Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica -(Clary Sage)
This is an easily grown plant which is tough and beautiful at the same time. It is worth a place in the mixed border.
Clary sage has been grown for centuries. It has been used for : flavouring for wines, an oil for perfumes, potpourri and incense and medicinally for stomach illnesses.
It is a bone hardy plant which needs no care whatsoever and is beautiful to boot.
It likes well-drained soil in sun or even partial shade. It grows well in poor soil and resists slugs and snails. It grows in full sun, with almost no water, and the large, grey-green leaves remain attractive all season long.
Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica is a wonderfully architectural plant with branched stems, each stem bears masses of pale blue, white, cream, pink/rose, purple/lavender, or darker blue blossoms and large pinkish white bracts.
The flowers stand above the large, aromatic, mid-green leaves, which can grow up to 23cm long. Bees and butterflies are attracted to the flowers which must be full of nectar.
It is a short lived plant, being essentially a biennial, but will self seed, sometimes to excess, so weed out those seeds you don’t want , but be sure to save some as this plant is too beautiful to lose altogether.
Deadhead if you do not want it to self-seed. If you wish to collect seed allow the heads to become dry and brown before cutting
Sow indoors in late winter and early spring. Surface sow onto seed compost. Needs light to germinate. Ideal temp. 15-20°C. Keep moist but watch out for damping off. Germination 7-21 days. Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle to 8cm pots. When well rooted plant out in autumn or spring with 30cm spacing.
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