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Pantone Pageant: Eye-Popping, Poppy Red Designer Salvias

May 27, 2013

Pantone Pageant: Eye-Popping, Poppy Red Designer Salvias

Here's a tip for Oz's Wicked Witch of the West: Pantone's spring 2013 Poppy Red is a designer color that won't make anyone sleep. It's a bright, wake-up call that is often found in the scarlet blossoms of many sages (Salvia spp.). We offer five eye-popping suggestions here for matching the Pantone Corporation's Poppy Red 17-1664.

Our list is organized according to sun requirements. The first plant needs full sun, which means more than six hours a day of direct light. In contrast, the last one in the list is most successful in a location providing partial shade all day, such as the dappled sunlight under a deciduous tree.

All of these Salvias need regular watering and some love an ample supply. As with most Salvias, they all require well-drained soil. Some grow as tall as 6 to 10 feet and make fine screens or background plantings. The shorter species are good choices for borders and edging pathways.

Choices from Sun to Shade
Cardinal Sage (Salvia fulgens) Zones 7 to 9.

  • Full sun only
  • Blooms fall to winter
  • 48 to 60 inches tall, 35 inches wide
  • Yellow-green, heart-shaped leaves
  • Regular to ample watering

Mexican Chocolate Scarlet Sage (Salvia gesneriiflora 'Mole Poblano') Zones 8 to 11.

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Blooms winter to spring
  • 72 inches tall and wide
  • Pebbly, green-gold foliage
  • Regular watering

Karwinski’s Sage (Salvia karwinskii) Zones 8 to 11.

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Blooms fall to winter
  • 96 to 120 inches tall, 28 inches wide
  • Large, pebbly foliage
  • Regular watering

Oaxaca Red Sage (Salvia adenophora) Zones 9 to 11.

  • Partial shade
  • Blooms fall into winter
  • 36 to 48 inches tall, 36 inches wide
  • Bright green foliage
  • Needs ample watering

Blood Red Mexican Sage (Salvia univerticillata) Zones 9 to 11.

  • Partial shade
  • Blooms spring to fall and winter in some regions
  • 48 to 60 inches tall, 60 inches wide
  • Bright green, heavily veined leaves
  • Regular to ample watering

Days in Hummingbird Heaven
Be prepared for whir of tiny wings when you plant these Salvias. It's well known that hummingbirds are attracted to red. These important pollinators have little sense of smell, but are attracted to tubular flowers in deep, bright colors -- especially Salvias -- because they are wells of sweet nectar.

We spend our days in hummingbird heaven, because we grow what we sell. Write or give us a call whether you want to develop hummingbird habitat or select just the right color of sage for your backyard Emerald City. We're generous about sharing tips, even with that no-good, rotten, ruby-slipper-obsessed Wicked Witch.


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