Gentian Sage
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: E. Williams
Posted: Before April 1998

Last summer I picked up a plant at a herb farm near Victoria, BC. It is Gentian Sage (Salvia patens) and has lovely blue flowers, though the leaves are a little insipid. It grows to about 2 feet. I can’t find information on its propagation, care and hardiness anywhere. I am nursing it along indoors this winter, but I would love to have it in the garden or at least out in a container for the summer, and I definitely don’t want to kill it. I don’t see it in your catalogue, and I wonder if you can help me. I live in Uxbridge, Ontario, so I’m in the same zone as you.

Gentian sage is one of over 750 species of Salvia. It does not have any medicinal or culinary use as far as we know so its appeal is mainly ornamental. It is a native of mountainous regions of Mexico. One source says that it grows 30-100 cm high and another says it is a climber. As we have never grown the plant we cannot confirm which is true.

We have no information on its hardiness, but based on our experience with other sages from tropical and subtropical areas, it is likely to be hardy in zones 8-10 and so it is tender in our area. To propagate it we expect that cuttings will work. All species of Salvia we have grown can be propagated by cuttings.

For now provide as much light as you can. Most sages benefit from plenty of light – at least four hours of direct sunshine daily. If you can supplement with artificial light during the winter that would be helpful.

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