. Make sure the pot is slightly bigger than the root ball by about 1″ inch.
- Dig out the plant and lightly prune off the root tips to make the root ball more manageable.
- Use a knife to split the roots into sections.
- Keep the segments evenly moist, not soggy.
- Carefully replant into the pot.
Potted plants can be placed in bright, cool locations during winter.
Blue anise sage can be propagated through softwood cuttings in spring or semi-ripe cuttings in mid summer. Make sure the stem or rhizomes are evenly moist but not overly hydrated as that can cause root rot. Plant them in early autumn in a cool, dark place, leaving a little soil around the root ball. When they grow, move them to a bright, warm spot.
Black and blue sage is simple to prune. Once it’s through flowering, simply cut off the stems all the way to the ground. Prune once or twice a year after the flowers have died or faded.
Salvia guaranitica is a low-maintenance type of plant. Let’s explore some common growing problems you may face while growing this plant.
If it’s grown in too much shade, the stems tend to elongate and fall over. Therefore, when you place them in your garden, always keep them in areas with full sun to partial shade. Over-watering can also cause root rot. Therefore, always make sure the soil is well-draining.
The leaves of Black and Blue sage are susceptible to whiteflies that can suck on the plant juices. Use strong insecticidal soaps, neem oil, and a jet of water to keep the whiteflies away from your plants in the garden. Otherwise, they’re a pest resistant plant.
These plants can also suffer from downy and powdery mildew due to poorly drained soils and high humidity. The best way to prevent this is by pruning and removing weeds to promote aeration and watering early in the morning so the plants can dry out during the day. Remove the infected plants and occasionally use a copper spray on the leaves during the wet months.
Q. Are Salvias invasive?
The Black and Blue cultivar is not invasive. However, Salvia aethiopis and Salvia sclarea are two invasive species, native to Washington.
Q. Will Blue Anise Sage grow in shade?
Yes, it can grow in partial shade. However, the plants need full sun for healthy root development.
Q. What are some other cultivars of Salvias that I can grow in my garden?
‘Argentina Skies’, ‘Blue Ensig’n, and ‘Costa Rica Blue’ can all grow well in mild climates. They produce deep blue, violet flowers just like Black and Blue Salvia.
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