Salvia leucantha (Mexican Salvia) in pots?

toffee-el(Z8b Sunset Z13 Elev 4650ft)October 19, 2012

Anyone in AZ desert grow Mexican bush sage in pots? Should they be in full sun or part shade? How big a pot should one use?

Thanks for helping.

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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Interesting ... no, I haven't grown them in pots, I grew them in the ground where I was surprised to find them not as xeric as some other salvias.

Considering that they are grown in nursery pots before you get them, I would suppose they'd be fine. I wish I could give you a better report, and I would love to hear how yours do.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 10:32AM
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toffee-el(Z8b Sunset Z13 Elev 4650ft)

Hi Pagancat - I have never planted in pots also but is thinking of trying. The thing is that if they need full sun to thrive, then potting may not work as the pots under full sun gets real hot. Not sure if Mexican sage can handle warm roots?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 1:24PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Well... I have two thoughts on that. >smileI do know that they'll take some shade, and as with most plants in the desert, they'll probably thank you for making it shade in the afternoon, sometime between 12-5pm. The ones I had in the ground got nothing after 1:00 or so.

Before filling pots with soil, I take some of the sheets of styrofoam that you get in packing - about 1"thick, and place them around the wall of the pot where the sun is the strongest. I tend to think the soil gets pretty warm *any* way, but it does help some.

I say try it, see where you get!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 5:24PM
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toffee-el(Z8b Sunset Z13 Elev 4650ft)

Good idea pagancat. Guess I could also put a 15g inside those big planters of mine, then fill the gap with fiberglass insulation. This way I trade root area for a few degrees of temp.

Even with insulation, if the surrounding temp is 115deg and direct sun, the roots would still be 120+ as oppose to 80 or 90deg in-ground.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 11:43PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I use the method PC recommended, styrofoam. I would not use fiberglass; too many possible problems it seems to me. In addition to using the packing material that comes in sheets, the peanuts are good, too, and the large thick pieces work if you just tear them up into small chunks. I use the chunks in the bottom of pots to help with drainage.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 4:49PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Just a suggestion on the peanuts - secure them in a bag or something because they are a *@$*&!!! pain to get out of soil.

I agree about the fiberglass - assume that some day you will have to remove this stuff, and make sure it isn't something that you won't want to pull roots or soil from.

It's true about the heat - potted plants rarely do as well as those in the ground, nor do they live as long. The best way to keep the soil cool is mulches... even in a pot. I just overplant pots so the soil never sees the sun.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 1:16AM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Fun! I've been growing them in very large plastic pots (36 inches and 48 inches) and they've done great. Mine get afternoon shade in summer and full sun in winter. So far so good. I think they definitely benefit from some shade in summer, especially the pot. Let us know if you give them a try, and how it works out!

Here's a pic from mine when it had geraniums as companions over the winter. In summer it got vincas.

Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 9:22PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Oh Grant, that's so pretty!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 1:27PM
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