© RHS / Fiona Lea



Common name: Sage

Salvias offer a wealth of colour late in the growing season, with their upright spikes of jewel-toned flowers. The genus includes annuals and perennials, both hardy and tender, as well as the popular herb sage (Salvia officinalis).


Flowers are tubular, opening to a distinctive upper and lower lip. They are borne on dense flower spikes or more sparsely on wiry stems. Plants vary in size from compact (20cm) bedding types to tall (2m) border types and most have aromatic leaves.


Garden salvias mainly originate from the Mediterranean and the Americas so like light, free-draining soil and a sunny position.


Salvias dislike wet, heavy soils and will grow and flower poorly in shade.

Did you know?

Salvia is an RHS Plant for Pollinators; the flowers of the herb sage are particularly popular with bees.

Growing guide

Browse salvias

Bedding salvias

Tender salvias

Annual and biennial salvias

Culinary salvias

Long-lived border salvias

Salvias we recommend

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Related advice

Perennial borders: choosing plants

Perennial borders: choosing plants

Perennials: cutting back

Perennials: cutting back

Perennials: planting

Perennials: planting

Salvia cuttings

Salvia cuttings

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