Salvia columbariae is a little stunner of a Sage.
Vivid flowers & seeds to make Chia Tea
With masses of deep, rich blue flowers clasped in showy deep wine-purple calyces over spring and summer.
Then followed by the seeds to make that wildly popular drink, Chia Tea.
It is a profuse bloomer, and creates a mist of rich blue-purple flower globes, and a cloud of sweet fragrance. The foliage is also aromatic.
Plus of course a host of seeds to harvest for Chia Tea.
Drought & heat hardy plus very water-wise
Salvia columbariae is a native of desert areas in the American West, from Utah to New Mexico.
So it is well used to coping with torrid, hot and dry summers and minimal water, as well as harsh winter frosts.
It loves the sun, basks in hot places, and likes nothing better than sandy and rocky soils, as well as the seaside.
Though strangely enough for such a drought tolerant desert plant, it also takes well to clay soil.
And also ignores summer humidity combined with heat, as well as summer rain.
This is a Sage made in heaven.
Traditional Native American food
The native American Tribes of the Wild West highly valued Chia Sage as food.
They were well aware of the beneficial health effects of the oil-rich little seeds, with their high Omega 3 content.
So they would gather the seeds in the autumn and grind them up to a flour to make a health giving winter porridge.
And use the leaves as a tea tonic.
Adored by birds, bees & butterflies
Our feathered and flying friends just adore the nectar rich blooms on Salvia columbariae.
So it is an enchanting sight to see our honey-eating native birds frolicking amongst the massed flowers as the bees are a-buzzing.
While seed eating birds like Finches are delighted to feast on the tiny Chia seeds later in autumn – so do leave them some.
Bunnies & deer are not so keen
Though birds, bees and butterflies cant get enough of the nectar rich flowers, fortunately rabbits and deer find the taste of the aromatic foliage unappealing.
Cut armloads of flowers
Chia Sage also provides excellent cut flowers for vases.
With the deep, royal purple calyces lasting for ages, even when the rich blue flowers have gone.
They also dry well if hung upside down in bunches in a dry, dark place.
Leave it to do its own thing
Salvia columbariae is a self-seeding annual Sage.
It will reliably seed itself into the garden each year, to provide plenty of new plants, as long as you leave a head or two to go to seed each autumn.
It is not hard to weed out if it volunteers in the wrong place.
And it loves nothing better than seeding itself into gravel.
Chia Sage is the ultimate low maintenance plant.
SEED SOWING ADVICE: QUICK & EASY
Sow seed for Salvia columbariae at any time of year in a punnet indoors / or scatter directly in garden in spring & early summer.
INDOORS: Sow seed in punnets on the surface of good quality seed raising mix.
Adding some extra fine sand can be a help.
Now press the seeds gently onto the surface of the mix to ensure good contact.
But don’t cover the seed with mix, because light is needed for best germination.
Continue to keep the mix moist, in a warm, well-lit place (but not in direct sun).
Temperatures of approximately 18-22°C are best for rapid and optimum germination rate.
Seedlings emerge in approx. 10-14 days.
However if you find the seeds are shy to germinate – Salvia columbariae seeds have been found to respond well to the action of wood smoke.
So water the seed punnet with “smoked water” (available as an additive from good garden centres).
Or make your own smoked water by draining water through fresh wood charcoal and using this to water the seedling punnet.
SEED COUNT: 100 seeds per pack approx.
(We always aim to exceed the stated seed count, and give a generous serve).
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