S. Gauranitica Black & Blue bloom in the Northeast

penny1947(z6 WNY)January 21, 2005

one of my S. Black & Blues has sent up a large flower

spike with two buds getting ready to open up. I was just hoping to keep it alive until I can put it back out in the spring. What a wonderful pick-me-up this is especially since our temp.right now is 4 degrees F. (about -15 C.)

and about 12 inches of snow on the ground. Since it is starting to bloom and put on some new growth, should I start watering with a weak solution of fertilizer or continue with plain water until spring arrives? This is the first time overwintering a salvia inside the house.

penny

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wardw(z6 NJ)

Yes, they sometimes bloom. They can grow several feet inside the house without any help from fertilizer. The problem comes in May when it is time to put them out. Even here in south Jersey the tall tender shoots grown out of the weather are often damaged by May's cold winds, more than once I've ended up with some very messy plants. Not that you're likely to kill them, because if Black & Blue is nothing else, it tough and vigorous. Why not enjoy the winter blooms, then cut it down to 6 inches or a foot at planting time. Sure you'll lose the early bloom, but the plants will look a lot better later in the season.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2005 at 3:19PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Thanks wardw for your experience. Usually i only get replies from the folks down south and California which is fine but it is nice to know that I am not the only one here in the northeast that tries to overwinter tender perennials. actually this is the first time I have tried to overwinter my salvias and I have 7 of them that I am trying to keep going until spring 3 of them are Black and Blues and one is a new hybrid of my black & blue then I have 2 greggis and one microphylla all grown from seed last summer except the large one that is starting to rebloom

Penny

    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 8:07AM
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lboyce(Z5NY)

I bought the Black and Blue salvia this past summer. Little did I know I could have left it in the ground over the Winter if I mulched it heavily! I have the tubers in the basement and my theory is if I can leave it in the ground, then less work for me! I bet I dug up at least 100 tubers off from one plant. Do they reproduce after they are initially planted? I thought they were only annuals in my area and they had stopped flowering so I was digging them up to put in the compost bin! Good thing I saw the tubers!

Linda

    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 5:07PM
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wardw(z6 NJ)

I wouldn't count on their hardiness in zone 5. Some years here at the border of zone 6-7 they don't come back. As a hedge I always bring one plant inside. I've been thinking about keeping one in a very large pot all summer so I don't have to dig it up each fall. A zone 4 friend says he has much better luck with potted B&Bs than he does with planted ones; they bloom sooner and grow bigger. He also has a very damp yard, and more than cold, it's damp that kills salvias.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 10:01AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

wardw,
I have always grown my Black & Blues in very large containers and brought them in for the winter. i was actually thinking of experimenting with one of the outside next year.

penny

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 10:06AM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

This species not only has tubers, but stolons and stems with `eyes'. The tuber alone and with the stem trimmed off is unlikely to regenerate a plant in spring. Its best to leave ample stem and some stolons connected to the tuber. Some roots also help.

Also, pine voles feast on the tubers, following mole tunnels. I work in crushed rock into the soil to deter diggers.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 2:10PM
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lboyce(Z5NY)

wardw...Oh...you HAVE to know...once I found B&B salvia locally, it bought about 6 plants! The one I put in the ground actually grew taller and bigger than the ones I potted BUT the ones I potted also grew quite big. We get a few hummers and they went crazy over the stuff! We have a very limited selection of flowers in my area as nurseries are limited and if I want anything more exotic than marigolds, petunias and geraniums, I pot them. Ohhhh to live in a warmer climate and have a longer growing season....

Linda

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 5:18PM
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jamlover(z4 Iowa)

Last year was my first black and blue. Last fall discovering it had tubers, I potted it in a rather shallow bulb type container lined with plastic. Actually it was a white wicker basket about 5 inches deep and 15" in diameter with a plastic liner used by florist for flower arranging. It died back, then about a month ago started (in my dark cold storag. room) sending up shoots. So I have been taking off about 6 inch lengths and sticking them back in the 16" bulb pan with the mother. I cover each group with a plastic bottle and water that particular area. While cleaning kitchen cupboards I removed a round spice rack which made a perfect turntable for easy turning under my flourescent light. At this point none of the new growth is over 6" tall. So far I have about 30 cuttings coming in 5 different areas in the bulb pan. (Babies galore)!!) Isn't gardening fun!!!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 3:41PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

What a cool idea jamlover! I did have to cut my big one back here recently. It has been growing like a weed since my inital post. I cut about have dozen stems back and have rooted those so that is six new plants plus the main plant and the new stems that are shooting up around the rim of the pot plus 1 baby from seed that I must have missed that fell in the container. Looks like i will have enough B&B plants this year to play with.

Penny

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 4:26PM
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wardw(z6 NJ)

Penny, make sure you save that baby. With a little luck, you might have something quite different. You might just have the next great guarantica, and the wait for the first bloom can be exciting. Make sure you pass some of these plants along to your friends; that's how I got mine, and that original gift sparked an interest in salvias of all kinds. Many of them are very easy to propagate, a half dozen species are now growing well in my semi-heated back porch, with another half dozen to arrive soon.

Wait a minute, I take it all back! Now that I write it down its perfectly obvious I'm suffering from some kind of addiction. Expose those Black & Blues to subzero temperatures, get to the mall as quickly as possible, and buy something plastic that won't hold soil, otherwise.....

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 4:56PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

wardw.
The one baby that seems to be a hybrid did actually bloom close to the end of the summer. Here is a picture of it although it is a bit on the blurry side as I was trying to get a closeup of the bloom but you can see how different the color is from the Black & Blue. The tip of the flower is almost devoid of color and gradually goes to a pale lavender and then darker in the center. It is also much shorter and it has somewhat smaller leaves but the same texture. I will be anxious to see how it develops this summer and how much height it actually attains.

Penny

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 6:34AM
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wardw(z6 NJ)

I'm sure there are some of us who would like to try it if it does well for you; it sounds like a nice flower. Did the leaves have that same cat box smell is B&B? From what I read out there, gaurantica's scent is quite variable; certainly others could tell you more about that.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 9:12AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

ward
THe leaves indeed do have the same 'catbox smell' that the black & blue has. last year it bloomed to late to get any seed from it so I am hoping this year it will flower and set seed.

Penny

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 9:54AM
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njoynit(Z8b Coastal ~secluded)

I got my B&B from a fall trade with garden friend.I'm just a southern lurker.I got intrested in salvias last year.I was surprised to see it stayed evergreen for me.my others didn't,but have seeds in those spots sprouting under the mulch I seen.She sent me some turkish sage also& some other kind.(grayish whooly leaves.has sat same spot same condition it arrived in)I grew some forest fire from Winns(or close isUK seed)I really liked it.grew woody and had to stake.I liked the dark stem contrast.And have a red autuam sage.I cook with it some& have moved it 3 times and think might possibly be happy where its at.it gets part shade now,not full sun.
I've seen lots of pics of B&B.I like the color& google showed a pale light blue and called it B&B it had dark stems.Was that correct?the leaves looked the same.I ran the serach durring the summer when she said would save me a B&B plant for fall.I never found info on the turkish(purple leaves)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 11:21AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

There are several varieties of Salvia Guaranitica. I think that salvia G. Argentina Skies has lighter blue flowers and dark stems. it could also be the amount of light when the picture was taken.

Penny

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 11:47AM
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