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Salvia sclarea

Phonetic Spelling
SAL-vee-ah sklah-RAY-ah
Description

Clary sage is a biennial or short-lived herbaceous perennial in the Lamiaceae (mint) family native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe to central Asia. The name Salvia is derived from the Latin term salveo, which means ‘be well’ and refers to the plant's medicinal properties.

This easy to grow plant reaches 2 to 5 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide.  Plant in average, well-drained soils in full sun, and does well in light, gravelly, dry or sandy soils. Wet soil in winter should be avoided. It is drought-tolerant. Rich, excessively fertilized soils produce tall plants with few flowers. Propagate clary sage by seed.

The seeds have been used medicinally to reduce inflammation of the eye, and the fragrant leaves are edible and used as flavoring in food, beer, wine and oils. The flowers are fragrant, showy white-lavender blooms that appear from June to August. 

Use clary sage in edible, herb, butterfly, pollinator, and cottage gardens. It is also good planted as a border or in small groups in a naturalized area.  Clary sage is resistant to browsing by deer and rabbits and quite drought tolerant.

Insect, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

More information on Salvia.

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Tags:
#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#edible plant#pink flowers#nectar plant#medicinal#rabbit resistant#cpp#well-drained soil#neutral pH#deer resistant#lavender flowers#Mediterranean#border planting#self-seeding#alkaline soils tolerant#pollinator plant#small group plantings#sandy soils tolerant#rocky soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#wet soils intolerant#wildlife friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#edible plant#pink flowers#nectar plant#medicinal#rabbit resistant#cpp#well-drained soil#neutral pH#deer resistant#lavender flowers#Mediterranean#border planting#self-seeding#alkaline soils tolerant#pollinator plant#small group plantings#sandy soils tolerant#rocky soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#wet soils intolerant#wildlife friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Salvia
    Species:
    sclarea
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Seeds used to clear the sight and reduce inflammation of the eye. The plant has also been used for its antispasmodic, astringent, properties and to reduce flatulence.
    Life Cycle:
    Biennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mediterranean region of southern Europe to Central Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract native bees and butterflies. This plant is resistant to damage by deer.
    Edibility:
    Leaves are delicious in omelets, fritters, and stews; flavoring of beers and wines; oil.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Herb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Mounding
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Cream/Tan
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Two-lipped white to lavender flowers surrounded by mauve-pink bracts, large whorls of 4 to 6 flowers in upright panicles above the foliage.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Velvety
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Basal rosette of fragrant grey-green wrinkled leaves
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Leaf Scar Shape:
    C-shaped, Cresent shaped
    Stem Lenticels:
    Not Conspicuous
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Rabbits