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Two Salvias For Continuous Color

I tend to have a deep green summer. Except for tropicals, which are grown as annuals here, not many flowers tolerate the high heat and humidity of my summer climate. However, back in April I planted two different types of salvias, and they have both bloomed non-stop with little help from me. I have other types of salvias, but none have the almost continuous bloom I have seen from these. And the great news is that they should both continue blooming till frost. I am also pleased that they are attractive to butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. They look great in the border, and they also do well in containers.

First, is Salvia splendens 'Saucy Red.' It features scarlet red blooms on a compact plant from April to November. The heart shaped, evergreen foliage has a neat habit, and the flower spikes are self-cleaning.There is no need to dead-head, though dead-heading will promote new growth. The seeds are sterile. The plant can reach up to 2-3 feet tall x 2-3 feet wide. It is not fussy about soil type, and it needs a moderate amount of water. If grown in a pot, it requires well-draining soil. It should be planted in full sun to part shade. Although Salvia splendens is usually considered a tender perennial at best, this one is said to have a maximum cold tolerance of 0 degrees Fahrenheit (- 18 centigrade).

Another salvia that has been a highlight in my garden this year is Salvia 'Amistad.' Everyone who sees it remarks about its beauty. Thought to have Salvia guarantica and possibly Salvia mexicana parentage, its exact origins are unknown.Originally from Mexico, the name means "friendship." It has amazing velvet purple blooms from spring till frost.It likes full sun and well-drained garden soil. It has deciduous foliage, and I have seen reports of winter temperature tolerance from around 10 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 to -8 centigrade). If I have a severe winter, I may not see it come back next spring, but even if not, it has earned its keep in my garden this year. A semi-shrub, it can reach 3-4 feet tall x 3 feet wide. Prune when new growth begins in spring. If desired, prune again in mid-season to control growth.

Both salvias should be fertilized with a slow release fertilizer in spring and then mulched.

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Reader Comments (17)

Hi Deb, good to know which salvias do well for you in your garden! The bright red one is not for me but I love the salvia 'Amistad'. I just noticed today how well the salvia variety 'Mystic Spires Blue' is doing in my front yard. I wouldn't mind to add another salvia to my garden, but many varieties simply become way too tall for my small suburban plot :-(.
Warm regards,

August 23, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterchristina

Both of these are stunning additions to a garden. I grew red Salvia splendens at my old garden when I had much more sun. I don't think it would fit in here, although I love it. We saw masses of 'Amistad' at an Illinois garden recently. It was lovely. :)

August 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ PlantPostings

I love this type of salvia, so do the hummingbirds.

August 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLisa at Greenbow

I've had mixed results with Salvias here. 'Mystic Spires' and 'Mesa Azure' are perennial but I've lost some of the most popular types, including 'Wendy's Wish' and 'Love & Wishes'. I was about to add 'Amistad' to the latter category after losing 2 of them in my back border but I have one in a small border, snuggled in between 2 native Solanum xanti, and it's thriving. Maybe it was just looking for the right companions?

August 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Both beautiful but the first one, just love that deep red colour, so exotic looking!

August 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

The red color is stunning. But I think no color is more beautiful than deep green :-)

August 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

I have just been given a cutting of Amistad, so will look forward to seeing it next year in the garden here. Where I've seen it in gardens here, it has been quite tall and wide, needing quite a bit of space, but it is so beautiful, I must find room for it.

August 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

thinking of your lessons learned, I aspire to do the required pruning. My salvias are curently well behaved little toddlers, but I remember the monsters from which I harvested the cuttings. Can do better, will I?

August 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

They're lovely, Deb. It's always wonderful to discover plants that will reward you with a long season of blooms.

August 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJean

I'm sure I could find room for Salvia 'Amistad.' in my garden Deb, the colour is gorgeous. I find most salvias take a while to establish but after that are very easy, some have been flowering without additional water all through our hot summer, others need a lot more water than I would have imagined.

August 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I have Salvia splendens too among other salvias. The red salvia is going bonkers this year with our dry weather. It is tall and vibrant. The other salvias are looking a bit worn, but not that red!

August 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

I've seen 'Amistad', it is really a beauty. I've been looking for it at the garden centers around here but haven't been able to find it.

August 26, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjason

Oh my am I ever a fan of any of the blue, and purple salvias....I had Salvia Black and Blue last year, couldn't find it this year...it was a stunner...the hotter it got the more it bloomed. My kind of plant!

I am definitely going to look for the second salvia next spring...it probably will have to live in the garage over winter...it will have lots of company..lol.


August 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ The Light Laughed

Salvia are wonderful! I grow several different types (depending what the soil is like in that particular area of the garden). At the moment, Salvia uliginosa (bog sage) is strutting its stuff and it is buzzing with pollinators. I like your Salvia - I am doing a tropical corner next year and I think some red Salvia would look splendid there!

August 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Shoesmith

Lovely Deb! Salvias do great for me in Florida, especially Mystic Spires and Black and Blue. I'm always looking for new ones so I will look out for Amistad. It really is a beautiful one and I just love the color!

August 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKate R

I don't know why I haven't planted these before...just for the hummers who love them alone.

August 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

Salvia is such a huge group. I've had mixed luck with the different kinds. But I do like most of the annual salvias. They're such workhorses. You picked two beauties. :)

August 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

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