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Salvia uliginosa ‘Bog Sage’
Botanical Name: Salvia uliginosa
Salvia uliginosa is a large, herbaceous perennial that reaches 1 to 1.5 meters high and 50cm to 1 meter wide, although in ideal conditions it may grow larger. This salvia also has a spreading and clumping habit, due to its stoloniferous root system. The 2.5 cm long leaves are green-yellow, lance shaped, aromatic and slightly sticky. The plant has a branching structure and the height is extended by the slender, purple toned floral spikes. The indigo blue flowers are held in whorls, surrounded by small green bracts that darken to purple as the flowers open. The 2 lipped flowers have a white bee-line leading into the tubular part of the corolla. The large lower lobes of the flower are blue on the inner and upper surface, but a paler white-blue on the tubular part of the flower. Flowering is from late summer into autumn.
Salvia uliginosa is somewhat undermined by its common name. ‘Bog Sage’ is a reference to its love of growing in damp conditions in the wild state. However, the plant itself and the floral display are quite delicate and beautiful. This salvia was introduced to the nursery industry in 1912 and may also be called ‘Blue Spike Sage’. However, it was first described in 1833 by botanist George Bentham and named for the Latin word ‘ulignos’ meaning damp, marshy and wet. It grows naturally in the boggy ground of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil and may become invasive in moist areas.
The salvia family has over 900 members with an extensive history as culinary, medicinal and ornamental plants. Ornamental salvias have become collectors items, as gardeners try to find a place in their garden for each and every one. There are salvias that will suit every type of soil and climate. More information on the Salvia genus and Common Sage (Salvia officinalis) may be found on our Common Sage page.
Savlia uliginosa prefers part shade, although full sun is tolerated in all but the hottest, dry positions. Afternoon shade may be preferable in very warm and dry climates. Despite this salvia being named for its love of moisture, it does very well in dry conditions. The drier conditions will also help control the spread of the plant’s roots. S.uglinosa loves water, but is tolerant of a wide range of moisture levels and soil types. It is also able to grow in very hot and cold conditions, with some frost tolerance. It will grow well in warm arid climates, temperate regions and in to the sub tropics. It is robust and fast growing, versatile and is a highly recommended plant for beginners. S.uglinosa or ‘Bog Sage’ is easily propagated by division due to the clumping nature of the plant and its spreading root system.
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