Salvia Divinorum is a psychedelic member of the sage family. Sages are a widespread plant that is extremely easy to grow. While salvia is trickier than some common sages, it’s not hard to grow your own salvia at home. Smokable Herbs took a look at the care and feeding for this fascinating plant and put together our guide on how to grow salvia.
Starting from Cutting
The best way to get started is with a cutting from another salvia plant. Salvia doesn’t produce seeds reliably, and any that you buy on the internet may be sterile even if they look healthy. We’ll go into how to start salvia from seed below, but you really increase your odds of being successful if you can find a cutting to get started with.
Once you have your cutting, you’ll need to induce it to root. Some cuttings may already be shipped to your door already rooted, but there’s a chance you’ll need to do this yourself. If you do, you’ll need a package of rooting hormone and some patience. Cut the stem on a 45-degree angle, dip the last inch of it in water, then dip it into rooting compound. Place the dusted cutting into a peat pot or loose, well-draining soil.
Starting from Seed
If you absolutely have to start your salvia plant from seed, there are a few tricks you can try in order to get a healthy plant. Sprinkle the seeds on a damp piece of paper towel, fold it over them, and put the whole thing in a plastic bag overnight. The seeds should sprout after only a day or two. Plant the tiny seedlings carefully, and cover their pot with plastic wrap in order to keep the moisture in. Punch a few holes in the plastic wrap to allow for airflow.
Tending Your Small Plant
Once it gets established, salvia divinorum grows like a weed. The only tricky part is getting it established. After you have a healthy plant that is putting on new, full-sized leaves — usually after 4 weeks or so — you can water the plant with 5-5-5 fertilizer. All-purpose fertilizers like Miracle-Gro 5-5-5 encourage healthy leaf and stem growth. This kind of growth is called foliar, and it’s the most important sort of growth for salvia.
Salvia will need light, preferably all day long if possible. A [easyazon_link identifier=”B010FMFZVG” locale=”US” tag=”freeonline012-20″]small fluorescent light[/easyazon_link] — either a T-5, LED, or a few CFLs — will give your plant the sort of light that it needs. In the wild, salvia prefers a bit of shade, so intense lighting is not needed for growing salvia indoors. Continue your regimen, giving the plant plenty of light and feeding it monthly, until your salvia plant is big and bushy.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to harvesting your plant. You can either harvest the whole thing at once, just leaving behind a few large leaves for the plant to regenerate from, or clip off salvia leaves as needed. Both methods work fine on large, well-established plants, and the method that you choose will have more to do with how you process your salvia than anything else.
If you plan on making your own extract, pick most of the plant at once. If you’re just going to smoke the leaves then it’s fine to just trim off what you need as you need it. Pruning the plant like this actually helps in the long run, and can make your salvia much larger and more hardy.
Aaron Phillips is a writer and journalist based in mid-Michigan. He has been writing for Smokable Herbs since January of 2014. Aaron has a long list of publications under his belt, and is currently working on a book series for Smokable Herbs. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook for updates.