Celebrate the year of salvia with blue, red and purple varieties

Celebrate the year of salvia with blue, red and purple varieties

Rockin’ Fuchsia Salvia, Truffula Pink gomphrena and Superbells Coralina Calibrachoa create a dazzling container.

Norman Winter, HO/TNS

Salvia adds spiky texture and vertical lift to the garden, as well as tantalizing shades of blue – Indigo Spires, Mystic Spiers Blue, Mysty Blue and Big Blue.

Proven winners have introduced new ‘Rockin’ Salvias, which truly live up to their name. Not only do Rockin Deep Purple and Rockin Fuchsia pop with color, they also do well with pollinators. While I was unloading them on the driveway, they were already being hit by hummingbirds and bees.

You’ll find rock sage plants at your local garden center, perfectly timed with 2019 being declared the Year of the Sage by the National Parks Bureau.


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Rockin Deep Purple will reach 30 to 40 inches in height, while Rockin Fuchsia is slightly shorter. They are all listed as salvia hybrids and all have black or dark calyxes, reminiscent of Salvia garanitica or anise sage. It is described as a perennial in zones 9 and warmer. But they also deserve to be grown as annuals.

Think about how much fun it is to grow flowers for hummingbirds versus hanging feeders, using sugar, or purchasing hummingbird food. You won’t be changing the water and cleaning the feeders, you’ll simply be watching them feed on the plants you grow for them. You will also bring bees and butterflies.

Also in the Rockin’ Rockin Playing the Blues and Rockin Golden Delicious series. Rockin Playing the Blues is similar to Indigo Spires. Golden Delicious is a pineapple sage with striped color and red flowers.

Your landscape combinations are only limited by your imagination. A simply sensational combination of Rockin Fuchsia Salvia with Truffula Pink gomphrena in a large container with Superbells Coralina calibrahoa spilled over the rim.

Sunshine and rich, organic, well-drained soil will give you a green thumb when it comes to growing sage.


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The ones I mentioned are imported, but the United States is home to some amazing sage plants, like sage or Salvia farinacea. Look for dark blue, gray and white selections in your garden center.

Scarlet sage, Salvia cocina, is native to the lower Southern states. As the name suggests, it is a saturated red. Cherry sage or fall sage, Salvia gregii, is native to Texas and blooms nonstop from late spring until frost. It is also dark red in color and other colors are now available.

If you plant sage in your garden, you’ll find that it’s also the year of the hummingbird.

Norman Winter is a horticulturist, garden speaker, and author of Flowers of the Tough South.

    (tags for translation) Big Blue 

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