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My Salvia Collection (Past and Present) part one


By meanie


A few years ago I bought my first Salvia and little did I know it at the time it was the start of another plant collection. There are a few problems with collecting Salvia amongst which are;
1] there are about 950 species from all over the world (except Australasia) and then there are all the many cultivars and hybrids on top of that.
2] many of them are tender or dislike winter wet.
3] many of the South American and Californian species are winter blooming.

As I say, it wasn’t my intention to start a collection but the plant that started it off was “Black and Blue”………………….

It is a natural selection of S.guaranitica (which is a species from Argentina and Brazil) which I have always found to be perfectly hardy as long as it is given very good drainage. It is easy to propagate from cuttings but even easier and more productive is to have a poke around in the spring to see if there are any shooting rhizomes. 5cm of root can produce four or five plants if snipped off and potted up. About four weeks after any shoots emerge snip the rhizome and pot the baby plants up individually.

Not long afterwards I bought my second Salvia. It was a Salvia patens cultivar called “Dots Delight”……………..

Unfortunately I lost it in the winter of 2011/12 and have been unable to replace it since. S.patens is a tuberous species so what I do with them now is to grow them in a large deep pot for a year to build up a strong cluster of tubers which suffer no winter damage before planting out in a well drained spot the following spring. It also makes a good pot grown specimen if you prefer………….

The flowers of this species are well worth the effort…………….

In my first year of growing Salvia I inadvertently had my first experience of winter blooming species. Salvia elegans is freely available in the herb section of most gardens centres where it goes under the common name of Pineapple Sage. Although it did bloom for me this tender species didn’t do well…………..

I kept it going for another three years and then in the mild winter of 2013/14 it flourished in a sheltered spot outdoors……………

That photo was taken mid January 2014. Having bloomed it well I gave it away to make space for other tender plants.

In my first year I also added “Hot Lips”…………….

It is a Salvia x jamensis hybrid and these small flowered shrubby Salvia are on the whole totally hardy and all flower for a very long period indeed. Included in this group are S.microphylla (and its many cultivars) and S.gregii (along with its cultivars too although they can be a little borderline hardy sometimes). S.microphylla…………….

S.gregii “Raspberry Royale”…………….

Another of my early Salvias and one which I only lost this past winter was “Wendys Wish”………….

Perfectly hardy in an average UK winter (given the obligatory good drainage) this hybrid was found in the garden of an Australian Salvia collector who handed the PBR rights over to the Make A Wish Foundation.

The last of my early Salvias is the tenderest one that I have grown – S.discolor…………….

It is something of an enigma as it is dead at the slightest whiff of frost yet it will bloom longer than any other Salvia I’ve grown, often from April through to November. It is an absolute gem of a plant and one of my favourite plants of all………….

That’s all for now, part 2 to follow.

More blog posts by meanie

Previous post: My Best New Plants of 2014 (photo heavy)

Next post: My Salvia Collection (Past and Present) part two



Wow!! some real beauties......lovely blog meanie...

28 Sep, 2015


What a great collection! have you had any trouble with them being eaten? I only have Salvia patens but something chomped every last little bit of it.

28 Sep, 2015


Interesting blog Meanie,your Black and Blue survived the winter outside here last year, flippin slugs love it though, I ll be trying your tip for increasing it next year :-)

28 Sep, 2015


Great blog Meanie. I'm loving salvia too, some great advice you've given, thank you.

28 Sep, 2015


Some real gems there Keith ,the S. discolor is a treasure , I had Wendy's wish I must check it out to see if its still there and if I have seed !

29 Sep, 2015


Thanks all!

Slugs are a problem with emerging shoots on the tuberous Salvia, less so on the woody/shrubby types.

Amy - I've never had any seed set on Wendys Wish. If you have hummingbirds they set seed apparently!

30 Sep, 2015

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