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 You are here    Flowers by the Sea / Salvias A to Z / Salvia x 'Betsy's Choice'

Salvia x 'Betsy's Choice'

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(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 long, royal purple flowers. Hummingbirds do as well.

Price: $11.50
Out of stock
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.
Common name
This is the non-scientific name used for a plant. A plant may have several common names, depending on the gardener's location. To further confuse the matter, a common name may be shared by several completely different plants. At Flowers by the Sea, we rely on the scientific name to identify our plants and avoid confusion.
Betsy's Choice Sage
USDA Zones
The U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones indicate the temperature zones where a plant is likely to thrive. It is determined by the average annual winter minimum temperature. Actual winter temperatures may be higher or lower than the average.
8 - 11
Size (h/w/fh)
The anticipated mature size of the plant: Height, Width & Flower Height.
48"+/60"+/60"+
Exposure
This is the average amount of sunlight that a plant needs to thrive. Generally, full sun exposure is 6 or more hours of direct sun daily while partial shade is less than 4 hours of sun or dappled shade all day. Plants may tolerate more sunlight in cooler climates and need afternoon shade in extremely hot climates.
Full sun to partial shade
Soil type
This is the kind of soil that a plant needs to thrive. Most plants require a well-drained soil that allows the water to soak into the soil without becoming soggy. Sandy and clay soils can be improved by digging in compost to improve drainage.
Well drained
Water needs
Plants have specific water requirements. Water loving means the plant needs regular watering to keep the soil moist. Average generally indicates applying 1 inch of water per week, or watering when the soil is dry to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. One inch of water is equal to 5 gallons per square yard of soil surface.
Average
Pot size
This is the size of the pot your plant will arrive in.
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?
"Yes" indicates that this plant can be successfully grown as a container plant.
Yes
Hummingbird plant?
Hummingbirds have been observed regularly feeding from this plant's flowers.
Yes
  • Salvia x 'Betsy's Choice'
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(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').