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How To Grow Salvia Divinorum: A Rough Guide

By John Clarke

Green Fingers

Buying Your Plant

The most expens­ive part of growing Salvia Divinorum on a organ­ic/semi-organic basis is actu­ally buying a cutting or whole plant. I managed to get my plant for £12 includ­ing postage and pack­aging. After this follows compost and a suit­able size pot.

There are many places to find salvia plants/​cuttings, not only at local plant nurs­er­ies, but all over the inter­net; there’s at least one salvia plant on ebay at any one time. It’s worth noting that prices can vary sig­ni­fic­antly with little vari­ation in quality, so make sure you shop around.

Try and buy a plant locally if you can. If not, def­in­itely buy from a website based in your home country to min­im­ise the time it spends in an envel­ope.

Growing A Cutting

When your cutting arrives, remove it from it’s pack­aging extremely care­fully and let it sit in luke warm water. Assum­ing your cutting already has roots, leave it in the water for a couple of hours. If no roots are present, leave it in the water for a week or so until there’s enough root growth present to allow for potting.

After it’s sat in water for a while, it’s time to plant it. You’ll need a pot at least 20 – 30cm wide to allow your cutting to grow without having to be repot­ted every couple of months. The first thing to do is place some gravel or broken crock­ery into your pot up to about 5cm from the bottom. This thin layer allows for super­ior drain­age after water­ing. After that, fill the pot up with your loam based compost avail­able from any garden­ing store and dig a little hole in the centre where your plant will sit. Next, take your cutting, splay out the roots gently with your fingers and place the cutting into the hole you provided. Back­fill the hole with more compost and com­press down lightly around the stem of your plant.

Trav­el­ling through the mys­ter­ies of the postal service and being stuck in some soil is thirsty work for a plant. Imagine you have been slaving away all day in the blis­ter­ing sun, doing vast quant­it­ies of manual labour. How badly are you gagging for a pint at your local? This is how your plant is feeling right now. Although your plant needs a drink, don’t feel obliged to buy it any peanuts. Now your plant is potted, give it enough water so that excess water will drip from the bottom of the pot.

From here, I advise you to put the plant in a humid envir­on­ment, at least at first, to promote healthy growth. Just like a fat kid loves cake, Salvia Divinorum loves indir­ect sun­light. This can be any­where such as a light room with no direct sun blazing down on it all day, or even dir­ectly in the sun, but behind a net curtain. Provided your plant is not exposed to too much direct sun­light, it will do all right.

Leave it a few weeks and your cutting will start turning into a fully-fledged plant. Keep an eye on the compost, making sure it doesn’t dry up. Water once a week in summer and once every two weeks in winter. Just be careful to never over water your plant, or root rot could set in.

Growing & Maintaining A Plant

Growing an estab­lished plant is almost the same as growing a cutting. Salvia Divinorum can be very flex­ible about its growing con­di­tions, but a quick change in con­di­tions will most likely piss your plant right off. You have to con­sider that your plant has already been growing for prob­ably quite some time in certain con­di­tions, which it is now used to. These includes, but is not limited to, dif­fer­ent light levels, compost, humid­ity, etc so it is very import­ant to find out as much as you can about these con­di­tions from the plant’s pre­vi­ous owner, then try to match those con­di­tions as best you can. Once the plant has been repot­ted and is begin­ning to settle into it’s new envir­on­ment, then you can slightly alter it’s envir­on­ment a little each day until you have it growing in con­di­tions easy for you to main­tain.

The growth of the plant at first will be slow. Remem­ber, it’s been shoved in an envel­ope for a few days with no light, so it’ll need to recover from that trau­matic exper­i­ence before it will even think about new growth. This can take up to around 2 weeks before any pro­gress can be seen.

Look out for the leaves and edges of the plant turning brown, this means it is NOT in the right con­di­tions. There are many things it could want, but chances are it’s some­thing to do with humid­ity. Try misting the leaves if your envir­on­ment is not very humid, or con­sider build­ing a humid­ity tent or moving the plant into the bath­room, where people use the shower fre­quently. The stem, and pos­sibly the leaves should return to normal in a couple of weeks. If not, cut the leaves off at the stem to facil­it­ate new growth.

Some­times the leaves might turn a yel­low­ish colour. Never fear, it just means your plant could do with some more sun. This could be because other leaves on the plant are block­ing out light, in which case, feel free to remove those other leaves and do with them what you will.

If your plant is wilting, it simply means it could do with more water. And if it’s bent, try rotat­ing the pot 180 degrees. Plants will grow towards the sun, which could be causing the bowing in the stem.

Miscellaneous Tips

Auto­matic Water­ing — One method for ensur­ing your plant always has enough water is by setting up a low main­ten­ance auto­matic water­ing system. You’ll need some organic rope (NOT plastic), a drill and a tray. Firstly drill two holes near the base of your pot in the side and push your rope into one side and out the other. Make sure there is plenty of slack inside the pot. The next step is to pot your plant or cutting as described above, only this time, wrap the slack from the rope around the root system of your plant before you pack it out with soil. You should now have one plant in its pot with two bits of rope hanging down from either side. Finally, place a couple of bricks, a lump of wood, or some other object into your tray and fill the tray up with water. Place your pot onto the bricks, wood, or whatever and allow the two pieces of rope to dangle into the water. This will auto­mat­ic­ally deliver enough water to the plant all the time.

Pinch­ing — Pinch­ing is a method to promote bush­i­ness and outward growth in your plants instead of growing too tall. At the tip of each branch, there is a section called the apical mer­istem. This is where all the new growth comes from and is respons­ible for reg­u­lat­ing a plant hormone called indole-3-acetic acid (IAA). This hormone pro­motes the growth of the main stem and inhib­its side­ways growth from nodes along the stem. If this hormone weren’t present in the plant, it would grow out­wards instead of upwards, so it follows that if you remove the apical mer­istem, this hormone will no longer be pro­duced and your plant will bush out instead of grow tall.

When your plant has reached the desired height, cutting off the top of the main stem with a clean sharp pair of scis­sors will safely stop the plant from growing taller, while max­im­ising leaf output.


21 Responses to How To Grow Salvia Divinorum: A Rough Guide

  1. jack says:

    ebay has recently changed its policy on Salvia divinorum products and now reg­u­larly cancels all auc­tions for any SD products (no matter how they are mar­keted). pre­vi­ously, ebay would cancel spe­cific SD auc­tions in response to spe­cific com­plaints.
    ebay seem to have adopted this new (blanket) ban on all their inter­na­tional sites. however, look hard and you will find some auc­tions manage to stay below ebay’s radar.
    Salviaon​line​.co​.uk and All​salvia​.co​.uk are also reli­able sellers of live plants in my exper­i­ence.

  2. Synchronium says:

    Good call, Jack. This is the last of the art­icles I was shift­ing over from Coffeesh0p. I wrote it a while ago when Ebay still allowed salvia auc­tions.

    Salvia­Source and BotSwap are also good places to get plants.

  3. Sarah says:

    I’m con­fused! Is this plant ‘Salvia’ an altern­at­ive to Can­nabis? Is it legal and if ebay won’t sell it why? Are there health risks or some­thing? I only came on this site to find a recipe for hash brownies to deter my son from smoking, but I’m more con­fused than ever. I’ve no problem growing plants being a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist, just not up on drugs! I thought Salvia was Sage, to put in stuff­ing, didn’t know you could smoke it or get any kind of high on it! Help! 🙂

  4. Synchronium says:

    Sarah: The word Salvia refers to the Sage genus of plants, includ­ing the Salvia offi­cinalis species that you put in your stuff­ing. This genus also con­tains many more species though, includ­ing Salvia divinorum. Here’s a link to the Salviaa genus wiki­pe­dia article so you can get an idea for how many other members of this genus there are.

    Salvia divinorum is psy­cho­act­ive, but it is cer­tainly no altern­at­ive to can­nabis (or LSD for that matter). For a bit more inform­a­tion on Salvia divinorum itself you might like to read “What is Salvia?” (includ­ing an hour long doc­u­ment­ary) or have a look at a present­a­tion I gave on it recently. You can also read loads of Salvia divinorum exper­i­ence reports on Salvia Trip to give you a better idea of just how unique this plant is.

    As for ebay, who knows why they banned it. Salvia divinorum is illegal in a few coun­tries and a few states in the US, so that might be the reason. This guy got into some hot water with the dried leaf he bought from ebay, so that might have con­trib­uted to their decision too.

  5. Mike says:

    SO it is not illeagal„„ where can I find the seeds for this plant?? No I am not a sceemer to mass produce for tons of money„„, I have a green thumb and I like to know where it came from before i put it in my body„„,

  6. Synchronium says:

    Salvia divinorum seeds are notori­ously hard to come by and almost never ger­min­ate. You’d have much more luck search­ing for a cutting.

  7. jack says:

    it isn’t hard to find cuttings/​established plants for sale on uk web­sites. also, check ebay. you’ll see how determ­ined sellers are man­aging to stay within ebay’s guidelines.

  8. rusty says:

    i recieved some salvia cut­tings and planted them 3 days ago.the leaves on the plants dried up,so they look like three green stocks.will these con­tinue to grow without any leaves

  9. shaman says:

    Salvia is a very easy plant to grow,the bigger the plant the faster it will grow, I sell Salvia live well rooted plants in the U.K only,so if you want any help,hints or tips on growing Salvia in the U.K please contact me via my website, so if you want to buy plants or help with ones you have just drop me a line.

  10. peter says:

    i have never tried salvia before but i’m inter­ested in growing it just to see if it’s any good where could i get cutting’s from and is it legal to sell from a coffee shop ? if not where could i get well rooted plant’s from and what would it cost me ?

  11. Roberto says:

    I am also inter­ested in growing one for fun. It is 100% legal yah?

  12. Christyl says:

    Okay, so I have what might be a very stupid ques­tion.
    I’m apo­lo­gize if that’s the case:P

    Is there any way to grow a more potent plant?

    Thanks so much:)

  13. rob says:

    Is it legal cur­rently to grow in the UK after the decem­ber 2009 law change?

  14. jack says:

    yup. there was talk during 2009 that the legis­la­tion would cover SD. however, the 2009 legis­la­tion covered only syn­thet­ics; GBL, BZP and spe­cific syn­thetic can­nabin­oids (as used most notably in ‘spice’). as far as i can ascer­tain, the ACMD has cur­rently no plans to examine SD.

  15. philip says:

    Hi Jack,
    You seem like a know­ledge­able man on the subject, and a good person to ask for help; I have a plant, just over a metre high (I’ve pinched sprout­ing buds so it doesn’t get any taller!). Unfor­tu­nately, it was poorly looked after through­out winter, and as a result only has leaves on the top sixth of each of the 4 stems (top thrid if you count hor­rible yellow crappy leaves). the rest of the stems contain only mini­ature leaves, ranging from nothing to maybe an inch. I was won­der­ing if there was any way of recov­er­ing and/​or the best way to get those leaves growing again?

  16. jack says:

    hi philip. i would make cut­tings from the health­ier parts of the plant. this is a normal part of keeping SD; plants don’t go on forever. in the wild it would have regen­er­ated on it’s own by now.

    i suggest you do a little research wrt cut­tings. prac­tic­ally any stem mater­ial will root. this stem section should be cut back to a leaf node at the bottom (also at the top if it has already been pinched out). leaves on this stem section may be trimmed to pre­clude wilting.

    hope that helps.

  17. Jeff says:

    Hey, I was just won­der­ing how long a salvia stem cutting will survive in the mail. there are plenty of sites on how to grow but none on sending.

  18. brandon says:

    hey odd quistion can you cook this into food. say like can­nabut­ter.

  19. Mark says:

    Jeff, unrooted Salvia cut­tings won’t last more than a few days, if they are packed well. IMHO, it is better to spend the extra bucks on a rooted plant.

  20. Erik says:

    brandon that wont work at all its meant to be chewed or smoked

  21. muhammed says:

    If one is a good idea to me Turkey for help in this regard and I would like to cul­tiv­ate this plant, no matter where gonna buy thank you very much help in

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