Salvia divinorum is a naturally occurring hallucinogen, native to Mexico. Mazatec Indians have used salvia for centuries for spiritual divination, shamanism, and medical practices. Shamans brew a tea from the leaves and drink the vision-inducing mixture during religious ceremonies. The Mazatec also roll fresh salvia leaves into a cigar-like “quid.” They suck or chew the quid without swallowing, and so they absorb the drug from the mouth lining into the bloodstream. The plant is a member of the sage family.
We have high expectations our plants, and while some results may vary, salvias very rarely disappoint.
If it’s bold, vibrant colour you are after, coupled with a tough disposition, then these beauties are your answer. Out of the large Salvia family, three members are particularly noteworthy for the summer garden – Salvia splendens, S. farinacea and S. coccinea.
Salvia farinacea has attractive bluish green leaves and deep blue flower spikes that grace the garden all summer long, right up until the first frost in autumn. Blue sage looks stunning in a mass planted bed or when used as a specimen plant on a patio. Though drought tolerant once established, it does prefer moist, but not water logged soil. Fortunately it is not prone to damage by snails and slugs and is fairly self-sufficient except in extreme weather conditions.
Salvia coccinea perform at their best in rich, well-drained soils. Don’t confuse this species with the popular bedding plant, Salvia splendens which is also known as scarlet sage. They do best in full sun, but will tolerate some intermittent shade. A good waterwise choice, but remember that flowering suffers without supplemental watering during dry spells.
Salvia splendens; commonly known as scarlet sage or rooi-salie, also come in shades of red, purple, pink, cream, white and blue. Not only are they easy to grow, with their showy flowers and deep green leaves, they make an ideal addition to the summer garden.