New at FBTS: Salvia Amistad and Friendship from Afar
It was a good day when Argentinian Rolando Uria found Salvia 'Amistad'. Good days, Uria says, are ones when he finds Salvias he’s been hunting for in the wild. But on this day in 2005, he encountered an unusual sage at a plant show. He wondered what it was.
The sage appeared to be related to the Anise-Scented Sages (Salvia guaranitica spp.), which are common garden plants in Argentina. Perhaps it was the abundant, intensely violet-purple blossoms and dark purple calexes that riveted Uria’s attention.
A Sage with Olympic Endurance
However, in time, Uria determined that the sage was quite different from the S. guaraniticas. One of its characteristics that really impressed him was the ability to flower nonstop and abundantly for nearly its entire growing season, which lasted much longer than those of the S. guaraniticas.
An Olympic athlete of the plant world, this perennial sage would begin to bloom when small in spring and continue producing large, intensely violet-purple blossoms until it reached its finish line in autumn.
The mystery sage was one of the most generous bloomers Uria had ever encountered. In a similar spirit of generosity and, because he felt the plant’s popularity needed to spread, Uria began sharing it for free with friends. So he named it, accordingly, Salvia 'Amistad', which means Friendship Sage. Now it is becoming a sage of choice in Argentinian gardens.
Friendship from Afar
A professor of agronomy at the University of Buenos Aires, Uria teaches garden design and travels throughout his homeland searching for Salvias in the wild that haven’t yet been cultivated for horticultural use.
By 2008, Uria was developing horticultural friendships with Salvia lovers worldwide via the Internet, which led him, similar to any good educator, into sharing knowledge and materials with friends abroad, such as Flowers by the Sea. Eventually, he developed his Salvia.com.ar website to share information, including his many images of South American Salvias.
Growing Conditions & Uses
It was a good day for us on March 19, 2013, when we began selling Salvia 'Amistad'. Shipping begins April 8.
This heat-tolerant sage can get by on whatever amount of watering is average in gardens within USDA Zones 8 to 11, but loves ample moisture. So it would be a particularly good choice for anyone living in a warm, humid climate.
Amistad loves full sun, yet it doesn’t mind partial shade similar to Anise-Scented Sages. It is an adaptable plant that thrived during its 2012-test period in the Zone 9 Mediterranean conditions of our farm on the Northern California coast. It even endured winter temperatures of 20 degrees F.
Averaging 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, it makes a good background planting as well as a pretty perennial border, container choice or seasonal bedding plant. We also use its leaves for cooking.
Our thanks go to Rolando Uria for his friendship and for this fine Salvia that we are enjoying so much. We're glad to say that the butterflies and hummingbirds are enjoying it as well. Please give us a call if you have any questions about Salvia 'Amistad'. We’ll do our best to answer them in the spirit of friendship and quality service.