Salvia Plant Growing And Care

Salvia Plant Growing And Care

Emma Downey

Emma Downey
Gardening Expert

Updated on 12/4/2022

Sages, more often known as salvia plant, are common garden plants because they flower for an extended period and thrive in hot and dry environments. Sages are also referred to in some circles simply as sages. You have a wide range of options because they come in a dizzying array of colors, scents, flower forms, and growth patterns. In addition to the beautifully colored blooms that they produce, salvias can be identified by the square form of their stems, the exquisite beauty of their foliage, and the fragrant properties that their leaves frequently exhibit.

Salvia Plant

Salvias are among the most beautiful annuals, and perennials bloom continuously throughout the summer. You can utilize them in various settings, including mass plantings, borders, pots, accents, and cut flowers. You can also find Salvias in multiple colors, including blue, purple, pink, white, and red. A wide range of color options is available for salvias, including blue, purple, pink, white, and red. Cultivating salvias has several advantages, one of which is that they attract a wide range of pollinators, including hummingbirds, butterflies, and other insects and animals. That is one of the benefits of growing salvias. Because of this, they are an excellent choice for pollination. As a result of the fragrant foliage that salvias produce, grazing animals like deer and rabbits do not find salvias to be very tasty.


Even though members of the genus Salvia can assume a broad number of forms and behave in a wide variety of ways, the vast majority of species develop pretty quickly. Some types can reach full maturity in a single growing season, reaching a height of between 5 and 6 feet. In contrast, others remain tiny enough to be planted along the edges of flower beds. The width of salvias can range anywhere from one foot to four feet, depending on the species. This width range can be seen in salvias.

Growing Salvia

Salvia Plant

Some salvias can thrive in partial shade, even though full sun and well-drained soil are ideal growing conditions for most salvia species. You need plenty of light and adequate drainage for the best possible development. Most salvia species require little care after reaching their maximum potential and are exceptionally drought-resistant until they have been established. That is true even before they have reached their full potential. If salvias are provided with an excessive amount of water and fertilizer, there is a greater chance that they may become afflicted with fungal diseases. The vast majority of salvia species can flourish in soils that are mostly only very mildly acidic. 

When it comes to planting salvias, the optimum time to do it is in the spring, after the threat of frost has passed. That allows the salvias to establish themselves more successfully. That makes it possible for the salvias to develop themselves more robustly. It is vital to get the soil tested before planting anything in it and then to amend the soil by the test results. You should do this before planting anything in the soil. 

In the absence of findings from a soil test, it is recommended that a slow-release fertilizer explicitly created for annuals be sprayed on the soil before planting annual salvias. That will ensure that the yearly salvias have the best chance of survival. Make sure to adhere to the instructions given on the back of the fertilizer package to incorporate the fertilizer into the soil properly. Suppose they are planted in soil that has been adequately prepared and that contains compost. In that case, many kinds of perennial salvias can thrive without adding additional fertilizer. That is because the soil already has compost.

Salvia Plant

The beginning of spring, when perennial salvias are just beginning to put out new growth, is the best time of year to divide the plants and make new plants out of the old ones. During the summer, you should remove dead flower spikes from the salvia plant to ensure that the plant will continue to produce flowers throughout the year. It is essential to refrain from disturbing the stems of perennial salvias once they have entered their dormant phase and continue to do so throughout the winter. If you put off doing any kind of pruning until the beginning of the new growing season in the early spring, you can reduce the risk of frost damage doing any sort of permanent damage to your plant.

Growing salvias from seed started inside allows them to be produced either as annuals or as perennials. Gardeners have the option of choosing between the two ways. It is recommended that you germinate the seeds of the annual Salvia splendens for six to eight weeks before transplanting them to their permanent place outside. If you want the sources to be able to germinate, you mustn't cover them with soil. 

That is because the seeds need to be exposed to light. After the reference has been sown, it should begin germinating between the 12th and 15th day after planting. You should choose the planting depth for other species of Salvia according to the recommendations provided on the seed box, and you should plant the seeds 12 weeks before the planting season begins. It is possible to start certain types of perennial salvias in the garden by sowing the seeds directly in the ground if you follow the instructions on the seed packaging.


Salvia Plant

When cultivated in settings that are as close to perfect as possible, salvias present their growers with relatively few challenges. Plants kept in a greenhouse or grown in locations with frigid temperatures and high humidity are more likely to become infected with diseases than other plants. Due to the warmer environment, insects that could cause difficulties to have a greater chance of becoming infested in greenhouses. Various potential issues could arise with salvias, such as the damping-off of seedlings, stem and root rots, powdery mildew, Botrytis blight, aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. One of the most common issues is the damping-off of seedlings.

Species & Cultivars

Given that there are around 900 different plant species, it is impossible to list more than a couple of the most common forms of Salvia. Because the growth conditions by the ocean are warmer, many of the more sensitive perennial plants can survive the winter in the northern section of South Carolina even though they are not entirely hardy. On the other hand, annual varieties of these species are the most commonly cultivated in this region.

Annual Salvias The following is a list of several distinct Salvia species typically grown as annuals in gardens. These Salvia species are elementary to grow. They can also be cultivated as perennials in South Carolina's warmer temperatures, but this is not typically the case with plants of this type. However, they can engage in this kind of agricultural practice.

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Sage for Bedding (Salvia splendens): Sage for bedding, also known as salvia splendens, is one of Salvia's most often cultivated ornamental species. It is primarily grown for its decorative qualities and is a herb that has lived for many years. S. splendens can be found in many colors, including white, orange, lavender, salmon, and even certain shades of purple. Some of these colors are more common than others. The bright ruby red coloration seen most frequently in S. splendens is stunning. This annual Salvia may reach a height of up to 70 centimeters (about 30 inches) and displays large flower spikes carried above heart-shaped leaves colored dark green. They can survive in areas with some shade but thrive best when exposed to direct sunshine. However, they can stay in environments with some shade.

  • "Open flame" (also known as "Clara Bedman") These green plants with crimson tips attain a height of exactly 26 inches after they have developed to their full potential and reached complete maturity.
  • The 'Salsa' series is well-known for its brilliant colors and the abundant flowering it generates; all of these traits lead to the plant's popularity in South Carolina. They can reach a height of between 12 and 14 inches and have a flush appearance with several different colors.
  • The 'Lighthouse' variety of cannabis produces gigantic plants that may grow as tall as 24 inches and can take on either a purple or a red hue, depending on the environment in which they are grown.
  • The 'VistaTM' series of blooms are available in various colors, such as lavender, purple, red, pink, salmon, white, and red/white bicolor, and the plants can grow to a height of up to 12 inches. In addition, there are bicolor flowers in this line that have both red and white petals.

Salvia Plant

Their scientific name, gentian sage, knows these plants, and they can reach a height of up to 18 inches and a width of up to 12 inches. Their flowers are enormous and a breathtaking shade of genuine blue (Salvia patens). Whether planted in the ground or in containers, it will do best in soil rich in organic matter and has adequate drainage. That is true whether it is buried in the ground or containers. That is the case, regardless of whether or not it is rooted in the background. The cultivar known as "Cambridge Blue" has a blue color that is more pastel in tone, and its name comes from the city of Cambridge.

Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans): Pineapple sage is cold hardy in USDA hardiness zone 8. Due to its short lifespan, it is most commonly cultivated annually. The temperature of -40 degrees Fahrenheit is the hardest that pineapple sage can withstand. It is feasible to swallow the vivid red blossoms it produces toward the end of the summertime. The plants can grow to a height of approximately 4 feet, and the leaves give off a perfume reminiscent of pineapple when rubbed together. There is a cultivar called Proven Accents® Rockin'®'Golden Delicious with leaves that are a chartreuse color, and the name of this cultivar is also "Golden Delicious."

This ubiquitous species of bedded Salvia, also known by its scientific name, Salvia farinacea, has been around for a significant amount of time. Its scientific name comes from the Latin word for "farinaceous." Tiny blooms that can be blue, white, or violet can be found on the tops of two to three feet tall plants with spikes that are ten inches long. You can find these flowers at the very top of the plants where they were grown. In the United States Department of Agriculture's hardiness zones 8 through 10, including zone 10, mealycup sage can be cultivated effectively. The soil should neither be excessively fruitful nor too damp to perform to the best of its ability and reach its fullest potential.

Salvia Plant

  • The cultivar known as 'Cirrus' has white blooms and may reach a height of up to 18 inches while spreading out to a width of up to 12 inches. Its name comes from the Latin word for 'cirrus,' which means 'circle.'
  • As it matures, the 'Evolution Violet' plant has the potential to reach a height of 18 inches and a width of 14 inches across, and its potential depth is also 18 inches. The plant cultivated flowers of a deep violet-purple hue are produced using this particular variety.
  • The 'Strata' cultivar is distinguished by its dark blue blooms attached to refined silvery grey bottoms and stems silvery in color. These characteristics combine to give the cultivar its name. Its breadth will be 12 inches when it has reached its full maturity, and its height will be between 18 and 24 inches. A compact growth habit is one of the defining characteristics of this development pattern.
  • Depending on your taste, the 'Victoria' series can provide blooms with either a dark blue or beautiful white color. When the plants have reached full maturity, their height is often between 18 and 20 inches, and their width is typically around 12 inches. The plants are not very large.

The soft flower spikes that cover the Mexican Bush Sage from late summer till frost are one of this plant's most distinctive characteristics, also known as Salvia leucantha. These flower spikes might be a pure shade of purple, or they can have white stripes running down their length. The plant Salvia leucantha flourishes in areas with high amounts of heat and sunlight, and it may even be able to survive in dry environments for brief periods. Even though it can survive the winter in USDA zones 7 to 11, it is almost always cultivated as an annual because of its rapid growth and the fact that it is relatively simple to acquire. 

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The allure of this plant's nectar brings enormous numbers of flying insects and birds, particularly hummingbirds and butterflies. Some varieties, such as 'Midnight' and 'Santa Barbara,' have only purple flowers, as opposed to the more typical combination of white and purple in the flowers of other types. In contrast to the more typical pairing of white and purple, this one features the opposite color combination.

The Painted Sage, also known as Salvia Viridis, has the potential to reach a height of one meter if it is given a chance. The bracts are always colorful; although the petals can be white, blue, or purple, the bracts can be a broad array of colors. Depending on your inclination, the flowering stems can be used to make floral arrangements either when fresh or after dried.

  • The 'Clarissa' hybrids can have a hue ranging from pink to white to purple, and their flowers' bracts are often enormous. These hybrids can also have a variety of other colorations. They have the potential to reach a height of 45 centimeters when they are fully mature (18 inches).
  • The 'Pink Sundae' plant may grow to a height of 70 centimeters (28 inches) and has rose-pink-colored blossoms on its stems.

Salvia Plant

The Crimson Sage (Salvia coccinea), also known as Texas Sage, has blooms that are a vivid scarlet color and grouped in whorls on spikes 10 inches in length. Even though it thrives best in warmer climates, it can survive the winter in USDA hardiness zone 9, which is the second-lowest zone. There is a good chance that Scarlet Sage can create its seeds, and this is a substantial potential. You should prune back flowering stems in the middle of the summer so that there will be bushier growth and more flowers later in the year. That will allow you to get more out of your plant. You should keep plants at a distance of between 10 and 12 inches from one another, and they should be grown in full sunlight or moderate shade.

  • You can obtain the 'Summer Jewel' line of plants in various colors, including red, pink, lavender, or white, and their heights can range from 14 to 19 inches.
  • The 'Coral Nymph' variety produces plants that only reach a height of two feet and have a color that resembles a mixture of pink and white.
  • The white aspect of the plant, known as "Snow Nymph," with its capacity to reach a height of 24 inches, and its dark green foliage are the distinguishing characteristics of this plant.

Perennial Salvias

When it comes to cultivation and maintenance, the following salvia species are often handled as perennial plants. The vast majority of them are hardy and can endure and even thrive in all of South Carolina's climate zones.

Salvia Plant

The Autumn Sage, also known as Salvia greggii, is a species of shrubby sage that is well-known for the vibrant colors that it displays, as well as its ability to withstand dryness. In the scientific world, it is referred to by the name Salvia greggii. They bloom intermittently during the summer, but their flowering period is significantly longer and more prolific in the fall. 

They require locations with a lot of sun and good drainage to thrive. Although many different cultivars and hybrids can be purchased and come in a wide range of colors and growth patterns, most cultivars will reach a height of between two and three feet when fully matured. Even though you can purchase many different cultivars and hybrids, that is the case. Although most of the state possesses conditions that are ideal for the cultivation of autumn sage, some varieties of this plant cannot survive the winter in the higher Piedmont and mountains. The majority of the state possesses conditions that are ideal for the cultivation of autumn sage.

  • The 'Alba' cultivar produces flowers that are brilliant white.
  • The 'Cherry Chief' flowering begins in the late spring, when the blossoms are a stunning shade of red, and continues through the summer and into the fall.
  • Raspberry-colored blooms cover the mature plant of the cultivar known as "Raspberry Royale," which develops into a massive shrub with a width ranging from four to five feet and is covered in the cultivar's namesake cultivar.

Salvia Plant

  • 'MirageTM' is a series of patented cultivars that ranges in height from 12 to 14 inches and is available in more than a dozen vivid color varieties. Its size ranges from 12 to 14 inches, and its color variety is brilliant. The height can vary from 12 to 14 inches, and each color isn't always readily available. It can withstand very high temperatures and will continue to bloom well into the fall, even though the temperatures begin to drop.
  • The 'Radio Red' type features blooms resistant to fading and a highly bright red color on plants that can grow as tall as 18 inches. You can find these characteristics in available plants. In addition, plants of this type have the potential to reach a height of up to 18 inches when fully mature.
  • Brazilian Blue Sage (Salvia guaranitica) This enormous Salvia can reach a height of 5 feet and maintains an upright habit throughout life. It blooms in bright orange-red hues. Every region of the state, except the mountainous parts, is conducive to the expansion and development of the industry. The flowers have a distinctive bluish-indigo hue, and their blooming period extends from the beginning of summer to its end. Additionally, they bloom continuously throughout the season. Hummingbirds, which are attracted to these flowers due to their beauty, can be found in relatively large numbers amongst them.
  • The cultivar's flowers, known as 'Black and Blue,' have a color between dark blue and navy, and they emerge from black sepals. The color is described as dark blue and navy. The plant is exceptionally resilient and can attain a height of between 5 and 6 feet when it reaches full maturity.
  • The flowers of the 'Argentina Skies' plant are a pale sky blue, and the leaves have a perfume reminiscent of licorice. It can attain a height of one meter.

Salvia Plant

Sage of the Bog, also known as Salvia uliginosa, is an open, tall shrub that produces crystal-clear sky blue blooms and arch gracefully on gorgeous stalks. The herb known as Sage of the Bog is also called Bog Sage. The flowers are there for the duration of the summer for people to look at and enjoy. Even though it thrives best in soil saturated with water to the point that it becomes soggy, it may also grow pretty well in the ordinary dirt found in gardens. 

Even though the earth is saturated with water to the fact that it becomes wet, it is the ideal environment for its growth. It is most suited for the back of a flower border, where shrubs or perennials can support it with solid stems. Due to its habit, which is often relatively lax, it is best suited for this location. Even though they are fragile, the branches have the potential to reach heights of up to 5 feet.

Sage, also known as Salvia officinalis, is a culinary herb and flavoring traditionally used to season the stuffing served at Thanksgiving. Sage is a herb often used interchangeably with common sage, and the mint family includes sage among its members. 

Sage is a species of evergreen shrub that is commonly cultivated in gardens to exploit its decorative potential. It produces spring flowers with a bluish-purple hue, and its leaves have a coloration that you may describe as somewhere between grey and green overall. It is especially effective in places where the climate is hot and dry. Because the cultivars contain various genetic variations, you can find the resulting leaves in multiple colors and shapes.

Salvia Plant

  • The Icterine plant has sure leaves with beautiful variegation consisting of yellow and green. You can find these leaves on the plant. Throughout its lifetime, it expands into an adult, reaching a height of 12 inches and a breadth of 20 inches. In general, the lifespan of this particular cultivar is not very long.
  • The cultivar known as 'Berggarten' produces leaves with a steely grey color, is extremely broad, and can survive high temperatures and high humidity levels. This cultivar is dependable and will last long after being planted. It attains a height of one to two feet, is shorter and broader than the typical common sage, and grows to a height of one to two feet. In addition, its size can fluctuate anywhere between one and two feet.
  • The 'Tricolor' cultivar features leaves with a variegated pattern with purple, gray-green, and light pink coloring. It reaches its full adult size, characterized by a height of 18 inches and a width of 20 inches, as it develops into adulthood.
  • The 'Purpurascens' cultivar is a very tall plant, and its delicate leaves and smoky purple color are named after the cultivar. It grows throughout its lifecycle into an adult, reaching a height of 12 inches and a breadth of 20 inches.

Sage (Salvia madness): This very large and vigorous sage grows between 5 and 7 feet tall with enormous, brilliant green leaves shaped like hearts and yellow flowers that bloom from early October until frost. Sage grows 5 and 7 feet tall with vast, bright green leaves shaped like hearts. It does best in full sun or light shade as long as the soil is moist but not soggy and has good drainage. Full sun or light shade is delicate as long as the soil is moist.

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Graham's sage, also known as baby sage, is more accurately known by its scientific name, Salvia microphylla. Baby sage is a common misnomer for Graham's Sage. It is an evergreen shrub that takes on the form of a mound as it matures and has fragrant leaves on each of its branches. The plant, as a whole, has a highly aesthetically beautiful aspect. The plants are resilient enough to withstand temperatures as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit, can grow to a width of up to three to four feet, and can live in total exposure to the sun. This Salvia, native to areas known for its rocky soils, would be an excellent choice for a rock garden because those are the soil conditions it prefers to grow in.

  • Flowers of the "Hot Lips" type have a striking two-tone coloration of dazzling red and white, and this coloration gives the flowers a distinctive appearance.
  • The cultivar known as 'San Carlos Festival' has a habit that is only marginally more compact than that of the species, and it too produces an abundance of blooms. It reaches a height of two feet and a width of three feet as it matures. The petals of the flowers produced by this plant have a vibrant magenta coloration throughout.

Sage comes in various varieties: the Japanese Yellow Sage, also known as Salvia koyamae. This particular variety of sage does best when grown in nutrient-rich, moist soil in shady conditions. It is a groundcover that has the potential to grow to a height of one foot but also has the potential to grow to that height. In the late summer and all into the fall, it will produce flowers with a yellow color that is more on the pale side.

The cultivar of Lilac Sage that is known as 'Purple Rain' (Salvia verticillata) may grow to a height of up to two feet, has leaves that are the color of emerald, and bears flowering stems that are entirely covered in blossoms of a deep lavender color throughout the summer.

Salvia Plant

In 2017, the plant known by its scientific name Salvia Rosmarinus and utilized in the preparation of culinary dishes was reclassified as a species of the genus Salvia. The aromatic evergreen plants can grow to a height of up to four feet and produce flowers with bluish-white tones in the petals of their blooms. The leaves of the plant retain their green color year round. You can discover additional alternatives, some of which are more confined and obscure than others.

Sage of the Woods (Salvia sylvestris L.): Even though its scientific name, Salvia sylvestris, knows, woodland sage is more commonly known by the name Salvia nemorosa and is marketed and sold in the nursery industry using that name. Sage of the Woods (Salvia sylvestris L.): This perennial sage is an excellent option to go with whenever hardy Salvia is required in areas with colder alpine climates and nearby regions higher up in Piedmont. Sage of the Woods is an excellent option to go with whenever hardy Salvia is required in areas with colder alpine climates and parts that are located higher in elevation. 

The vast majority grow to a height of between 12 and 24 inches and bloom continuously over a more extended period, starting in the latter part of the spring or the summer. If you cut off the flower stalks of plants as soon as they develop, they will continue to produce flowers well into the fall season. That is especially true if you cut off the flower stalks that have already flowered their purpose. These salvias are well suited for growing along the front edge of the border so that you might put them there.

Salvia Plant

  • The dark purple color of the stems of the 'Caradonna' plant creates a stunning contrast with the bright blue color of the plant's blossoms, known as 'Caradonna.' The tallest plants attain a total height of approximately 75 centimeters when fully mature (30 inches).
  • The 'East Friesland' variety has flowers that are a dark purple color, and the plant itself can reach a maximum height of 18 inches.
  • This plant's 'Snow Hill' variety produces flowers that are a color similar to fresh snow and are entirely white.
  • The flowers of the 'Blue Hill' cultivar have a color that is most accurately described as a very dark blue.
  • It grows to a height of 18 inches, produces flowers with deep violet color, and can resist high temperatures and extended periods of dryness. The cultivar is known as 'Blue Queen.'
  • The Rose Queen variety of flowers can be identified by the shade of rose pink they typically display.
  • In 1997, the Perennial Plant Association chose 'May Night,' a compact plant with dark violet-blue flower spikes, to represent their organization as their Plant of the Year. Because of its one-of-a-kind coloring, 'May Night' emerged victorious in the competition. This plant is also well known for having tiny leaves and flowers.

Hybrid Salvias

Salvia Plant

A hybrid known as an interspecific hybrid is produced when the genetic material of two distinct species of Salvia, which are members of the genus Salvia, are combined to create a new species. The children who are developed may have unique features and exceptional performance in gardens. That is something to be on the lookout for if you employ this technique. This kind of natural hybridization takes place somewhat regularly among species that are all a part of the genus Salvia and are related to one another through a genetic connection that is extremely close. The list of hardy perennial hybrids that follows is one that you can successfully cultivate in any part of South Carolina, which is located in the United States.

  • Flowers of the Anthony Parker Sage, also known as Salvia leucantha x Elegans 'Anthony Parker,' have a deep purple hue and grow on plants that can go as tall as five feet and as wide as three feet. The name "Anthony Parker" has been given to the hybridized form of this plant. The flowering season begins in the middle of the summer and continues far into the beginning of September. In the garden of her house in Beaufort, South Carolina, which is located in the state of South Carolina, Frances Parker discovered this hybrid. She concluded that the best way to honor her grandchild would be to name the plant after him.
  • The flowers of the Armistead Hybrid Sage, also known as Salvia 'Armistead' PP23578, are around 2 inches in length, have a color that can be described as a deep royal purple, and are almost entirely black at the base. It has dimensions of around four feet in width and height, and those proportions are maintained throughout. Even though its exact ancestry is uncertain, it is believed to be a hybrid of Salvia guaranitica and Salvia gesnerifolia. Both of these species belong to the genus Salvia. These two different species are both classified under the genus Salvia. These distinct species belong to the genus Salvia, otherwise known as the sage family.

Salvia Plant

  • From the beginning of summer until the first frost of fall, the Indigo Spires Hybrid Sage (Salvia farinacea x longispicata 'Indigo Spires') produces flowers with a deep blue-purple coloration. These flowers are made from the beginning of July until the first frost of fall. These flowers are held aloft on exceptionally tall stalks that curve upward. It can grow virtually as high as four and a half feet and as wide as that. You can achieve both of these dimensions.
  • Merleau Blue Hybrid Sage, also known as Salvia x Superba 'Merleau Blue,' can withstand high temperatures and dry conditions. Its scientific name is Salvia x Superba 'Merleau® Blue. Additionally, it can produce large spikes of blue-violet blooms on plants reaching a height of approximately 16 inches.
  • It is very similar to Salvia guaranitica, also known as Salvia guaranitica x gesneraeflor 'Purple Majesty.' However, it differs from Salvia guaranitica in that it produces purple flowers and is a larger, hardier plant that can reach heights of at least five to six feet. In addition, it has blossoms of deep purple color. It is successful in cultivation even when planted in shady conditions.

This information is provided to understand that no discrimination is intended and that the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service does not endorse any brand names or registered trademarks. This disclaimer is included because the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service provides this information. Including this information and excluding brands or manufacturers that are not named are not intended to be discriminatory or prejudiced. Furthermore, excluding products or manufacturers that are not called is not meant to be biased. 

Salvia Plant

Salvia plant in South Carolina serve as the basis for all the recommendations, which may or may not be applicable elsewhere. When applying pesticides, follow the application directions listed on the product label. At the time of publishing, none of the recommendations made for the use of pesticides broke any laws because you explicitly customized them to the state of South Carolina and because they were written with that state in mind. However, the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change based on the actions taken by state and federal regulatory organizations. That is the case regardless of whether or not the substance has been approved. That is the case irrespective of whether or not the material in question has been permitted its intended application. Always ensure that you are verifying that you are sticking to all guidelines, protections, and restrictions.