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Salvia x 'Betsy's Choice'


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Salvia x 'Betsy's Choice'

  • Very large flowers


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 growing purple flowered summer blooming sage.

Shipping Information
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Description

(Betsy's Choice Sage) Life and botany have their beautiful mysteries. Betsy's Choice Sage is one of them. We aren't certain of the parentage or history of this tall, attractive, fast-growing sage. However, we are certain that we love its tubular, royal purple flowers. Hummingbirds do as well.

Some say that it is a cross between a Salvia guaranitica and a Salvia fulgens. Some hint at a S. gesnerifolia connection by comparing it to S. x 'Jeans Purple Passion'. Others draw comparisons between Betsy's Choice and S. Amistad which may possibly be related to S. guaranitica.

On first impression, it does look like S. guaranitica. However, the leaves of Betsy's Choice are much larger and brighter; its nodes, or rooting points, are much farther apart. As to Amistad -- another South American species -- Betsy's Choice is far larger and much faster growing.

Another question is whether Betsy's Choice is the same plant as Salvia 'Betsy's Purple', which garden designer Bob Hyland of Portland wrote about for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 2003.

Information about the connections between Salvia species can be tantalizingly elusive. Our answer to all this botanical guesswork is that we don't have any answers.

What we do know is that this shoulder-high, long-blooming, water-loving perennial is heat tolerant and grows well in full sun or partial shade. And here's a footnote discovered at the Sweetbay garden website: Betsy's Choice looks terrific with a backdrop of Pink Muhly Grass ( Muhlenbergia 'Pink Flamingos').

Details

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In stock
Out of stock

Common name  
Betsy's Choice Sage
USDA Zones  
8 - 11
Size (h/w/fh)  
48"+/60"+/60"+
Exposure  
Full sun to partial shade
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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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
Heat tolerant
Heat tolerant
Partial shade
Partial shade

Garden Uses

Container plant
Container plant

Growing Habit

8 - 11
8 - 11
48 inches tall+
48 inches tall+
60 inches wide+
60 inches wide+
Perennial
Perennial

Water Needs

Average water
Average water
Water loving
Water loving

Blooming Season

Fall blooming
Fall blooming
Summer blooming
Summer blooming

Wildlife

Deer resistant
Deer resistant
Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds
Ready for some pruning?

Deciduous or semi-evergreen, soft stem Salvias

These are species whose stems never develop a woody character and that either die to the ground or loose leaves and become unsightly at the end of a growing season. This group includes both hardy and tender types. Many of the tender forms are grown as annuals in cold winter areas.

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 cut to the ground any stems that have finished blooming and are becoming unsightly.

In mild climate areas, growth can be so rapid that the entire plant becomes messy and spent mid-way through the season. In this case, it can be cut back close to the ground – given a short “haircut”. The result usually is fresh, vigorous new growth and another round of flowering.




Dormant Season Pruning

At the end of the growing season or after the first frost the spent stems can be completely removed, cut to the ground. Often these are a tangled mess, and one can get great satisfaction by cutting them all off. This also facilitates good garden sanitation, and will help to control pests over the winter.


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

  • Cuphea x 'Kristen's Delight'

    (Kristen's Delightful Cigar Plant) Hummingbirds and butterflies love Cupheas. Kristen's Delightful Cigar Plant is a spectacularly colorful hybrid that is also a magnet for gardeners who love the pastels and abundance of its bicolor flowers.

    Kristen's blossoms and those of many Cupheas are likened to cigars due to their cylindrical shape, bright coloring and fringed openings that end in a lighter color -- such as Kristen's white tips -- giving the flower an ashy look. However, this plant also bears similarities to "bat-face" Cupheas, due to tiny lavender petals that emerge from the tips and look like ears.

    San Francisco's Strybing Arboretum notes that the floral structure of a Cuphea often is referred to as a calyx flower, because its calyx and flower are one rather than being separate.

    Lance-shaped, blue-green leaves cover the slender stems of this Cuphea, which has both woody and soft herbaceous growth. Overall there are 260 species of Cupheas and most are native to Mexico, South America, the Caribbean and parts of the American South.

    Kristen's Delightful Cigar Plant is long blooming in moderate climates where it grows well in full sun to partial shade. In areas with cooler winters, it works well as a houseplant or seasonal bedding choice.

    Outdoors, this heat-tolerant plant is a fine edging or container choice as well as groundcover. Although it thrives with average watering based on local conditions, this is a water-loving Cuphea and can serve as a solution in moist areas of your yard.

    10.50
  • Kniphofia 'Pineapple Popsicle'

    (Pineapple Popsicle Hot Poker) This genus has become very popular in the last few years - for good reason. They feed hummingbirds and butterflies. And this superior variety from Oregon's TerraNova Nurseries is compact, free blooming and amazingly hardy.

    In 2011 and 2012 we grew dozens of the new Kniphofia varieties, and only a few stood out from the pack. We love this one for its bright, neutral color that goes with anything. One of our nursery friends in Portland, Oregon said that it continued to bloom through January, even though the foliage was covered with a foot of snow.

    We don't grow many non-Salvias, and when we do it has to be special. This is one of those very, very good new plants. A must have plant.

    11.50
  • Salvia 'Amistad'

    (Friendship Sage) Thank you Rolando Uria of the University of Buenos Aries for this very fine plant. Discovered in 2005 at a plant show in Argentina, this truly unique hybrid sage has generated a great deal of excitement in the Salvia world. We are happy to be able to offer this plant which we test grew in 2012 for sale in the Spring of 2013.

    Rolando Uria at the Salvia Summit II

    Growing to about four feet tall, this variety starts blooming when very small and never stops. Large rich royal purple flowers are highlighted dark bracts - all displayed on many-flowered inflorescence. The foliage is something like S. guarantica and something like S. mexicana, but it's true origins are unknown.

    According to Rolando (pictured here at the Salvia Summit II in March 2013) this plant is replacing Salvia guarantica in the gardens of Buenos Aires. It resembles some of the purple Anise Scented Sages, but is an absolutely unique plant.

    A true hummingbird magnet, use this fine plant as a specimen, in mass for bedding, in a container or in the perennial border. The true temperature hardiness of Amistad is still imperfectly understood, but the plant has handled 20 degree weather for us.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

    New!
  • Salvia guaranitica 'Black & Blue'

    (Black & Blue Anise-Scented Sage)  Hummingbirds go crazy for this variety of Salvia guaranitica. The black calyxes contrast handsomely with the rich, royal blue flowers.

    Grow this variety as an aromatic border plant in full sun and well drained soil.  It appreciates regular moisture and fertile soil, but can survive moderate stress from shortages of either.  The thick dahlia-like tuberous roots, which survive well into Zone 7, are reliable and long lived.

    In case you are unfamiliar with anise, it smells like licorice.

    We highly recommend the much improved Salvia BODACIOUS 'Rhythm and Blues' as an alternative to this older variety.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia mexicana 'Russell's Form'

    Expect rapid, tall growth from this Salvia Mexicana . In the ground, Russell’s Mexican Sage can reach up to 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide, providing an effective screen of dark green, heart-shaped foliage. By late autumn it’s bursting with flowers.

    Floriferous panicles of clear blue blossoms with green calyxes are a major attraction of this heat-tolerant sage. It does well in full sun to partial shade in USDA Zones 8 to 11. In cooler parts of its winter range, it may be best to grow this lush beauty in a large container beneficially positioned for protection from wind and cold. It freezes to ground when temperatures drop to 20 degrees F or a little bit higher and then returns the following spring. However, it generally grows to a shorter height in containers.

    Similar to Salvia involucrata and Salvia madrensis , Russell’s Mexican Sage is one of the Jack and the Beanstalk giants of the Salvia world. Occasional trimming controls growth and helps maintain the fullness of its symmetrical, bushy form.

    Give this perennial rich soils; it does well in mineral-rich clays as long as they drain well. In its native habitat of Central Mexico, it grows near the edge of forests and in open woods, which indicates a preference for partial shade. Although it only needs regular watering, it tolerates planting in areas that are steadily moist.

    Use it to back other plantings or to provide autumn spectacle in a perennial border or cut flower garden. And grow it to provide a bounteous meal for butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds at a season when other flowering plants are fading.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • 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

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia splendens ‘Sao Borja’

    (Sao Borja Scarlet Sage) Three-inch-long, smokey purple blossoms that bloom from spring to fall are a major clue that this heat-tolerant perennial is not your grandmother's Scarlet Sage.

    Even when grown as an annual, Salvia splendens 'Sao Borja' brings a tropical look to any garden by reaching an impressive height of 6 feet or taller in one season.

    This Brazilian native grows well in USDA Zones 9 to 11 where it is a tender perennial that may return yearly to the warmest parts of its range. 

    Sao Borja was discovered in the port city of Sao Borja, which is named after Spain's Saint Francis Borgia. The city is located on the Uruguay River, across from Argentina and in Rio Grande do Sul, which is the southernmost state of Brazil and borders the Atlantic coast.

    To succeed, Sao Borja Scarlet Sage needs partial shade all day or a combination of morning sun and afternoon shade. It also requires rich soil and ample water for a spring surge of growth that needs to be seen to be believed. Use it as a screen, an accent plant or in a container, which will limit size.

    Highly recommended.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia VIBE 'Ignition Purple'

    (Salvia VIBE® 'Ignition Purple') Purple once was a color reserved for royalty. Salvia VIBE® 'Ignition Purple' has deep royal purple flowers that are rare in a Jame Sage hybrid.  They bloom spring to fall for your enjoyment.

    This petite Jame Sage is cold hardy to USDA Zone 7. Use it as edging along a sunny walkway or in a mixed container planting. VIBE® Ignition Purple tends to spread and forms a lovely groundcover. VIBE® Ignition Purple is part of our series of Salvia x Jamensis hybrids called the Elk Rainbow Sages.™ This plant was originally released as Elk Phoenician Purple.

    Although heat tolerant and a sun lover, VIBE® Ignition Purple thrives with a bit of partial shade during severe heat. It is also drought-tolerant yet appreciates average watering based on local conditions. Don't forget to give it well-drained soil.

    Native to Mexico and the American Southwest, Jame Sages occur in areas where the closely related species of Autumn Sage ( Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla) meet, such as near the Village of Jame in Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains or in the test gardens of our Northern California farm. This parentage may include other species of sages as well, so these hybrids come in a broad range of sizes.

    The foliage of Jame Sages can favor any of their parent plants. VIBE® Ignition Purple has the glossy, veined leaves of a Mountain Sage. Its burgundy calyxes add to the plant's dramatic look.

    This is an ideal plant for a native garden. Its size and regal color make it a good choice for an outdoor fairy garden. Wherever you plant it, you can expect honeybees and hummingbirds.



    VIBE is a registered trademark of Flowers by the Sea.

    Visit the VIBE® Salvias website.

    Elk Rainbow Sage
    A Rainbow of Quality

    At Flowers by the Sea, we regularly develop new cultivars such as our hybrid series of Elk Rainbow Sages™, which are varieties of Jame Sage Hybrids (Salvia x jamensis) in a broad array of solids and bicolors ranging from pastels to brights. Attractive to hummingbirds and honeybees, they are lovely yet tough crosses that include Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla). The word Elk in the scientific and common names of the Elk Rainbow choices indicates that you are getting a sturdy, colorful, reliable repeat performer.

    10.50
    New!
  • Salvia x 'Elk White Ice'

    (Elk White Ice Jame Sage) Never before have we seen such a pure white among the species to which Jame Sages are related. We love this purity as well as the bright green calyxes supporting the large flowers of Elk White Ice and giving it an overall crisp look.

    You'll find whites, brights, pastels and bicolors among the Jame Sage hybrids. This vigorous variety is well adapted to the chill of winter conditions in USDA Zone 7. It is part of our Elk Rainbow Series.

    Native to Mexico and the American Southwest, Jame Sages occur in areas where the closely related species of Autumn Sage ( Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla) meet, such as near the Village of Jame in Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains or in the test gardens of our Northern California farm. This parentage may include other species of sages as well, which is why Jame Sages come in a broad range of sizes.

    The foliage of these hybrids can favor any of their parent plants. Elk White Ice has the tiny, smooth, oval-shaped leaves of the Autumn Sage side of its family. It is heat tolerant and loves full sun, but can take a bit of partial shade. Although drought-resistant, Elk White Ice appreciates average watering based on local conditions. Don't forget to give it well-drained soil.

    When in bloom, Elk White Ice reaches up to 30 inches tall. Mass this upright plant in in a native garden with other, taller Salvias.

    Elk Rainbow Sage
    A Rainbow of Quality

    At Flowers by the Sea, we regularly develop new cultivars such as our hybrid series of Elk Rainbow Sages™, which are varieties of Jame Sage Hybrids (Salvia x jamensis) in a broad array of solids and bicolors ranging from pastels to brights. Attractive to hummingbirds and honeybees, they are lovely yet tough crosses that include Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla). The word Elk in the scientific and common names of the Elk Rainbow choices indicates that you are getting a sturdy, colorful, reliable repeat performer.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

    New!
  • 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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A Community of Anise Scented Sages We Adore

A Community of Anise Scented Sages We Adore


Category: Everything Salvias Blog
Posted: Jan 27, 2017 04:07 PM
Synopsis: You might expect the foliage of a plant called Anise-Scented Sage (Salvia guaranitica) to smell robustly like licorice, which shares the same fragrance as anise. Some gardeners detect a hint of licorice after crushing a leaf, but many say the foliage merely smells sweet. These popular sages are native to Brazil where indigenous peoples used their leaves as a medicine. Flowers by the Sea grows many varieties in a wide range of sizes and flower colors
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.