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Salvia mexicana 'Ocampo'


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Salvia mexicana 'Ocampo'




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Description

(Ocampo Mexican Sage) Growing from 7 to 10 feet tall each year, this is the largest of our Mexican Sages. Yet due to its erect form, this sage only spreads 36 inches. It has large, deep violet flowers with almost black calyxes that rise up on tall spikes and dark green, heavily veined foliage.

Collected near the mountain valley town of Ocampo, this Salvia mexicana is native to Mexico's eastern Sierra Madre range in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas on the Gulf of Mexico.

In its homeland, Ocampo Mexican Sage grows on the edges of oak and pine forests. So it does well under tall, deciduous trees and at the margins of moist woodlands in USDA Zones 8 to 11 where it blooms in fall.

Give this hummingbird favorite well-drained, rich soil and regular watering. It works well as a screen or background planting or in tall borders and cut flower gardens. Container planting is fine, but limits height.

Details

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Common name  
Ocampo Mexican Sage
USDA Zones  
8 - 11
Size (h/w/fh)  
84"+/36"/84+"
Exposure  
Full sun to partial shade
Soil type  
Well drained & rich
Water needs  
Average
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
Yes
Our price
10.50

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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
84 inches tall+
84 inches tall+
36 inches wide
36 inches wide
Perennial
Perennial

Water Needs

Average water
Average water

Blooming Season

Fall blooming
Fall blooming

Wildlife

Deer resistant
Deer resistant
Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds
Ready for some pruning?

Deciduous, woody stem Salvias

These are species that produce woody stems, but die back to the ground in the winter in all but the warmest climates. In warm winter areas these can become woody shrubs, but they generally benefit from the following pruning methods.

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

During the spring and summer, you can completely or partially remove any stems that have finished blooming and are becoming unsightly. This often stimulates fresh new growth and increased flowering


Dormant Season Pruning

At the end of the growing season or after first frost, spent stems can be cut to the ground. Some gardeners in cold winter climates say that leaving 3 to 6 inches of the stems intact during the winter improves survivability. They remove the remaining stems before new growth begins in the spring. In warmer areas the stems may never completely die back, but should be cut to ground to allow for new growth.


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

  • Salvia mexicana 'Kelsi'

    (Variegated Mexican Sage) Although its deep violet flowers are compelling, it is the foliage of this sage that is its greatest attraction. Kelsi is full of surprises, including asymmetrical leaves that make this variety easy to identify.

    This is the best variety of Salvia Mexicana with variegations that wander from solid white to almost solid green and sometimes change mid-branch. The quality of the foliage can be improved by removing any branches that lose their variegation altogether.

    Kelsi needs partial shade. It is slow to grow and difficult to propagate, but a fascinating addition to a hummingbird garden. It is a good choice for containers, middle of border, cut-flower gardens and moist parts of the yard.

    15.00

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia mexicana 'Limelight'

    (Limelight Mexican Sage) The chartreuse green calyxes and deep violet flowers of this sage form an electric combination that lights up the partial shade garden from late summer through fall. The light gray-green leaves are a handsome finishing touch.

    The unusual foliage, mesmerizingly blue flowers and relatively large size of this sage makes it one of our most popular plants. Originally from Mexico's Queretaro Province, this cultivar was introduced to U.S. horticulture by Robert Ornduff of University of California at Berkeley in the late 1970s.

    10.50
  • Salvia mexicana x hispanica 'Byron Flint'

    (Byron's Mexican Sage) One of our favorite Mexican Sages, this large variety is reputed to be a hybrid between Salvia mexicana and S. hispanica -- a species of Chia Sage.

    Byron's Mexican Sage grows up to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Its large, fall-blooming flowers are deep violet with bi-color calyxes that are bright green with dark purple streaks. Hummingbirds and honeybees love the blossoms.

    Unlike its parent species, this plant is fragrant. It's also the strongest growing and longest blooming type of S. mexicana that we grow.

    We have found this variety to be exceptionally drought resistant, but it does best with regular watering. It also appreciates rich, well-drained soil. Grow this perennial as an accent, screen or part of a tall border. We've voted it our very best Salvia mexicana.

    10.50
  • Salvia x 'Raspberry Truffle'

    (Raspberry Truffle Sage) Hybrid sages with Big Mexican Scarlet Sage parentage (Salvia gesnerifolia) tend to have thick clusters of large, deep purple flowers supported by bracts that are almost black.

    Raspberry Truffle Sage is also related to another tallish Salvia, Mexican Sage (S. mexicana). Whereas Mexican Sage is a perennial with soft herbaceous growth, Big Mexican Scarlet Sage is shrubby.

    Bloomtime can vary depending on location. On our Northern California farm, Raspberry Truffle starts flowering in late fall, and continues through March. Our resident hummingbirds greatly appreciate its nectar during a season when flowers can be scarce. At other seasons, this sage is worth growing just for its foliage. Its leaves are thick, hairy and deeply veined -- deep green on top and velvety purple underneath.

    Raspberry Truffle grows as a shrub in mild climates and as an herbaceous perennial at the cold end of its range. It needs full sun, well-drained soil and moderate winter temperatures.

    Highly recommended and always in short supply!
    10.50
  • Salvia x guaranitica 'Costa Rica Blue'

    (Costa Rica Blue Sage) Although this handsome plant is often listed as an Anise Leaf Sage (Salvia guaranitica), we think it is a hybrid based on differences in its growth pattern and flowering season.

    Costa Rica Blue Sage is a long-blooming, vigorous plant that can reach up to 6 feet tall. It has large violet-blue flowers with purplish bracts and large, tropical-type leaves. Similar to Anise Leaf Sage, it is a hummingbird magnet.

    This is a sun-loving sage, but also grows well in partial shade in warm climates. Give it rich, well-drained soil and regular watering. Plant it in a spot where you want to make a bold statement.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia x guaranitica 'Jean's Purple Passion'

    (Jean's Purple Sage) If you are looking for a deep purple perennial for accenting an entryway or back of border in flower beds, Jean's Purple Passion may be the right choice.

    This spectacular hybrid crosses Anise Leaf Sage (Salvia guaranitica) and Big Mexican Scarlet Sage (S. gesnerifolia). Jean's Purple Passion most closely resembles Anise Leaf Sage, but has much larger flowers.

    Often starting its flowering cycle in June, this sage blooms until hard frosts send it into winter dormancy. It is so long blooming that we often send visitors home with bouquets of its fragrant flowers. Butterflies and hummingbirds are equally appreciative of its charms.

    Jean's Purple Passion prefers full sun, rich, well-drained soil, ample water and moderate winter temperatures. Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, developed it and named the hybrid for Jean Coria, a gardening enthusiast who propagated many Salvia species at San Francisco's Strybing Arboretum.

    We highly recommend the much improved Salvia guaranitica 'Purple Haze' as an alternative to this older variety.

    10.50
  • Anisacanthus wrightii

    (Texas Firecracker) Hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you with frequent visits if you add this long-blooming plant to your wildlife garden. Its bright orange trumpet-type flowers with long, narrow petals are wells of delicious nectar.

    Texas Firecracker is a subshrub, which means that it combines soft, herbaceous perennial foliage with some woodiness. It has slender, lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Trim it back in late winter for better form and fuller spring growth.

    Although related to the Bears Breeches genus (Acanthus), Texas Firecracker lacks the thorny sepals of those plants. Anisacanthus is Greek for "without thorns." Wrightii means that this native Texas species is named for American botanist Charles Wright (1811-1885) who, beginning in 1837, spent 15 years collecting extensively in Texas.

    This is a mid-height, heat-tolerant species that loves full sun. Texas Firecracker resists drought, but thrives with average watering based on local conditions. It does well in containers as well as mixed borders.

    For pyrotechnical color in the garden, mix it with the clear, pumpkin-orange flowers of Golden Flame Texas Firecracker (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii) and the crimson blossoms of Red Texas Firecracker ( Anisacanthus wrightii 'Select Red').

    Don't worry about deer; this plant isn't to their taste.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia mexicana var. minor

    (Little Mexican Sage) This low-growing sage is a shrub in its warmest zones and a perennial in the cooler ones. It's just right for small spaces or tiny gardens. Short and compact, its flowers are similar to but smaller than those of S. mexicana 'Limelight'.

    Little Mexican Sage has the broadest temperature tolerance of all the Salvia mexicana we grow, ranging from USDA Zones 7 to 11.

    Compared to our other varieties, some of which can rise up to 10 feet tall, Little Mexican Sage is also petite at a maximum of 30 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Even it 's gray-green leaves are smaller than those of the other varieties. They contrast handsomely with the sage's royal blue flowers, which bloom in fall.

    The size of this full-sun plant makes it a fine container choice for colder climates.  We also love Little Mexican Sage in perennial borders and along walkways. It needs well-drained ground, but is otherwise unpicky about its soil. We highly recommend this easy-to-grow plant.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia patens 'Guanajuato'

    (Guanajuato Giant Gentian Sage) At 3 inches long, the flowers of this Gentian Sage are the largest of any we grow. Guanjuato Giant is also unique for its tall, upright growth and heavily textured foliage.

    Spikes of deep, true blue flowers that rise up to 48 inches tall make this perennial sage a standout in the garden from summer into fall. This Gentian Sage is reliably perennial in USDA Zones 8 to 11. Its spectacular flowers also make it a fine choice as a summer bedding plant in areas with colder winters.

    Guanjuato Giant likes regular watering and rich, well-drained soil. It does fine in full sun or partial shade and can handle moist corners of the yard. Use it as a path edging, border, groundcover or container plant.

    German botanist Karl Hartweg discovered the Salvia patens species in 1838. British horticulturist Graham Stuart Thomas later called it "the best plant in cultivation."

    Although, true blue is not a part of the color spectrum that hummingbirds favor, they are attracted to Gentian Sages especially when mixed with red-flowered sages.

    10.50
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Book Review:  The New Sunset Western Garden Book

Book Review: The New Sunset Western Garden Book


Category: Book Reviews
Posted: Sep 20, 2013 11:48 AM
Synopsis: On a day when it's too cold or hot to be outside, a gardening guide, such as The New Sunset Western Garden Book, is a useful and entertaining companion. At 768 pages long, it isn't lightweight reading. Be prepared to prop the book up on pillows in your lap as you page through it while kicking back on the couch.
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.
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.