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One of the showiest flowers you can find is the anise-scented sage to grow in gardens as it has loads of benefits.
The black and blue cultivar attracts different polliators, like bees to hummingbirds, while the cobalt blue flowers brighten up any plant’s outdoor living space.
Today we will help you care for this attractive perennial, whether you have container plants or a shrub in the landscaping.
More About Black and Blue Salvia
Salvia guaranitica Black and Blue is a well-known blue anise sage that has different common names:
Anise Scented Sage
Giant Blue Sage
The blue sage is ideal for a pollinator garden, borders, and container growing. It has beautiful flower spikes with pale green foliage and smells divine. The black and blue Salvia originates from Northern Argentina, Brazil, and Costa Rica.
The flower color changes to a cobalt blue hue, and you see them growing in their natural habitat along forest clearings to streams. It is a drought-tolerant perennial that has moisture-conserving rhizomes.
It grows as a tall shrub with dark stems and running rootstock with an anise scent. The blue flowers sit on a yellow-green calyx that is sometimes black. Furthermore, deep green leaves stand out with gorgeous flowers.
Each calyx during bloom time displays deep blue flowers from mid-summer to fall. The height of this plant reaches five feet tall, and the species belongs to the Salvia genus of the Lamiaceae family.
The fantastic thing about these plants is that they can be grown as an annual herbaceous perennial or biennial. The bloom time is long for the blue anise sage to last a long time and attract bees, birds, and butterflies.
Salvia Species Care
The black and blue sage is a low-maintenance plant growing in the right conditions. The black and blue Salvias are suitable for growing in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11. So, let’s dig in and see what your Salvia guaranitica needs to thrive.
Lighting Needs for Black Blue Salvia
To encourage the gorgeous blue flowers grown as an annual or herbaceous perennial, your black and blue Salvia needs full sunlight; if you do not grow your black and blue Salvia in a cottage garden but in a pot, you may need to provide artificial lighting.
For indoor plants, a room on the south side is best for receiving bright light, but you may still need to use a lamp. Yet, we recommend placing your plant away from windows if you see it receives too much light, as it will scorch those dark green leaves.
But place it closer to the window if you notice too much shade, as the plant tends to flop over with fewer flowers. You can give them full sun to partial shade in a garden setting. In areas where you get frost, it grows as a tender perennial and dies back when temperatures drop.
The Best Soil For Salvia Plants
Provide your anise-scented sage with rich soil with good drainage, allowing excess water to run away from the roots. Whether your black and blue Salvia is container or garden grown. Too much water results in root rot for the blue anise sage.
We recommend loamy, chalky, sandy soil with pH levels of 5.5 – 6.5 acidic. Some North Texas gardeners say that the Salvia guaranitica Black and Blue grows perfectly well in heavy clay soils that are amended with rotted compost and refreshed annually with more organic matter.
Watering Blue Anise Sage
The hummingbird sage enjoys regular watering as a young plant that still needs to establish itself. When you transplant your Brazilian sage, it helps to water twice a week during mid-summer.
Once the plant establishes its root system, it can go with little water. During hot days and drought, you may need to water more often, but if grown in high humidity, keep an eye on downy mildew.
The important thing, as mentioned before, is to provide your young plants with direct sunlight to part shade with excellent soil drainage.
Fertilizing Anise Scented Sage
When feeding your blue anise sage, container-grown plants benefit more from a slow-release fertilizer like Espoma Garden Tone used sparingly. You can use it around the plant base for added nutrition to keep your blue anise sage healthy.
But not too much fertilizer, as it can cause more harm than good. The leaves will turn yellow or look burnt. For ground plants, fertilizer is not needed if grown in rich soil. You can repot it if it gets too big for the receptacle grown as a pot plant.
but always choose one with drainage holes. To make it more manageable, you can fill the pot with potting soil and give your plant a light prune at the root tips. Then use a knife to split the roots into different sections and replant them in separate pots.
Keep the cuttings moist but not soggy.
Temperature and Humidity
The temperature around your plants must be between 65°F and 85°F and suitable if your type of Salvia has no flowers.
When flowering, a very high temperature can result in your plant dropping all the flowers. Hence, it should not get too hot or cold.
The humidity level should be around 50%. While the Salvia guaranitica loves a humid location but needs protection from colder climates and winds.
Grooming and Maintenance
To enhance your blue-black Salvia it helps to deadhead the flower spikes throughout the bloom cycle. Once your flowers complete blooming, you can remove spent flower spikes by cutting them back to the ground.
When done from early fall to late spring, it helps encourage more blooms. To control the height of your plant, you can cut it back shorter in early spring. Alternatively, you can leave the black calyces on your plant as it will develop dark green foliage on the woody stems. Thus, it helps to provide overwintering to keep the plant safe.
Luckily, when grown as a perennial, it returns every year in spring to become fully developed by late spring. It also helps to remove any diseased or dead leaves from branches throughout the seasons. You need not wait for the growing season to do this.
How to Propagate Your Guaranitica Black and Blue
Regarding propagation, it is just as simple as the black and blue care guide. The best way is to use softwood cuttings taken after the last spring frost or take semi-ripe cuttings in late spring.
Then plant them in early fall in a dark place with some soil around the root ball. Once they grow, you can move your cuttings to a bright warmer spot. You may even have success with taking cuttings in the fall to keep indoors during winter.
Then after the last frost, you can plant them in the garden to bloom in summer.
The Salvia guaranitica Black and Blue is a beautiful species, with its two-lipped flowers having an anise scent. But there are other popular varieties you can grow with your anise-scented sage.
The perennial is easy to grow and flowers from early to late summer. It can tolerate some drought, is an excellent choice for garden borders, and is native to North America. It thrives in full sun to part shade and grows up to three feet tall. It can be grown in USDA zones five to nine.
Red or Scarlet Salvia
Another popular Salvia variety is the scarlet sage, grown annually with its eye-catching red flowers. The bloom season is from spring to summer in full sun to partial shade, growing up to two feet tall.
‘Victoria Blue’ Salvia
The Salvia has long-lasting flowers that are great for floral cuttings and tolerates partial shade more than other plants.
Common Pests and Disease Problems
Salvia guaranitica is rarely affected by pests and diseases, but it can face some problems like most other plants. Luckily, the plants are deer-resistant. Nonetheless, you may find some growing problems when grown in too much shade. The stems grow elongated and start falling over.
Another concern is overwatering, leading to root rot, and best to grow your plant in well-drained soil. Also, it could die if you do not prune at the correct time and trim too much in the growing season of spring, late summer, and early fall.
Some pests that love Salvia guaranitica Black and Blue are whiteflies, spider mites, leafhoppers, and aphids. We recommend using an insecticidal soap or neem oil with a jet of water to remove these critters from your plant.
But if your anise-scented sage attracts pollinators, we recommend only using water. Common disease concerns are powdery mildew and downy resulting from poorly drained soil or high humidity. We recommend watering in the morning, allowing your plant to dry during the day.
Another concern is leaf spots, it helps to remove infected branches to dispose of them. A good product is a copper spray for treating your plant’s foliage during the wet months. Still, it can harm pollinators.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Salvia guaranitica Black and Blue is not invasive, but your Salvia sclarea and Salvia aethiopis are in some states.
The tender perennial you can plant with most other plants as long as the plants do not crowd each other‘s space.
Yes, you can, as it is non-toxic, but the scent has a more intense smell than the flavor. For this reason, it is best to grow culinary sages.