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officinalis, also known as garden sage, is native to Spain.
This plant, best known for its uses in cooking, is best grown
in zones three through eight, and hardy in zone five. The salvia
officinalis blooms profusely for about three or four weeks in
mid to late spring. The salvia officinalis is one of the most
beautiful of all the salvias. It will, however, lose most of
its look after about three years, and should be replaced.
officinalis features leathery, gray green leaves on slightly
woody stems, and grows to two feet in height. The stems will
sometimes have trouble supporting the plant and may become
droopy. The attractive spikes of blue-purple flowers make
a lovely early season display. Starting the salvia officinalis
from seeds is easy to do, and should be started indoors six
to eight weeks before the last spring frost. Propagation can
also be done by division or taking cuttings from existing
are many different cultivars of salvia officinalis. One is
the salvia officinalis icterina, or golden garden sage. This
plant has green and gold irregularly variegated leaves. The
salvia officinalis purpurea, features dark purple new leaves
that turn a soft green with age. The salvia officinalis tricolor
has variegated cream, pink, and green leaves. All of the previously
mention salvias have the same characteristics of the general
salvia officinalis, but the golden and tricolor are a tad
less winter hardy.
officinalis should be planted in well-drained soil with full
sun. Cutting back old stems in spring will encourage strong
new growth to emerge. Every couple of years, the salvia officinalis
should be divided, to rejuvenate the old plants.