How to propagate and grow Salvia divinorum

Salvia divinorum is a relatively easy plant to propagate. Small cuttings will usually root within two or three weeks. Cuttings seem to root best when they are between two and eight inches long. They should be cut off of the mother plant using sharp, clean shears. The cut should be made just bellow a node.

To root the cuttings in water: Put each cutting into a glass of water. Each glass should be filled about 4 -5 cm (1 1/2 - 2") deep. It is a good idea to use a separate glass for each cutting so that if one starts to rot it doesnít spoil the water and kill the others. Leave the glasses indoors in diffuse light and add a little water as necessary to maintain the water level. In about two weeks you should see some roots starting to form. Some cuttings may root more quickly than others. I find that they root just fine in plain water and no rooting hormones are necessary.

When the cuttings have several roots 1 - 2 cm (1/4 - 3/4")long, they should be planted in pots of loose potting soil and watered well so that the soil is completely moist. Keep them indoors for another two or three weeks so that they can establish a good root system in the pots with out having to deal with the wind and big temperature swings of the outdoors. You will need to keep the plants in a moist environment for a few days after moving them from the water to the pots to keep them from wilting. The easiest thing to do is to just cover the whole plant with a large upside down jar or use a big plastic bag with a wire cage support to keep it from collapsing on the plant. Spraying them with a fine mist occasionally is also a good idea. Donít wait too long to move the cuttings from the water to soil. If you do the roots will be more prone to damage and the cuttings will begin to starve for nutrients.

After the plants have been in the pots for a month and seem to be established you should give them regular light applications of fertilizer. Just about any general purpose fertilizer will work fine but donít over feed them. They respond well to regular feeding but they seem sensitive to excess fertilizer and will put out deformed growth if over fed.

The plants appreciate a lot of room for their roots so they should be re-potted to larger pots every few months if they are growing quickly. They grow best in light shade with no more than three or four hours of direct morning or afternoon sun. They do not like any strong direct light. On the other hand they do not do well in deep shade either. You may want to plant them in the ground if you have a suitable location. They can grow very fast in the ground, as much as two meters in six months.

The stems of Salvia divinorum are not very strong, when the plant gets taller than about one meter tall it will fall over if not given support. Sometimes the stem will break off, but usually it will just bend over and if the bent over stem is in good contact with moist soil it will quickly root and eventually send up new stems from the new location. This is the main way that the plant spreads in the wild since it almost never produces viable seed.

The ideal temperature range for the plant is about 15 - 27C (60 - 80F). They will readily tolerate temperatures about 10C (18F) above and below this range but the plants tend to grow slowly outside of their ideal temperature range. It also prefers a fairly moist atmosphere and will be happiest when the relative humidity is above 50%. Dry air tends to cause the plant to put out deformed growth.

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