Perennial Salvias in the Garden

Perennial Salvias in the Garden

with Tony Avent

By Published August 2022

In this video, Tony takes us on a walk through Juniper Level Botanic Garden and talks about a few of the amazing perennial salvia for sale at Plant Delights Nursery.

Video Transcription

This is the group of plants, perennials, known as salvias. Now most people know salvias, or sages as they are commonly called, as annuals - Salvia splendens. But there are many different types of ornamental sages that are perennials, in some cases shrubs.

Salvia Greggii

We'll start here with Salvia greggii. This is Salvia greggii 'Texas Wedding'. This is a shrub. Usually in the 3- to 4-foot-wide range, usually about 2 to 3 foot tall depending on the cultivar. They flower heavy in spring, they slow down during the summer, and then they flower heavy again in the fall. This one has beautiful white flowers and the flowers last for several months, so this is a really long-term flowering plant. And this is a light pink one, also of Salvia greggii, called California sunset. So a wide range of colors. And this is the third color form in the Salvia greggiis which is the pinkish red and this is one called lipstick. A little shorter, this one maturing out at only 18 inches tall as compared to the others which can get 3 foot tall.

Salvia microphyla

First cousin to the Salvia greggiis is another shrub from northern Mexico called Salvia microphylla and microphylla means small leaves. It has small leaves but a larger plant. These plants of Salvia microphylla can get up to 8 feet across and 3 feet tall so this is one that needs a lot to room in the garden. Like Salvia greggii it flowers very heavy in spring, sporadically through the summer, and then very heavy again in the fall.

Salvia regla

This is another of the northern Mexican salvia. This is Salvia regla. Now unlike many of the salvias that flower in spring, this one only flowers in fall so it really doesn't start until the 1st of October and then you have months of these incredible tubular flowers that are just great for hummingbirds and just great to add a splash of bright color in the garden in fall.

Salvia farinacea

Okay this is another perennial salvia, Salvia farinacea. This is actually a US native. It's commonly sold as an annual house plant but in fact if, you leave it in your gardens and you don't get below zero in the wintertime, this one's going to come back or at least most of the forms will. This is a very tall form of Salvia farinacea often called Mealy Cup Sage this particular one gets 3 foot. You can buy dwarf forms that only get 15 inches tall but a great plant. It starts flowering in late spring and flowers all summer long and then slows down as you get in the fall.

Salvia leucantha

This is one of my favorite salvias. This is Salvia 'Phyllis Fancy' this is a Salvia leucantha hybrid. Leucantha being a fall bloomer, so this is also a fall bloomer. This is probably the largest of any of the perennial salvias you'll get from your garden topping out at easily 7 foot tall and about 8 foot wide. It dies all the way down to the ground, so it is a complete perennial and then pops back up almost like a Jack and the Beanstalk growing very fast and starts flowering in really August and flowers from August all the way up to across. Quite a spectacular plant. Like with all the perennial salvias that died to the ground in the wintertime, you don't want to cut these back because salvia stems are hollow and if you cut them back in the fall or early winter they will actually fill full of water when it gets really cold and freeze. And you can actually kill your plant so good drainage is good and then leave the plant up until you see it growing at the base in the spring.

Salvia superba

This is Salvia superba. This is one of the hardiest of the perennial salvia. Salvia superba, Salvia silvestre, Salvia nemorosa, three names. They're all pretty much the same thing, it's actually a group of hybrids of several species from Europe. These are the hardiest, these will certainly go into Zone 4 and 5, very very winter hardy so 30 below zero. They flower heavy and spring sporadically through the summer and then you generally get a good rebloom in fall. Julie these are much smaller than some of the Mexican salvias topping out around 18 to 20 inches depending on the form and anywhere from 1 to 3 foot wide but a beautiful ground care area for full Sun and well-drained soil.

Salvia Hybrids

This is a hybrid salvia. This is Salvia 'Amistad'. This is a cross with Salvia guaranitica, very commonly grown plant. It's lost a little hardiness, but what it's gained is an incredible rebloom. It flowers for us starting in late spring all the way up till the first freeze hits it. It's a large growing plant. It's easily 5 foot tall and 8 foot across but non-stop flowering even through the heat of the summer. It's just an amazing specimen.

Yellow Flowering Salvia

There are actually several yellow flowered salvias, the color we normally don't think of in the genus Salvia. These would include plants like the European Salvia glutinosa, the Japanese Salvia koyamae and Salvia nipponica, so really three good species and these will tolerate a little more shade as well as half-day sun.

Salvia darcyi

This is Salvia darcyi one of my absolute favorites. It starts blooming in late summer and just really keeps going all the way up to a hard frost. Beautiful color just a great form but generally around 3 foot tall around 6 foot wide so it does take up a fairly good-sized footprint but just an amazing flowering machine in the fall.

We hope you've enjoyed the brief tour of our salvia collections here at Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Gardens. If you'd like to find out more check out our website, plantdelights.com and do a search for salvia.

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