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The sage flower

SALVIA SPLENDENS (Labiatae) is called sage flower and is a native of South America. An ideal potted plant, it grows to about 30-90 cm tall. Its leaves are small to large, and are green and pointed at the tips. The flowers are bi-lipped and are white pale yellow, blue purple or scarlet. Salvia Splendens is red while Salvia Patens is blue. The blooms are produced in spikes.

The plant is commonly propagated by seeds and cuttings. The seeds germinate in about 10 days after sowing.

The seedlings are transplanted when nearly six weeks old in lines at a spacing of 10 by 10 cm for the dwarf variety and 20 by 20 cm for the tall variety. For perennial plants, cuttings may be planted in situ or in a nursery and later transplanted in spring or summer. There are several varieties. The dwarf ones are "Hussara", "Hotshot", "Scarlet pygmy", "St.John's fire" and "Blaze of fire". The tall varieties are "Scarlet cream" and "Crimson king". Salvia Coceinea is commonly grown in South India.

R. KUMARAVEL
S. MUTHURAMALINGAM
V. VELU

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