Best protection plans for over wintering Salvia greggii

hybridsageJanuary 4, 2010

We have not had weather like this in years.

We are predicted to go into the upper teens(in town).

away from the cities possibly single digits.

How do you folks in the north manage your greggii's in the ground?Does watering before help? We are expecting some

Ice mostly over night for a few nights but temps stay in the 30's for about 4 day's


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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

I have mine in pots that I am keeping in a cold frame. The plexiglass sash is covered with Tyvek for really cold nights. I have even kept subtropical sages and citrus bushes with well-managed cold frames.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 12:28PM
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They are much tougher than you might think. Last year we had several periods down to the mid single digits and still had a reasonable survival rate. If anyone is interested I could look for my spring notes for 2009 - I noted survival percentages on more than a dozen cultivars. I often don't mulch at all but when I do I want something fast draining that won't mat down - hardwood bark, woodchips, whatever is free. Three or four inches can really make a difference. I also suspect that the longer the freeze continues the more deadly it is. In years when night temperatures don't fall for long below the mid teens survival rates can be very high. Even in those years some cultivars have no surviving top growth and sprout from the ground, often from stems layered the prior year. It is sure looking like this will be the second hard winter in a row. The thought of having to replace around 200 plants is depressing; it took years to get them all grown.

I think you can be especially confident in the survival of your Texas greggii, cultivars like Wild Thing are very tough.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 4:36PM
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desertsage(7b USDA Sunset 10)

I haven't had single digit cold, but it has been as cold as 15. All my S. greggii are evergreen, and even after some 20's early in October some are blooming sparsely.

"Native Plants for Southwestern Landscapes" by Judy Mielke says S.greggii is OK to 15 without damage, at 0 will die back to the ground but spout from the roots in Spring.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 5:03PM
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I agree with ward they are pretty tough. Ones that I have in the ground I do nothing, but I had a few young cutting plants that I blackbagged and put in the garage and keep it in the 40s and hope they will survive in that.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 9:39PM
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I'd just mulch them heavily, then move the mulch when temps rise again so rot doesn't set in.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 10:03PM
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Thank You guys I am just a little jumpy my garden is on tour this year. Plus this brings back memories of a 1989
when we were at 0 for a week and not much lived. But I
do appreciate the advice.I have some extra leaves I can put
on the beds to help insulate my tender stuff. My S "Purple
Magesty is in bloom and newly planted so it will need double the protection.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 8:51AM
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Purple Majesty never survived for me, but I am colder than you are - at least most years. A couple of years ago the nature center where we have some gardens couldn't get mulch until late January. Even though you can't run two experiments on the same place and plants it appeared that the late mulching worked since the survival rate that winter was very high. The conditions that really scare me is extended low temperatures combined with really wet conditions. It will nearly four months before I know much of anything.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 6:14AM
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It is supposed to get down in low single digits in Oklahoma City. Don't know if "Black & Blue" will survive, but I don't mind if it doesn't. It is a caterpillar (of the non-desirable type) in my garden, and every year they eat the tips of the leaves and many blooms, such that I get very little bloom at all. It blooms so little the hummers virtually ignore it.

Am more worried about my Ichang Lemon that has been in the ground for 4 years now, but still relatively small (4') so covered it with sheets.

Did I mention I don't like these cold temps? We had 14" of snow Christmas Eve!


PS - I got Bustani's 2010 catalog today!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 5:44PM
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Went down to 16 (F) the good news is we go above freezing
today(43) then 20 tonight. I will keep everyone posted on how things went being it is to early to tell.This set a new record low, the previous one is from 1963 19 was the
temperature.My rainwater storage is frozen also.I know wantonmara is colder than we are here.Should be interesting to see what survived on the thin rocky soils
she has.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 10:41AM
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desertsage(7b USDA Sunset 10)

This has been a wacky fall/winter. The National weather service called for a 35 degree night. We had almost 60 daytime temps a gentle breeze and cloud cover. So it sounds good I think I will leave my plants uncovered. Next AM and it is 26. S.leucanthas tender new shoots are looking OK so I think I am good to go.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 1:15PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I was so busy protecting my aloes that I didn't protect all of my Salvias. The greggiis are from west Texas so they are on their own. I think I threw some leaves on my mexican salvias but the S madrensisnor, involcrata, hotlips had no help. Hell, I was protecting my sago palms, newly planted agaves, cactus, Vegetable garden, everything. Days of moving pots, seeding flats, mulch, hay, frost cloths, chaise lawn cushions, moving blankets. styrofoam doggy plates... Meanwhile I am trimming 4 acres of trees, so things are pretty busy here.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 7:29PM
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Microphylla Hot Lips has a good survival rate up here in zone 6b/7a and even involucrata will survive some years so I bet your plants will be fine. A hard winter will set back the bloom time of microphylla and greggii. Shoots on old wood will sometimes bloom as early as April or early May here while shoots from the crown can take a month or more longer to set flowers. I suspect that how long the extreme cold lasts is nearly as important as how low the actual temperatures get - within reason. The old stems on my plants seem to slowly die back as the winter progresses. A couple of years ago we had a wonderfully warm March and the sages came through like champs. The Cherry Queen patch was in bloom by the first week in April and the first greggii "Wild Thing" followed about 2 weeks later. By contrast, last year we had several periods of extreme cold, including several lows around 8 degrees in March. Several cultivars suffered high loses and several others survived,including Hot Lips, but failed to thrive, growing to less than half their normal size.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 8:47AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

We got to 12 ish out here and the gregiis seem fine. Hotlips fine, some black leaf wilt on the HL. It will be a while before I see how the S leucantha and other Mexicans survived. I forgot to protect them also. Bummer. The Mexican oregano (polimintha longiflora) didn't even wilt or nothing. I bundled up dried red oak leaves at their base but the majority of the plant was out their in the elements. It s rated as Z9.There was no rhyme or rationale to what plants were covered and what weren't . I was a mad leaf throwing dervish and I seemed to go round and round in circles for days.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 5:30PM
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