A large genus of plants of which few are used by the florist. S. splendens is one of our showiest flowering plants. There are now several varieties or forms of it. It is used as a mass where brilliant colors are wanted. The plants are often rather late in flowering, especially in wet seasons, and should not be planted in too rich a soil or you will get a large growth with late flowering, so procure a strain that grows compactly and is early to flower.
Lifted before frost and potted, they make showy plants for a month or two, and we often find their flowers useful.
They are easily raised from seed, and there is now a hybrid strain that contains various colors, and is said to be early and free, flowering.
A few plants lifted, and cut back after New Year's, will give you an abundance of cuttings that will make fine plants for bedding out. The salvia is troubled with aphis and if in a warm, dry house and not syringed will soon become attacked by red spider. It should never be kept over 50 degrees. It grows so fast and strong that it is best to put off propagating till March.
This common plant has become very popular of late, and deservedly popular. It is out of place in any formal flower gardening, but what is more beautiful than a mass in front of shrubbery or in a border against a wall or house? The bright scarlet blossoms have a warmth and gaiety in keeping with the scarlet and orange tints of our sumachs, maples and oaks, and has a most pleasing effect after autumn's first chills have shrivelled the coleus and other exotic plants. Grow lots of it.
S. patens we have not seen grown here, but in the gardens of Europe it is much used. It has very much the same habit as splendens, with erect spike, and the flower is slightly larger; the color is of the most beautiful blue of any flower that grows. Propagate by cuttings same as S. splendens.
Salvia officinalis, the variegated form of this, the common sage, is used in carpet and other flower-garden designs. The coloring is not bright, but very pleasing. Lift a few plants when the flower garden is dismantled and in January shorten back the shoots. You will soon get any amount of cuttings that root most easily. And when in 2-inch or 2 1/2 -inch pots there is no place to make nice little plants like the hotbed. It is almost or quite hardy.