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Salvia gesneriiflora 'Tequila'


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  • Attracting Hummingbirds

  • Attracting Butterflies

  • Deer Tips

Salvia gesneriiflora 'Tequila'

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Degree of Difficulty
Easy
Degree of Difficulty
This plant is easy to grow in a variety of conditions.
Best of Class
Best of Class
We believe this to be the best large shrubby Salvia.

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Description

(Big Mexican Scarlet Sage) This heavily blooming Salvia from Mexico has heart-shaped leaves and spectacular flower spikes up to 18 inches long from winter through spring. The blooms are bright red-orange with rich purple-black calyxes and stems.

Give this sage full sun and plenty of room, because it grows up to 10 feet tall and almost as wide. It needs protection from strong winds and rains that can cause the heavily laden, woody branches to break.

This variety of Salvia gesneriiflora often is called "Tequila" in reference to its scientific name. In 1970, botanists from Southern California's Huntington Botanical Gardens collected seed from the parent plant on the Volcan de Tequila in the Mexican Province of Jalisco.

One of the showiest Salvias we grow, Tequila also is one of our very best hummingbird plants. It's popular with butterflies and honeybees as well, whereas deer avoid it. Use it as a screen, background planting or border.

Details

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Common name  
Big Mexican Scarlet Sage
USDA Zones  
8 - 11
Size (h/w/fh)  
8-10'+/8'+/10'+
Exposure  
Full sun
Soil type  
Well drained
Water needs  
Average
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
Yes
Our price
10.50

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Quantity (1 available)




Here are some guidelines for success with this plant in your garden.
Click on an individual icon for more detailed information.

Exposure

Full sun
Full sun

Growing Habit

8 - 11
8 - 11
Shrub
Shrub

Water Needs

Average water
Average water

Blooming Season

Spring blooming
Spring blooming
Winter blooming
Winter blooming

Wildlife

Honeybees
Honeybees
Butterflies
Butterflies
Deer resistant
Deer resistant
Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds

Colors

Salvias and their companion plants pop with color. Sweep your eyes from top to the bottom here for an impression of this plant's color combinations. The first row displays blossoms from primary to less dominant shades and includes any contrasting throat color. The second tier is the main hue of leaf-like bracts or calyxes supporting the flowers. Foliage (one or two colors) leafs out in the bottom row.
Primary color - Vivid Reddish Orange
RHS# 40A






Throat color - Strong Reddish Orange - RHS# 40C




Secondary color - Vivid Reddish Orange
RHS# 43A



Bract color - Dark Purple
RHS# 79A

Leaf color - Strong Yellowish Green
RHS# 143C



Learn more about how we analyze plant colors
See other plants with similar colors
See other plants with split complementary colors
See other plants with triadic colors
Ready for some pruning?

Evergreen, woody Salvias

These are species that grow as woody shrubs and keep their foliage year round.

Pruning is both an art and a science. It takes practice, experience and learning from your mistakes to become a proficient pruner. The pruning information about this plant should be considered as a guideline for getting started. Your particular climate, soils, watering and fertility schedules, sun exposure, space requirements and weather are all factors that influence how and when you choose to prune. We’re providing a starting place for you, and over time you will learn the particularities of this plant in your garden. Don’t be afraid to get started – Salvias, in general, are quick to rebound if inappropriately pruned.

Deadheading – the removal of spent flowers, is a practice that will always benefit the plant’s health and appearance. This can be done at any time. Pruning involves removal of entire stems of spent growth. Becoming "spent" means that flowering stems stop blooming and begin going to seed.

Growing Season Pruning

At any time, you can perform cosmetic pruning -- shaping, controlling height and width and removing the oldest wood. Some gardeners periodically remove the oldest stems to encourage fresh new growth.


Dormant Season Pruning

Same as Growing Season.


Check the Views from the Garden section of our Everything Salvias Blog for videos that apply to this plant.

  • Salvia cinnabarina

    (Cinnabar Sage) Think of this plant as Pineapple Sage on steroids. It grows 5 feet tall and can be twice as wide in a good spot and bursts with large, furry, cinnabar red flowers all winter. Our overwintering hummingbirds adore it. This sage is hard to forget once you see it in full bloom.

    Coming from the cloud forests of Southern Mexico, this species is a great choice for woodland-style gardens where it can spread out and poke its long stems up here-and-there. In partial shade, it is a rambler that forms an attractive screen. Cinnabar Sage responds well to feeding and watering, but is not delicate. It is well worth growing if you live in a mild climate.

    11.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia eizi-matudae

    (Shaggy Chiapas Sage) This is a sweetheart! Glowing magenta flowers lure the eye as well as hummingbirds to this heat-tolerant sage. It begins blooming in late summer where weather is warm and in fall where it is cooler, and bloom,s well into the winter.

    This compact shrub from Chiapas, Mexico, has heavily textured leaves and is attractive even when not in bloom.

    Reports from colder areas suggest that this Zone 9-to-11 plant may be suitable for Zone 8. You will be very impressed by the large clusters of 1-inch, furry, bright flowers.

    This is an adaptable plant, which grows in full sun in cool areas or partial shade elseware and does well in containers and shrubby borders. We highly recommend it as one of the strongest hummingbird magnets we grow.

    15.00
  • Salvia gesneriiflora 'Mole Poblano'

    (Mexican Chocolate Scarlet Sage) Although this is a sister of Salvia gesneriiflora ‘Tequila’, it is shorter, more floriferous and has a longer bloom time from winter to spring. Similar to Tequila, Mole Poblano has bright red flowers and dark purple calyxes.

    Botanists from Southern California’s Huntington Gardens were on a plant exploration trip to Mexico when they found Salvia gesneriiflora on the Volcan de Tequila in the Province of Jalisco.

    One seedling that the researchers developed from the parent plant became the cultivar Tequila, which grows up to 10 feet tall and wide. They grew Mole Poblano – or Mexican Chocolate – from a second seedling. It reaches 6 feet tall and wide.

    Mole Poblano is attractive as a screen or background planting. It works well in shrubby borders as well as dry gardens where honeybees and hummingbirds enjoy its rich nectar. It grows well in a variety of soil types as long as they drain well. Although it likes regular watering, it can get by on less.

    Give this sage full sun in an area screened from wind. When heavily laden with blossoms, its woody branches break in heavy winds. By sheltering it, you also shelter hummingbirds that overwinter in your yard and need nectar.
    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia involucrata var puberula 'Hidalgo'

    (Hidalgo Roseleaf Sage) The earliest flowering, hardiest and strongest growing cultivar of its species, Hidalgo Roseleaf Sage starts blooming in June on the Northern California coast. It continues into spring, becoming more spectacular every day, unless cut down by hard frost. In our mild climate, it never stops blooming some years.

    This Salvia involucrata requires a bit of high shade in the hottest climates. It also appreciates rich soil and regular watering. Hidalgo differs from Salvia involucrata 'Bethellii' in having stems that are more lax and an earlier bloom time.

    Thanks go to North Carolina Salvia guru Richard Dufresne, who collected this plant in Mexico.

    Growing up to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, it makes a fine screen or background planting, such as at the back of borders.

    Use this sage where you want a bold, strong statement. We like to pair it with Salvia mexicana varieties for contrasting color and foliage and the ornamental grass Stipa arundinacea 'Sirocco.'

    10.50
  • Salvia karwinskii

    (Karwinski's Sage) From moist mountain areas in Mexico and Central America, this rugged, winter-blooming shrub is found in oak or pine forests at altitudes of 4,000 to 8,000 feet. This may account for this winter bloomer producing a few bright red flowers during short periods of freezing weather with temperatures as low as 20 degrees F.

    Speaking of color, the flowers of Karwinski's Sage vary from rose red and scarlet to brick red. Hummingbirds love them all. Our clone is a clear, hot, orange red.

    The plant's leaves are pebbly and large -- up to 6 inches long -- with cream-colored hairs on the underside. Size is another dramatic aspect of this plant, which can grow up to 10 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Due to this generous size, it helps to plant Karwinski's Sage in a spot where it is protected against chill and winds. A south-facing wall is ideal. It makes a good screen or background planting, but can also be grown in a large patio container.

    To encourage upright, compact growth, periodically remove some of the flowering branches. Or you can prune the plant down to a few active growth nodes once a year at the end of its winter flowering season when it appears there will be no more frost.

    This sage is named for German botanist Baron Wilhelm Friedrich Karwinski von Karvin who explored Mexico in the early 19th century.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia karwinskii 'Red Form'

    (Karwinski's Sage) From moist mountain areas in Mexico and Central America, this rugged, winter-blooming shrub is found in oak or pine forests at altitudes of 4,000 to 8,000 feet. This may account for this winter bloomer's ability to produce some bright, brick-red flowers even during short periods of freezing weather with temperatures as low as 20 degrees F.

    Speaking of color, the reds of Karwinski's Sage vary, but hummingbirds love them all. This variety was originally collected by the San Francisco Botanical Garden.

    The plant's leaves are pebbly and large -- up to 6 inches long -- with cream-colored hairs on the underside. Size is another dramatic aspect of this plant, which can grow up to 10 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Due to this generous size, it helps to plant Karwinski's Sage in a spot where it is protected against chill and winds. A south-facing wall is ideal. It makes a good screen or background planting, but can also be grown in a large patio container.

    To encourage upright, compact growth, periodically remove some of the flowering branches. Or you can prune the plant down to a few active growth nodes once a year at the end of its winter flowering season when it appears there will be no more frost.

    This sage is named for German botanist Baron Wilhelm Friedrich Karwinski von Karvin who explored Mexico in the early 19th century.

    10.50
  • Salvia x 'Mr. Jules'

    (Mister Jules Hybrid Sage) Long, dark, velvety stems contrast dramatically with the deep red flowers of this hybrid, spreading sage from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Arboretum.

    The parent plants are Mexican Winter Sage (Salvia holwayi) -- a superior, spreading groundcover or sprawling shrub -- and Cardinal Sage (S. fulgens), which is an upright shrub with large, deep red flowers.

    Not well known in the nursery trade, this is a fine choice for great winter color and hummingbird habitat in mild climates.  It grows well in full sun to partial shade when given average watering based on local conditions.

    We consider Mister Jules one of the best sages for covering large areas and providing a bright spot during the dark days of winter. Its flower spikes are also pretty additions to cut-flower bouquets.

    Highly recommended.

     

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia disjuncta

    (Southern Mexican Sage) With its graceful, shrubby habit, purplish green leaves and intense tomato-red blooms, this herbaceous perennial makes a delightful display in your garden. It begins blooming in October and continues sporadically through the winter and into spring in frost-free areas.

    Collected by Strybing Arboretum botanists in the late 1980s, it is native to high elevations (7,500-11,000 ft.) in the Mexican provinces of Oaxaca and Chiapas as well as in Guatemala. This is a true cloud-forest sage that best loves a planting location with morning sun and afternoon shade.

    For a medium-size plant with pleasing proportions by bloom time, cut stems back to a few inches above the ground in early spring. You'll be pleased to know that although honeybees and hummingbirds love this sage, deer don't.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

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Getting Started: Salvias for New England

Getting Started: Salvias for New England


Category: Getting Started with Salvias
Posted: Apr 30, 2015 11:21 AM
Synopsis: Some people think you only find sage and coyotes out West. But Canis latrans, the Eastern Coyote, slipped into New England in the 1930s, and who knows when all the sages arrived? The New England Wild Flower Society notes that Lyreleaf Sage (Salvia lyrata) is the region's only native sage. It's one among many Salvia species grown in the Botanic Garden of Smith College in Massachusetts, which has one of the largest collections of sage in the region. Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery raises hundreds of sages, including many northeastern favorites.
Getting Started: Annual, Perennial and Shrub Sages

Getting Started: Annual, Perennial and Shrub Sages


Category: Getting Started with Salvias
Posted: Feb 5, 2015 06:11 PM
Synopsis: For beautiful floral display and refreshing greenery, every yard needs a combination of annual bedding plants, perennials and shrubs. Salvias provide a feast of landscaping possibilities. Flowers by the Sea explains all the different types of Salvias, including subshrubs, biennials and tree-like Salvias
Sage Experts: Meet Huntington Gardens Curator Kathy Musial

Sage Experts: Meet Huntington Gardens Curator Kathy Musial


Category: Sage Experts
Posted: Jul 19, 2014 08:31 AM
Synopsis: The Sage Experts series focuses on Salvia specialists — both amateurs and professionals -- in settings ranging from botanic gardens to universities. Kathy Musial, curator of live collections at Southern California's Huntington Gardens, is the subject of this profile. If you imagine a great dinner party involving lots of garden talk, Kathy Musial would be an ideal guest who could share her experiences plant trekking in Australia and Chile or co-managing some 14,000 varieties of plants at Huntington.
Sage Words about Wildlife: 4 Seasons of Hummingbird Salvias

Sage Words about Wildlife: 4 Seasons of Hummingbird Salvias


Category: Sage Words About Wildlife
Posted: Apr 25, 2014 05:51 PM
Synopsis: Regional differences in seasonal temperature and humidity affect the choice of Salvias to plant in hummingbird gardens. The varying seasons in which particular sages bloom and the part of the world where they originated also determine whether they attract hummingbirds. Flowers by the Sea offers suggestions based on regions and seasons.
I like Amstiad

Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.


  1. Go tubular. Hummingbirds need tubular flowers that are easy for long, thin beaks to access.
  2. Provide lots of color. Think of yourself as a cafeteria manager who needs to provide many tempting choices in order to attract business. Red, pink, orange and purple sages are particularly powerful hummingbird magnets.
  3. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based not only on color but also a broad span of bloom times. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons. Numerous winter-blooming species are available for areas that are home to hummingbirds year round.
  4. Grow sages native to the Western Hemisphere. Although hummingbirds will take advantage of many kinds of tubular flowering plants, these tiny birds are native to the Western Hemisphere and prefer flowering plants native to their half of the world.
  5. Select Salvia companion plants. Hummingbirds appreciate a variety of favorite tubular-flowered plants.
  6. Plant hummingbird gardens near cover. Trees and bushes surrounding feeding areas provide protection from predators and chilly, rainy weather.
  7. Don't use pesticides. Insects provide protein for hummingbirds, so don't kill these food sources.
  8. Provide water. Hummingbirds frolic in misters and shallow birdbaths.
  9. Supplement plantings with feeder tubes. Change the sugar water every few days and don't add food coloring. Keep the feeders clean, but don't scrub them with soaps or detergents. Here is more feeder care information.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about hummingbirds.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

Fragrance as well as color attracts butterflies. However, they don't have noses. Instead, butterflies smell and taste with their antennas and feet. Here are some ways to attract them:


  1. Plant sages with platform-type blossoms. Unlike hummingbirds, butterflies can't hover while feeding. Sages with large lower lips and short nectar tubes, such as those in the Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla) group, give butterflies a place to stand while gathering nectar and pollen.
  2. Provide lots of color and sunlight. Butterflies need to stay warm and are attracted to a broad range of flower colors.
  3. Include native species. Insects and plants have co-evolved to meet each other's needs within their native regions. Butterflies prefer feeding on their local, native perennials and shrubs.
  4. Grow Caterpillar Host Plants. Butterflies need baby nurseries. Some are extremely picky about the plants on which they lay eggs, such as Monarchs, which need milkweeds (Asclepias spp.). The North American Butterfly Association is a good source of information about host plants.
  5. Don't use pesticides. They kill many beneficial insects, including butterflies.
  6. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based on bloom times as well as color and shape. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons.
  7. Provide puddles. Butterflies stay hydrated by splashing in puddles located in sunny spots on the ground or raised up in shallow birdbaths. Include rocks for basking; butterflies need to dry and warm their wings.
  8. Plant butterfly gardens near shelter. Butterflies need to be able to flee into trees, shrubbery and woodpiles when predators appear and when windy or rainy weather occurs.
  9. Supplement plantings with rotten fruit. Some butterflies love the juice of rotting fruit even more than nectar.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about butterflies.

Hey, got any greens?

If you live in suburbs or rural areas where deer plunder gardens, Salvias (sages) can be part of your plan for discouraging these hungry visitors. Here are some tips.


  1. Mask smells that deer like with aromatic sages. Deer and other members of the Cervidae family, such as elk, mostly leave Salvias alone. One theory is that they don't like the fragrance or taste of sage chemicals. Strategically planting sages near vegetable gardens or fruit trees -- elixir to deer -- may prevent consumption.
  2. Grow hedges including Salvias. Prickly hedges, including hairy-leafed Salvias and exceptionally thorny roses, can discourage deer from entering your yard. They don't like the mouth-feel of those textures. Tall hedges also hide strawberry beds and other yummy plantings from view.
  3. Don't overplant one species. Grow a variety of Salvias in case local deer take an unexpected liking to one species of sage.
  4. Fence deer out. Install electric fences or 8-foot wood or metal fences around particularly vulnerable areas. Make sure electric fencing is turned on during the peak feeding seasons of early spring and late fall.
  5. Use motion-detection tools. Install outdoor lighting that is activated by movement.
  6. Let the dogs out. Deer are especially wary of large dogs.
  7. Surround and cover. Wrap tough plastic around the trunks of trees that have tasty bark and cover foliage with bird netting when trees and bushes are fruiting.
  8. Change yard ornaments periodically. Objects such as scarecrows, statuary and cordons of monofilament string with strips of shiny foil attached cause deer to shy away.
  9. Make safe choices. Research repellants you plan to use to make sure they aren't poisonous.
  10. Be flexible and ready to share a bit. There is no such thing as a completely deer-resistant garden.