Sunday, June 26, 2011

Salvias with Potential...

Salvia Henrey Duelberg
In my July Coast Magazine article I described 3 of the best native salvias for our area. I also referenced several others that have potential. Some of these species are better suited for drier climates (i.e. Hill Country and alike). I've indicated their suitability for Galveston with a 1-3 * rating (3=best).

It should also be noted that many home gardeners feel that salvias, across the board, have good deer resistance. I think that's a relative term - because in my experience, when deer get hungry enough they'll eat the tires off a truck.

ALSO - you'll note that all of these salvia selections require a well drained soil. I'm not saying a raised bed is a "requirement" but you may want to pass on these plants if you're working with an un-amended, heavy clay.

Salvia farinacea
Mealy Blue Sage
Salvia farinacea ***
Mealy blue sage is a perennial which blooms from early spring through first-frost. The spiked flowers seem to last forever. Plants reach a height of 18" - 24" and require full sun. The secret to maintaining this plant is to  remove the flowers after they have faded.Mealy Blue Sage is drought and pest  tolerant, making it a low maintenance plant in the landscape.

Salvia leucantha
Mexican Bush Sage
Salvia leucantha ***
This native salvia blooms in the fall. The spiked fowers are vailable in purple or white.  Bush sage grows to approximately 36" and does best in full sun. The gray foliage makes a nice contrast of color when used in combination with other plant materials.

Salvia coccinea
Scarlet Sage
Salvia coccinea **
Scarlet sage is a tender perennial that can attract hummingbirds to the  garden. It's both heat and drought tolerate and can survive in a variety of different locations. BUT - well drained soil is a must. Plants reach 24" - 36" and it performs best in full sun. The bright red (scarlet) flowers occur from mid-spring through first frost.

Salvia microphylla
La Trinidad Sage
Salvia microphylla **
This native, evergreen perennial  has a magenta pink flower that makes it a real standout. This is another salvia that can attract hummingbirds to the garden. Plants do best in full sun and a well drained soil.

Salvia chamaedryoides
Grey Shrub Sage
Salvia chamaedryoides **
This semi-perennial salvia typically blooms from April to October. The blue flowers contrast against the gray foliage color. Like most salvias, Grey Shrub Sage does best in full sun and a well drained soil. Plants can reach 24" tall with a 36" spread.

Salvia penstemonoides
Big Red Sage
Salvia penstemonoides **
This plant enjoys hot weather and blooms best from  June to September. The deep red (some say maroon) flowers occur on tall spikes that can reach 24" in height. Some gardeners feel that the Big Red Sage is the best salvia for attracting hummingbirds to the garden. Full sun and a well drained soil are required for optimum performance.

Salvia Roemeriana
Cedar Sage
Salvia Roemeriana *
A nice perennial salvia with deep red flowers. The mounding growth habit sends up spikes of that attract hummingbirds to the garden. This salvia can tolerate some shade but once again - a soil that drains well is a requirement for success.

Salvia darcyi
Mexican Red Sage
Salvia darcyi **
The red flowers of this perennial salvia are its distinctive characteristic. Needless to say, hummingbirds love it. Mexxican Red Sage makes a big plant - up to 5' tall and 3' wide. Full sun required for best plantperformace and flowering. As with most salvias, a well drained soil a must.

For more landscape gardening information be sure to visit the Galveston Gardening website

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