Making More Salvias!

Even though the fall is upon us I'm still propagating my perennials. It's an addiction. One of my favorite genus of perennials is salvia. Trust me, you can never have too much salvia! The advantage I have this year is a usable frost free place to house them over the winter - (insert trumpet sound here) THE GARDEN SHED! That is once I get a plant shelf built. Yet another thing on my fall to do chore list.

Today I was able to pot up 11 new 'Caradonna' salvias and 5 new 'Blue Bedder' salvias. Both have been great performers in my garden. I have this crazy notion in my head of a slope garden covered in a swath of blue and purple colored salvias, combined with a backdrop of Russian sage and purple irises. I'll talk more about that later but aside from mulching the slope area prior to planting I don't plan on spending any money on plants - I can propagate what I need for that project.

After potting up the cuttings I took more and placed them in the same container. A few weeks ago I chopped my salvias down to the crown since they were looking ragged and dismal (from the lack of rain and excessive heat) and the plants are now nice and bushy again with material just perfect for cuttings. I wouldn't normally recommend taking cuttings of perennials at this time of year unless you have a way to extend their season far enough for them to grow an adequate root system. However I do recommend taking cuttings of your favorite annuals like coleus or even annual herbs like basil to overwinter for next year.

Propagating salvias is very easy. I take the cutting just above a node and leave two to four leaves and two nodes above the cut. I add dab of rooting hormone to the cut stem, stick it in moist sand, and wait two weeks. Of thirteen 'Caradonna' salvias 11 rooted, none died, and two were still green but did not have roots. I put the two rootless salvias back in the sand to see if they could possibly root in the next week or so. Of the seven 'Blue Bedder' salvias 1 died, two didn't root, and five successfully rooted. All in all I think I had a pretty good success rate.

This batch of cuttings was kept outdoors in a clear plastic container filled with sand. The container was actually a salad green container that I re-purposed for use as a propagating container.

Important Propagation tip: Make sure you clean any re-purposed containers before you use them just in case there are any potential contaminants.

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