(Silke's Dream Salvia) Large red-orange blossoms combine with heart-shaped, light green, heavily veined leaves in this large, long-blooming sage. It's a subshrub, which means it is a perennial that combines soft, herbaceous growth with some woodiness.
Horticulturist Art Petley discovered this accidental cross of Salvia darcyi and Salvia microphylla in an Austin, Texas, garden. Salvia microphylla is native to the American Southwest and grows throughout Mexico. In contrast, Salvia darcyi is from northeastern Mexico where Texas plant explorers Carl Schoenfeld and John G. Fairey of Yucca Do Nursery collected it in the Galeana area of Nuevo Leon.
Although not as cold tolerant as its related hybrid, Vermilion Bluffs® Mexican Sage (Salvia darcyi 'Pscarl'), Silke's Dream thrives in a broad range of USDA zones. It is a full-sun sage that tolerates heat and drought, but appreciates average watering based on your local conditions.
Trim back Silke's Dream after its first round of bloom for a reprise of profuse blossoms in autumn. Honeybees and hummingbirds love its nectar and pollen.
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.
(Vermilion Bluffs® Mexican Sage) The brilliant red flowers of Vermilion Bluffs bloom abundantly from August to October. This variety of the Mexican native Salvia darcyi is cold hardy to Zone 5b at altitudes up to 5,500 feet.
Salvia darcyi comes from Mexico's eastern Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range where it grows at altitudes up to 9,000 feet. Denver Botanic Gardens developed Vermilion Bluffs to withstand the colder winter weather of the Rocky Mountain region. It is a welcome substitute for Salvia microphylla or Salvia x jamensis , which struggle in cold weather.
This sun-loving sage likes loamy soil. Plant it in shrubby borders, dry flower gardens and containers. Its underground runners form a tough mat that blocks weeds.
The wrinkly, soft green foliage forms a graceful mound that glows against the bright flowers, which attract butterflies and hummingbirds. After frost, the foliage dies to the ground like an herbaceous perennial. Then it returns in spring.
We can't help but highly recommend this easy-care plant.
Vermilion Bluffs is a registered trademark of Plant Select.
(Elk Pomegranate Autumn Sage) We're proud to say that this is an FBTS cultivar. It is one of the finest dark flowered, compact Autumn Sage varieties we have seen. Its extraordinarily large, raspberry blossoms bloom from spring into fall.
The large, luxuriant leaves are a bright Kelly green as are the stems and calyxes. Although it does well in full sun, it especially thrives in morning sun and afternoon shade. This heat-tolerant, drought-resistant sage is ideal in patio containers and along borders. It's also just the right size and look for a dry garden groundcover.
We aren't the only ones that love it. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds frequently visit our Elk Pomegranate plantings. They highly recommend it and so do we.
(Texas Wedding White Autumn Sage) This is our best white-flowered Autumn Sage. It is compact, hardy and blooms abundantly. We love it as a contrast to the generally bright colors of its group. Texas Wedding seems to always be blooming, with massive displays in spring and fall.
The flowers are small but so profuse that they seem to outnumber the leaves.
This variety of Salvia greggii makes a great, small-scale groundcover when each plant is spaced two feet apart. Although it tolerates some shade -- especially in hot climates -- it needs full sun. Good drainage is another necessity, but it doesn't require much watering.
Texas Wedding is reliably hardy to 10 degrees F, but can tolerate colder temperatures with mulching. Here's some other good news: Deer don't much care for it.
(Golden Girl Sage) Sages can be such tough plants. Many, such as Salvia 'Golden Girl', withstand heat and drought yet have delicate looking blossoms. Golden Girl features yellow flowers with a hint of rosy pink along with dark rose calyxes.
Suncrest Nurseries of Watsonville, California, developed Golden Girl. It is part of Suncrest's Western Dancer™ series, which contains hybrids of Southwestern species including Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla) and Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii). Suncrest Salvias are bushy, sun-loving plants. This one is compact and petite.
Golden Girl's leaves are mid-green. Suncrest Salvia foliage differs in color and leaf shape from one hybrid to another. However, all have larger leaves than those of Autumn Sage. Their leaves also are veined like those of Mountain Sage.
Similar to other members of the Autumn Sage-Mountain Sage group, Goden Girl needs little watering when established. Until then, provide average watering based on local conditions. This may mean no watering at all if your region has regular rainfall during the planting season.
(Kudos Mandarin Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of creamy orange flowers are accented by deep green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Mandarin is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety.
Agastaches are ideal companion plants for Salvias and beneficial choices for attracting butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. Similar to so many members of the mint family (Lamiaceae) -- such as sages -- they thrive in low-fertility soils, but need excellent drainage.
Kudos Mandarin is a fragrant, long-blooming Agastache developed by Oregon's Terra Nova Nurseries.
Most Agastaches are native to the Southwest and Northern Mexico. These are the most heat- and drought-tolerant members of the genus. In contrast, some species -- such as the Asian Agastache rugosa -- can handle more moisture and colder winters.
By crossing Southwestern species with varieties of Agastache rugosa, you gain the best of both types as in the Kudos Series. This one grows well in USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 5. Kudos Agastaches are more tidy and upright, floriferous, long flowering and weather-resistant than most Agastaches. Their non-browning calyces create long-lasting color that endures even when blossoms are gone.
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.
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.