Plant of the Month – July 2012

This month I’ve chosen a plant I’ve grown from seed and have nurtured to maturity with my own fairish hands.

Salvia sclarea (Clary Sage)

Salvia sclarea (Clary Sage)

Clary sage is a perennial to which the word statuesque might be applied if you were feeling like it. I have to admit to having forgotten quite how big it is before planting it where it is. I had forgotten it’s almost my height (5 foot) and two to three feet across so there may have to be some judicious re-jigging of this border come autumn time. The internet hoojamajit is telling me it’s biennial or short lived perennial but it’s always been perennial in my experience.

I’m growing it in our clay soil, improved by digging in organic matter. I would expect it to fail on anything heavier or more waterlogged but it should be fine or even better on drier and sandier soil. Having said that I would assume it would be more likely to be biennial and perhaps a bit smaller on less meaty soil!

The clump of large leaves is quite attractive in its own right earlier on in the season and the stems stick around for quite a while giving height to the border Although this season is so damp that I expect everything to collapse in a heap of grey mould sometime soon.

Salvia sclarea (Clary Sage)

Salvia sclarea (Clary Sage)

I grew these beauties from purchased seed and they didn’t need any special treatment. The whole plant has quite a strong almost ‘sweaty’ smell when bruised which can be a bit overpowering and which a lot of people find unpleasant. Their seed has the interesting property of producing a mucilage in water which was historically used to treat eye complaints, hence ‘Clary’ or ‘Cleareye’ sage and it appears in Culpeper’s Herbal under that name.

I can certainly say that putting this Salvia in my new border has played a major part in it having the feel of a fully grown border even in its first year. Hurrah for Salvia sclarea!

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9 responses to “Plant of the Month – July 2012

  1. Philippa Burrough

    Have also grown from seed this year but not got them into the borders – not enough space in this year of super growth in Essex. What a waste….One for the plant stall perhaps!

  2. Yes that’s nice. My yellow clay would probably finish it, though.

  3. With that fullness, I can see how that would be a great addition to the bed. Beautiful!

  4. That is very impressive indeed – quite a statement! I do like salvias…

  5. It’s for me if it does in clay!

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