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Advice Needed - Salvia Problem - Yellow Leaves & Spotted Flowers

I have two Slavias growing in clay pots, about years old. They were fertilised with Growchar 2 months ago and have now started to appear sick. Last year I fertilised them with Growchar they were happy all summer long. The overall deep green colour from spring has turned into a yellow-ish one and the leaves are turning yellow from the bottom of the plant and dropping. One of them has red veins on the yellow leaves, the other one is just yellow. I thought it might be a nutritional deficiency a fed them a "slow-release source of primary macro nutrients (NPK 3:2:3)" two days ago. Today they developed spots on the flowers. Can somebody please advise me on what is wrong with them and what else I can do to save them?


  • jucati1198jucati1198 Posts: 56
    Here are some pictures

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,957
    Bumping this up in the hope that someone can advise. 
    Possibly overwatering or not enough sun are my guesses, but hopefully a salvia expert can help.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,398
    edited June 2019
    Welcome to the forum. Salvias do like full sun but also apparently quite poor soil - gritty and gravelly. I don't fertilise mine. If you don't have good enough drainage you may be rotting the roots. Also make sure that your pot doesn't have a saucer, so that the water can run right away. I daresay the plants will be fine if you back off. You have lots of happy looking new growth. Maybe try a sunnier spot.
  • floraliesfloralies Posts: 2,528
    I agree with fire, Salvias don't need much feed, you need to treat them a bit mean! some of my Salvias don't like the hot afternoon sun so prefer dappled shade, but that may apply more to to me down here in France.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,637
    The spots on the flowers look like damage from heavy rain or hail.  Yellowing and loss of some of the lower leaves from the woody lower growth is normal (mine do it anyway). They're sub-shrubs so will develop a woody framework of branches over time, if not pruned or cut back by frost/cold). As long as there are new leaves and shoots forming, they're fine.  Do check that the drainage holes aren't blocked though - they don't like wet feet.

    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • LynLyn Posts: 22,887
    What size pot do you have this in, Salvias like to spread their feet out, better planted in the garden, I think that’s why the leave are yellow. 
    Clay pots dry out extremely quickly the water soaks into them leaving the compost dry,  so be vigilant with the watering, check every day. 
    I didn’t know about liking dry, it’s usually forever raining here, and my soil is very rich. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    Good advice already. Yellow leaves will happen throughout the year. It's natural some leaves will die. From your photos, it does not look too bad at all. If in a pot, half John Innes No 2 and half multi-purpose compost with added grit to create a free draining growing medium. Feeding may help, but not essential. If grown in the ground, definitely, no need to feed. They will do fine even in semi shaded spot. Extreme heat, especially in afternoon sun, they may wilt and flowers dry out, so semi shaded position is fine for them.
  • jucati1198jucati1198 Posts: 56
    Thank you all for the advice! Both Salvias are in a clay pot that looks reasonable size for them, stones for drainage at the bottom, no saucer. They are in the same pot as last year. Last year they had the same height but looked at least twice as bushy and had a healthy deep green foliage and 3 times more flowers. Looking closer, you can see on the picture below that the Salvia leaves look yellow compared to the two healthy plants on both sides (Sage & Lavender). Because a few months ago they looked super bushy and healthy green I am certain that there is something stressing them. I water them in the same way as last year, they are very thirsty - in hot weather, I water them every evening, by next eve they are completely dry again. When it's not hot, I reduce the watering until they dry up a bit, so they don't get waterlogged. Their roots should be healthy.
    Now the only difference this year is the location - they are standing on a south-facing decking which has 3 walls. So one of them has direct sun almost all day, 8am to 4pm. The other one is under a tree and gets sun 1pm - 6pm. My understanding is they need at least 6 hours direct sun a day and it was rather cloudy here all June. So I'm not sure why the sun would be an issue. My neighbors have the same Salvia in a similar position and it looks happy. 
    I'm thankful for any further advice. Maybe replanting into larger pots? Could it be a disease? The apple tree and a prunus next to them both have leaf blotch. I'm hesitant planting them out as there is a fungal issue going on in our soil attacking woody plants that I'm trying to fight off. 
  • jucati1198jucati1198 Posts: 56

    Sorry for the mess in the corner :) That's me cleaning off the fallen leaves. 
  • LynLyn Posts: 22,887
    If you can find a pot at least twice that size it may be happier,  would be much better in the ground though. Clay pots just soak up any water you put in so you need to water more often if using them. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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