Wild Clary (Salvia verbenaca)
Key facts about Wild Clary
- Height: 30-80cm
- Flowering Time: May – August
- Flower colour: Dusky blue
- Growth habit: upright
- Habitat: Dry grassland – prefers sun
- Appears in: Meadowmat for Garden Birds and Bees
A Brief Description of Wild Clary
Eagle eyed herb growers will notice the similarities between wild clary and culinary sage. However, these leaves won’t add flavour to your stuffing.
Leaves are distinctive greyish green colour. Stems are square and branched with a slight red tinge to them. The flowers are not particularly showy but look closely and you’ll be fascinated by their curved bottom lip and neat little hood.
Find wild clary in open grassland, sunny banks, sand dunes and roadsides. Well drained soil is important to these plants. In Suffolk particularly Wild Clary is often found in and around churchyards. Although it is native to the UK, populations are quite sparse in most of the country so please don’t harvest it from the wild. And if you can, grow lots of Meadowmat to help preserve this pretty plant.
Where to use Wild Clary
Let’s go back to that association with Suffolk churchyards. This plant was allegedly sown on graves in medieval times because people thought it would give immortality. It’s certainly a long lived perennial plant and so I can see how our ancestors were inspired in their beliefs.
The word “clary” could come from “Clear-eye” because when soaked in water, the seeds produce a jelly like substance. Ancient herbalists used this to sooth and cleanse the eye. Indeed, scientific analysis of the oils in wild clary reveals that the plant has antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
In Sicily, Wild Clary has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of kidney stones.
Wild Clary in Meadowmat
This robust plant has been included in the seedmix for Meadowmat Garden Birds and Bees because it’s so resilient, easy to grow and popular with bees.
As gardeners it’s out duty to support wildflowers that, for whatever reason, are struggling to live in the wild. Could you find a way to include this beauty in your planting plans?
- Long flowering period
- Reliable and very easy to grow
- Pollinator friendly
- Long lived plant
- Frost hardy
- Wild Clary can be dead-headed to prolong the flowering period
- Perfect for a cottage style garden
Love blue flowers? Have a look at this nettle leaved bellflower – a cottage garden favourite