|Zone||USDA Zone 9-11|
|Thriller||Salvia sp. SL411|
|Filler||Salvia x 'Ember's Wish'|
(Mystery Peruvian Sage) Airy spikes of fuzzy, bright orange-red flowers and grassy green calyxes mark this Peruvian sage as a mystery worth pursuing. Little is certain about its parentage.
The UK's leading Salvia expert, Robin Middleton, notes, at his Robin's Salvias website, that the University of Reading is studying SL411.
SL411 may be related to three kinds of Salvias, including striata, S. squalens or S. tubiflora.
Middleton says that it is the large leaves of SL411 that seem to connect it to S. squalens.
SL411 is a long-blooming, high-altitude sage that grows rapidly and easily in full sun to partial shade with rich but well-drained soil. It is a water-loving tender perennial that tolerates heat. Hummingbirds enjoy its nectar.
(Ember's Wish Sage) Bright coral-colored, tubular blossoms contrast handsomely with the deep maroon stems, rusty rose calyxes and mid-green foliage of Ember's Wish Sage.
Plant Growers Australia (PGA) discovered and developed this naturally occurring sport of Wendy's Wish Sage (Salvia x 'Wendy's Wish'), which is an accidental hybrid from the Victoria, Australia, garden of Salvia enthusiast Wendy Smith. Similar to its parent plant, Ember's Wish is popular with hummingbirds but not deer.
Smith found Wendy's Wish beneath S. mexicana 'Lolly'. However, its parentage is unknown. Some nearby sages it may be related to are Buchanan's Sage (S. buchananii), Scarlet Sage (S. splendens), Chiapas Sage (Salvia chiapensis) and Purple Majesty Sage (S. guaranitica 'Purple Majesty').
PGA decided that, as with Wendy's Wish, licensing of Ember's Wish would require that a portion of each sale benefit Australia's Make-a-Wish Foundation. A third member of the Wish Collection, Love and Wishes Sage, also aids the foundation in fulfilling the requests of Australia's seriously ill children.
The parents of two teenage siblings who died from a genetic disorder, Emma and Brett Shegog, won the right to name PGA's plant. They combined their children's first names to create "Ember."
In coastal areas with moderate temperatures, Ember's Wish grows well in full sun. However, it appreciates a bit of shade in hotter climates. Growing about waist-high, Ember's Wish is a floriferous plant that requires little to no deadheading of blossoms. Its combination of woody and soft herbaceous growth mark it as a subshrub.
Although this long-blooming sage does well with average irrigation based on local conditions, it appreciates plentiful watering with excellent soil drainage.
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.