Salvia oxyphora: an unusual sage
Salvia oxyphora is a really unusual sage from Bolivia. It is a wonderful summer bloomer, and should do well as a temperennial in the northern US and a spring and summer bloomer in the south. I expect it to have perhaps zone 8 hardineaa.
I got a couple of rooted cuttings from Scot Zona last June, and they grew very well throughout the 90 degree summer, as long as they were well fed and watered. I was too busy propagating them to leave many flowering stems develop. The plants would come to a halt when the roots filled the pot they were in, which was rather soon. The roots formed a dense mass, with not many trunk roots visible. Lower eaves would yellow and drop off. Growth would resume quickly when repotted with potting soil containing slow-release fertilizer. It took summer heat as well as S. miniata, a low mountain sage from Chiapas and Belize.
From this, I've determined that in the southern states, it needs to be planted best in some shade in a well-drained soil with ample humus. It will be a thirsty plant.
In the north, it needs the same soil, but will need more sun. It should make a splendid container plant.
It is unusual in not setting seed in the wild. Although it is widely distributed in ten spots, the populations are small. It may persist by the mechanism I've inferred from its beahior under cool, damp conditions:
Cuttings root very quickly during warm to hot weather. With small plants done going into winter, the tops break off easily at the nodes, even from the pressure from a hard watering. The emergency cuttings stay turgid, even in a flat with other sages like S. leucantha, which tend to wilt and damp off some. These cuttings are not getting bottom heat. The pots that have lost their tops come back from the lower nodes, but need to be kept dryish and in full sun. In order to come back, they need to be fairly well established in the pots.
I infer that the populations may maintain themselves by having growing tips shatter off in seasonal rains, then get washes downstream to a location where they lodge in loose vegetation, then persist until they root.
It would be interesting to see how they are distributed around streams and flood plains in the wild.