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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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Ask Mr Sage is one of the most popular categories in our Everything Salvias blog. Here are a few of the latest posts:
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Place Advance Orders with FBTS - Flowers by the Sea is a mail-order nursery eliminating craziness from garden planning with advance orders and customer selection of shipping dates. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature based on calls and emails received by FBTS. This article details how to use our redesigned preorder process and other catalog tools for making sure you get the plants you want when you want them. Ask Mr. Sage: How to Select Plants for Garden Triumph - Planning for Salvia garden success requires following the rule of selecting the right plant for the right place. Desert sages aren't appropriate for the damp Southeast. Moisture-loving ones aren't right for desert climates where they need lots of watering to survive. Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery offers tips for selecting plants based on local climate. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Prune my Salvias? - Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery specializes in Salvias and often receives questions about how to prune them. Although getting good at pruning takes practice, Salvias rebound quickly if you make mistakes. A key to successful pruning is understanding the varying needs of four main categories of sages. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: Do You Offer Free Shipping? - Like free lunches, free shipping is a myth. Flowers by the Sea doesn't offer free shipping, because it would require increasing plant prices to cover the cost of shipping. Read more to learn how FBTS sets fair shipping prices. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and notes from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: Best Time to Plant Drought Resistant CA Natives - Drought resistant California native sages thrive when planted in fall. It's easier for roots to become established when soil is warm, air temperatures are cooler and precipitation is increasing. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and emails from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Shipping in Boxes Like for Salvias? - It's understandable to worry about the condition of plants following shipment in a box. However, Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery is exceedingly careful to make sure your plants arrive in healthy condition. A satisfied customer sent us the photos in this article. Step by step, they illustrate the process of unpacking and hardening off FBTS plants received by 3-day ground delivery more than 1200 miles away from our Northern California farm.