Fertilizing Salvia

Why should you fertilize salvia? When salvia is planted in pots or planters, naturally occurring nutrients may not be plentiful. In this case, occasional feeding may be required to help the plant’s foliage and blooms happy and healthy. If you’ve recently planted your salvia within the ground and provided a 50/50 ratio of compost and native soil, feeding may not yet be necessary. To determine if your newly planted salvia is in need of feeding, look for discolored leaves or fewer blooms.

The best way to feed your salvia is by removing any mulch and adding a 1” layer of compost. Replace the mulch and water thoroughly. Salvia is considered to be a light-feeder, so feeding as needed based on visual cues or annually will be sufficient! If your salvia is planted within the ground of your landscape, feeding may only be necessary if you suspect your plant isn’t thriving and you’ve determined it receives plenty of water.


How to Fertilize Salvia

Salvia plants love moderately acidic to slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 - 6.5. If you determine the pH isn’t quite right and your plant is already established within the ground, mix a small amount of compost and potting soil in a bucket. Measure your soil mix pH with a pH meter and add acidic or alkaline amendments in small amounts to the bucket according to the pH measurements until you reach the recommended 5.5 - 6.5 pH.

If you’ve already determined that the pH is correct when you planted your salvia, annual or as needed feeding will help produce the best foliage and blooms. To do this, remove existing mulch and place aged compost in a 1” layer on top of the root base of your salvia. Replace the mulch and water thoroughly.

Best Time To Fertilize Salvia

In early to mid spring, observe the leaves, stems and flowers/flower buds. If the foliage or blooms seem to lack in bright or bold color, this is the best time to feed your salvia. It may not be necessary to feed your salvia plant(s) often, if at all! The beauty of planting salvia is the low-maintenance required.

Using visual cues will provide all of the information needed to determine if your salvia could use a boost in nutrients. Remember that potted salvia plants tend to lack the necessary nutrients that naturally occur within the ground and will benefit from occasional feeding.

Best Fertilizer For Salvia

Salvia plants are light-feeders and do not require many additional additives to boost growth and quality blooms. Aged compost will provide all of the necessary nutrients that will help your salvia thrive. Whether the aged compost comes from your own compost pile or bagged from your local garden center, salvia plants aren’t picky. You can also apply a generic plant fertilizer to help the plants grow as well, although it isn't necessary it can be beneficial.

Salvia Fertilizing Tips

  • When first planting salvia, create a 50/50 mix of compost and native soil.
  • Feed as needed based on visual cues: foliage or blooms lacking in bright or bold color.
  • Lay a 1” layer of aged compost on top of the root base after removing existing mulch.
  • Replace mulch.
  • Water thoroughly.


-Always wear protective gloves and a face mask when handling chemical fertilizers.

-Closely follow all directions and storage guidelines that are on the fertilizer label.

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Author Chris Link - Published 03-07-2022