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New at FBTS: Suncrest Salvias

New at FBTS: Suncrest Salvias
Category: New at FBTS

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Synopsis: Drought-resistant, heat-tolerant, vibrantly colored Suncrest Salvias (sages) have arrived at Flowers by the Sea and will be available for shipping in April. Suncrest Salvias are floriferous hybrids of species native to the American Southwest and Mexico, including Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla), Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii), Jame Sage (Salvia x jamensis) and Royal Purple Autumn Sage (Salvia muelleri).

Drought-resistant, heat-tolerant, vibrantly colored Suncrest Salvias (sages) are available at Flowers by the Sea. At FBTS, we are always looking for beautiful, resilient hybrid Salvias.

Thanks go to Suncrest Nurseries of Watsonville, California, for developing these tough yet vibrant plants that are part of their Western Dancers ™ series.

Southwestern Toughness and Color

Suncrest Salvias are floriferous hybrids of species native to the American Southwest and Mexico, including Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla), Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii), Jame Sage (Salvia x jamensis) and Royal Purple Autumn Sage (Salvia muelleri).

All of these species are closely related members of the S. greggii-S. microphylla group and are adaptable to a variety of regions in USDA Cold Hardiness Zones 7 to 11. Suncrest Salvias are bushy plants ranging in form from compact to upright. All require full sun, which means they need a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight daily.

The foliage of Suncrest Salvias is different from one hybrid to another; leaf shape varies, but all are larger than those of Autumn Sage. Also, they are veined similar to Mountain Sage foliage. No common names have been applied to these hybrids as yet.

Similar to other members of their parent group, these hybrids need little watering once established. However, it's necessary to water them regularly, depending on local growing conditions, until they are well rooted.

The S. greggii-S. microphylla group is known for the ease with which the two main species cross with other sages and especially with each other. A major example is Jame Sage, a large subgroup of these prolific hybridizers. Suncrest Salvias and other members of the S. greggii-S. microphylla group are known for their attractive rainbow of colors and long bloom times.

Suncrest Salvia Choices

Here are six favorites from the Suncrest series that will be available at FBTS this spring.

Salvia 'Autumn Moon'

  • Bicolor creamy yellow and coral flowers bloom spring to fall
  • 12 to 15 inches tall and wide
  • Medium-green leaves

Dramatically dark stems and calyxes contrast sharply with the light colored blossoms.

Salvia 'Dancing Dolls'

  • Creamy pink flowers with darker upper lips bloom spring to fall
  • 24 to 36 inches tall, 24 inches wide
  • Medium-green leaves

Deep green -- the color of the stems and calyxes -- is always a lovely combination with pink.

Salvia 'Fancy Dancer'

  • Bicolored pink and salmon flowers bloom spring to fall
  • 12 to 15 inches tall and wide
  • Medium-green leaves

Deep green stems and calyxes give the deep salmon of the flowers a formal look.

Salvia 'Golden Girl'

  • Bright yellow flowers with a faint flush of pink bloom spring to fall
  • 10 to 12 inches tall and wide
  • Medium-green foliage

This luminescent sage has green stems and reddish green calyxes.

Salvia 'Orchid Glow'

  • Magenta-purple flowers with white beelines bloom spring to fall
  • 12 to 15 inches tall and wide
  • Medium-green leaves

Rosy green stems and calyxes compliment the intense magenta flowers.

Salvia x jamensis 'Shell Dancer'

  • Bicolor pale pink and coral flowers bloom spring to fall
  • 24 to 36 inches tall, 24 inches wide
  • Medium-green leaves

Bright flowers light up this sage's rosy green stems and calyxes.

Long Road to Popularity
Suncrest Salvias come from a long lineage of vigorous species that have survived and thrived despite what would be harrowing growing conditions for so many plants. Yet it has been a long road to popularity for the S. greggii-S. microphylla group.

Sages from the Southwest and Mexico -- particularly members of the S. greggii-S. microphylla group -- caught the eyes of 19th century plant explorers who were surprised to discover such color and graceful form amid hot, dry desert lands and the rocky climes of canyons and mountains.

However, it wasn't until the late 20th century that Autumn Sage and Mountain Sage began appearing in plant nurseries. Jame Sages weren't even discovered by botanists until the 1980s. Now all three types of sage are among the most widely sought Salvias in the world.

Questions about Suncrest Salvias
If you have questions about Suncrest Salvias or any of our plants, please contact us anytime. We're glad to share information about Salvia species and hybrids from places nearby -- such as Watsonville -- and faraway.

Updated 2/22/2016


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