Salvia divinorum is typically grown from cuttings. But you may be wondering whether you can grow Salvia divinorum from seeds. Many websites advertise Salvia divinorum seeds for sale. It can be tempting for the novice psychonautic-gardener to buy some to try their hand at growing Salvia from scratch. But before you buy Salvia seeds, you should take caution.
Salvia seeds rarely grow
It isn’t easy to grow Salvia divinorum from seed.
In his guide to growing Salvia, Daniel Siebert writes that Salvia seeds should be planted 2-3 mm deep in moist soil. He says viable seeds will germinate in two to four weeks.
Although it’s difficult to grow Salvia divinorum from seed, it serves an important purpose, Siebert says. Because most Salvia divinorum live plants are grown from cuttings, they are genetically identical to the parent plant — they’re clones. Genetic homogeneity poses risks for plants, so by growing Salvia from seed, you’re helping to genetically diversify the species. I’ll bet it’s also deeply satisfying to accomplish something considered so difficult.
Some people contend that Salvia never grows from seed, really; the author of this blog post contends that, “An S. divinorum plant can sometimes be ‘tricked’ into producing a seed or two but it is extremely rare … In nature Salvia divinorum grows by the branches breaking off or bending into the soil and rooting themselves to produce a new plant or extended plant.”
They go on to write that Salvia seeds are only 2 percent viable for the first couple days, then become even less viable as time goes on. Their contention, then, is that anyone selling you Salvia divinorum seeds is selling you seeds with a less than 1 percent chance of sprouting a viable Salvia divinorum plant.
A 1999 article by Jon Hanna in The Entheogen Review says the notion that Salvia cannot reproduce by seed is erroneous, but concedes that Salvia “rarely sets seed,” outlining three major obstacles to those wishing to grow it from seed: a low seed set, low germination rate and low survival rate. That seems to jive with the author of the previously quoted blog, but takes a slightly more optimistic tone. It is very, very difficult to grow Salvia from seed, but it is possible. And I know some of you reading this are probably up for the challenge.
Where to buy Salvia divinorum seeds
Daniel Siebert’s Sage Wisdom Botanicals Shop (http://sagewisdombotanicals.com) is one of the go-to places for all things Salvia, and that includes Salvia divinorum seeds. According to a note on the shop’s website, however, it is currently out of Salvia seeds, although it’s hoping to get some in stock at the beginning of 2018.
If you’re a bit intimidated by the prospect of growing Salvia divinorum by seed (I don’t blame you if you are) you may have an easier time buying a live plant, and propagating additional plants through cuttings. Either way, I wish you luck on your journey to growing your own Salvia divinorum plant. And if you want to learn more about the history and modern use of this extraordinary plant, be sure to check out my book, Summer of Salvia.