Salvia looks sad

Asked June 19, 2018, 7:35 AM EDT

My neighbor asked me for advice on making her Salvia look not-so-sad. It's a little hard to see in the photo, but the leaves and flowers are starting to brown. It just looks like it's dying. She has other Salvia in her yard that looks fine although it doesn't look like it is the same type of Salvia. Some additional info: This Salvia was purchased (from a Master Gardener Plant Sale) and planted this Spring. She said she hasn't watered recently, but we did just go through a month of rain, right? I was concerned about the mulch around it, because it looks so "freshly made" (and thickly piled) and I know they make their own mulch by chipping dead limbs. She said that the mulch was "made" over a year ago, and allowed to sit for that time before they used it around plants. The only thing I could advise was to deadhead to allow the plant to put it's energy into the plant itself. If you could add some wisdom, I will pass it on.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

We agree that this Salvia (maybe 'Victoria blue') looks pretty stressed.
You gave her good advice. Those flower spikes are old and going to seed.
We also agree that the mulch looks troublesome- if not from freshness of chips- a year of aging should be enough- but also because it looks deep and is covering the crown of the plant, which keeps in moisture and can lead to rot.
She should pull it back from contact with the stems, and if it is any deeper than 2-3 inches, she should remove some.
How much sun does that area get? They'd like full sun, but will tolerate light shade.
Hopefully if things dry out it will recover, but we can't be sure.