Available March to June only.
(Himalayan Gloxinia) Delicate, pink, trumpet blossoms with flared corollas top mid-green foliage on reddish-green stems. This tough, long-blooming plant is native to the Himalayas. Plant hunter Chris Chadwell collected our seeds in Nepal.
Arguta refers to the sharply notched edges of this gloxinia's glossy leaves. The genus name Incarvillea honors the Jesuit missionary, Pierre Nicolas Le Chéron d'Incarville (1706-1757), whose plant exploration in China initiated the worldwide popularity of many Chinese plants, including gloxinias.
The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies notes that d'Incarville was part of a group of advisors invited to China by Emperor Qianlong in 1739 to help cultivate European plants in his "Garden of Perfect Brightness." D'Incarville wasn't a formally trained botanist, but studied at the Paris Jardin du Roi for six months before leaving France for China, the country where he would eventually die.
Although Himalayan Gloxinia can tolerate weak fertility, it grows best in rich garden soil with full sun to partial shade. A location with morning sun and afternoon shade is best in areas with hot summers. Incarvillea arguta thrives with average watering based on local rainfall and loves supplemental watering as long as its soil doesn't become soggy.
Sometimes called Chinese Trumpet Flower, Himalayan Gloxinia is a reliable understory plant that also thrives in containers.
(Blue Black Mexican Sage) This spectacular and hardy native of Central Mexico is exciting to watch as new growth shoots upward rapidly from its root stock in spring. Its large, vibrant, purple-blue flowers bloom for about 10 months and are profuse from late autumn through winter on flower spikes up to 20 inches long.
Calyxes similar in color to the flowers they cup give this sage its scientific name, which means “of the same color.” Easy to grow in a partial shade location, this woodland plant is sometimes mistaken for Salvia guaranitica. However, it is a different species.
Blue Black Mexican Sage works well up against a fence or building that offers morning sun and afternoon shade as well as protection from wind. Plant it as a shrubby border, screen or container plant. It's ideal for moist areas.
This is our second article in a Quick Digs series about preparing for spring in Salvia (sage) gardens. It's easier to succeed at almost anything if you make plans and set goals before beginning a project. This is certainly true in Salvia gardening. Creating a gardening calendar ensures greater success in planning.
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.
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:
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.