Technology isn't the only field where change is constant. Horticulture is dynamic; new plants are constantly being introduced. Selecting the best of the best can be daunting even if you are primarily dealing with one genus. Make that one huge genus, because there are about 900 species of true sages, or Salvias, worldwide.
We do our best to help you sample the Salvia world, including new varieties of sage species and companion plants. Our New at FBTS articles detail introductions to our catalog; some are brand new to commercial horticulture and others are simply new additions to our gardens. Please contact us if you would like to share your experience with these plants or other introductions.
Bright orange, tube-shaped blossoms cover Cuphea x 'David Verity' like tiny windsocks blowing in a breeze and beckoning hummingbirds. Similar to Salvias, Cupheas are rich sources of nectar that fuel hummingbird migration. At Flowers by the Sea, we are always interested in expanding choices for creating wildlife habitat. So we are growing a wide variety of Cupheas for sale this coming spring, including David Verity.
A 'mass of scarlet awesomeness' is one way that Denver Botanic Gardens Senior Curator Panayoti Kelaidis describes Vermilion Bluffs® Mexican Sage (Salvia darcyi 'Pscarl') at his Prairie Break website. Unlike so many Southwestern sages, Vermilion Bluffs is surprisingly cold hardy as well as being drought tolerant. Its common name is taken from the spectacular red bluffs of the Vermillion Basin Wilderness in Northwestern Colorado, an area redolent with the scent of sage on hot days. But the plant is native to the Nuevo Leon area of Mexico's eastern Sierra Madre Occidental mountains. The story of how its parent plant arrived at Denver Botanic Gardens (DBG) and, eventually, at Flowers by the Sea is one of diaspora.
Viewing the creamy peach-pink and yellow of California Sunset Autumn Sage (Salvia x jamenis 'California Sunset') may remind you of a Georgia O'Keefe painting. Anyone who has viewed sunset dipping into the mountains of New Mexico knows that soft pastels are common to Southwestern sunsets. Similarly, subtle bicolored combinations of pastels are common characteristics of many S. x jamensis species, which are crosses between various Autumn Sages (Salvia greggii spp.) and Mountain Sages (Salvia microphylla spp.).
Salvia greggii 'Cold Hardy Pink', a variety of Autumn Sage, is made for Zone 5 winters. It tolerates conditions swinging from hot, dry summers to sub-zero winter temperatures. Pair it with Ultra Violet Sage (Salvia x 'Ultra Violet') for a tough yet lovely border.
Flowers by the Sea is selling "font-style: italic;">Salvia 'Amistad'. It was a mystery sage to University of Buenos Aires agronomy professor Rolando Uria when he encountered it at an Argentinian plant show in 2005. Discovering its extra-long-blooming characteristic along with the intense violet of its large blossoms, he began sharing it with friends and named it Friendship Sage.
In the Rocky Mountain West, conditions can swing from hellishly hot, dry summers to freezing cold winters. Many Southwestern Salvias are ideal for the sunbaked summers but have trouble surviving chilly Zone 5 winters. So we appreciate the cold hardiness as well as the drought resistance of one of our newest hybrid cultivars, Ultra Violet Hybrid Sage (Salvia lycioides x greggii ‘Ultra Violet’).