Four Salvias To Make You Salivate

March 29, 2015 | By | Comments (0)

Salvia Ember’s Wish. Photo:

If you’ve ever drooled over a plant, you know how embarrassing that can be. You’re a grown adult, for crying out loud, and you’re looking like you need a bib. Nevertheless, certain plants cause me to profusely salivate, like these muy delicioso salvias recently added to our Southern Living Plant Collection. (Dang, I just drooled on the keyboard. What a mess.)

The coral-red salvia you see up top is ‘Ember’s Wish.’ Growing 3 to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, it’s an excellent choice for the back of the border. Flowers appear from spring until frost and don’t fade in the summer heat. There’s no need to deadhead spent flowers, because the plant is self-cleaning (like my lazy cat, Ketchup, used to be). ‘Ember’s Wish’ is perennial in the Coastal and Tropical South (USDA Zones 9-11) and annual elsewhere. Like all the salvias shown here, it’s an object of lust from hummingbirds and butterflies.


Salvia ‘Armistad.’ Photo:

Oooooooo0000hh, I love this one. Be still my quaking heart! It’s called ‘Amistad.’ It grows 4 to 6 feet tall and wide, but you can keep it smaller with periodic clipping (removing old flower stalks keeps it blooming from spring through fall). Rich purple flowers emerge from nearly black calyces (cup-like structures attached to the stems). It’s winter-hardy in the Lower, Coastal, and Tropical South (USDA Zones 8-11). Power to the purple!


Salvia ‘Saucy Wine.’ Photo:

I love a saucy woman, so why not a saucy salvia? Presenting ‘Saucy Wine’ salvia. This is a selection of the familiar scarlet sage (Salvia splendens), but totally superior in performance and appeal. It’s sterile and self-cleaning, meaning it sets no seed so all of its energy goes into blooming and you don’t have to remove old flowers. ‘Saucy Wine’ grows 2 to 3 feet tall and wide and should be treated as an annual. Grumpy’s planning to combine its burgundy-red color with deep-blue fan flower (Scaevola).


Salvia ‘Love and Wishes.’ Photo:

My fondest wish for you is love — love and wishes (OK, I immediately retract that statement as it conflicts with my known persona). This is ‘Love and Wishes’ salvia. It forms a tidy mound of color about 3 to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It blooms nonstop spring to fall, needs no deadheading, and is perennial in the Coastal and Tropical South. Doesn’t it look nice in a pot? So do the other salvias I’ve just gushed over.

How To Grow
These splendid salvias perform their best in full sun and moist, fertile, well-drained soil. Feed every couple of weeks throughout the growing season with a liquid, bloom-booster fertilizer.

Where To Buy
Look for these salvias at local home and garden centers this spring. For a list of places that carry the Southern Living Plant Collection, click here. 


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