Which Salvias did or did not bloom for you this autumn and winter

rich_dufresne(z7 NC)January 8, 2008

We had an exceptional drought and 100 degree heat in August, followed by a 90 degree September extending into mid October with 85 highs. The temps then plummeted for the rest of the year, and we began to get a little rain.

Very little bloomed for me, the mexicanas and Raspberry Truffle having the most noticeable absences. Others with few blooms were the guaraniticas, greggiis, even the microphyllas. The reglas and sessei were quite late and not as heavy. Vanhoutteis were a little better. Along with maexicanas, madrensis was late and weak.

The iodanthas and purpureas were quite late, but promising, although some of them are aborting their baby flower spikes now. The greatest current inhibition to bloom is a growing population of pests, notably spider mites and mealy bugs. These will be eliminated soon.

Mellisodora, keerli, and especially semiatrata have been pleasant surprises, although this might be expected from desert sages.

Puberulas and involucratas were late and measly. The Smith College involucrata has been a pleasant surprise, but that adds to my expectation that it is really the all-pink wagneriana. Gravida and curtiflora almost reached bloom, but are currently recessing back into green growth.

All others pooped out, though some are now putting on good green growth, like corrugata.

The two surprises were newbies from Robin, Salvia SL411 and S. dichlamys. Both bloomed well as long as I watered them, even during August.

What were your disappointments and surprises? Include comments on your (ab)normal weather.

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ccroulet(z9 CA Sunset 18)

I'm still learning a lot about our native Calif. salvias. My S. spathacea (not native to our area) bloomed in the fall of 2006, which I hadn't expected. This season it didn't bloom in October, but it's blooming now, the coolest time of the year. Salvia "Dara's Choice" (mellifera X sonomensis) is blooming now. I thought it would be like S. mellifera, which blooms in nature mostly from March into June. But what's this? One of my melliferas is also about to bloom. Another one, a few feet away, hasn't even started. I don't know why they're different. My S. leucantha "Santa Barbara" (not native) stubbornly refused to bloom during the summer, then it suddenly sprang to life in October. It's finished now, and I cut it back. Usually they bloom all the way through summer into late fall, and I just saw some today in "Old Town" Temecula that were still in bloom.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 10:34PM
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CA Kate

Here in the Central Valley of California the weather was it's usual hot, dry self.

Most Salvias bloomed as expected. Most of the new ones all seemed to do quite well, but I've been trying to only introduce the ones that can take the heat. At present I have 49 different Salvias, but these are the note makers:

ÂÂ Â S. apiana x mellifera was gorgeous for several months then died back to the ground until fall's cooler weather.
 S. elegans "Honey Moon" died in last winters cold.... but not bad for a tender Salvia to survive for over 5 years even in a sheltered location.
 I moved Forsskal's Sage again in fall of 06 to a sunnier location and it finally bloomed this summer after muttering in the shade since 1997.
 All the plants of S. "Indago Spires" died last winter no matter where they were planted; I guess they were just old. (1997)
 S. involucrata "Mulberry Jam" was getting old summer of 2006 and so made cuttings to start new plants and planted them out this Fall. (1997)
 S. x jamensis "Sierra San Antonio" never did very good until these last couple of years when they seem to have to decided to flourish. (1998)
 S. leucantha "Midnight" x S. elegans == "Anthony Parker" never did like the heat and died this summer. (2006)
 S. melissadora does not like the heat and gets ratty every July. (2003)
 I finally found a spot that S. lyrata "Burgandy Bliss" likes -- morning sun only with the Irises in the moist, east bed by the house.
 It's just too hot and dry here for S. mexicana "Limelight"; those in the gardens all died. But, I had cuttings in pots in the nursery where there is shade and lots of water. They rooted into the ground and sent up beautiful 6' canes with the wonderful blue flowers this fall. The nursery was gorgeous in September. (2005)
 Same with S. mexicana x hispanica "Byron Flint".... didn't like the heat either and finally gave up the ghost. (2005)
 S. microphylla "Hot Lips" performed wonderfully wherever planted. (2005)
 S. scabra is also happy in that same moist front iris bed. (2004)
 I moved all the lingering S. uliginosa from the dry outer beds to 2 test places. One in wet ground in semi-shade, and the other in a shady bed with moist soil. The one in the shady, moist soil was the survivor where we enjoyed those lovely sky blue flowers all summer, fall and even now there is a blossom or two. (1998 and 2005)
 The workhorse greggiis are always "there" and most are old -1997; they do reseed themselves occasionally. S. Navajo Rose are the only ones that aren't happy where they're planted.... in full sun, clay soil. (2005)
 The S. microphylla, clevelandii, Marachino Cherries and S. muelleri are constant thrivers and happy just about anywhere and any soil. (1997)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 11:17PM
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ccroulet(z9 CA Sunset 18)

I forgot about our gregs. They usually stop blooming with the first serious frost, usually late November or early December. We haven't had such a frost, and they're still covered with flowers.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 1:49AM
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We had a fairly mild summer, with a shower and some fog in July! Quite unusual, as was the week or so of lows into the low 20s last January.

My 'Anthony Parker' never returned after the cold Jan., but the elegans made it through with no problems, surprisingly! My peach jamensis may have given up the ghost this summer/fall. My officinalis 'Purpurascens' has never bloomed in the 3 or 4 years I've had it, and it appears to be dying now, as well.

New plants as of this year that are growing like gangbusters, but haven't yet bloomed -

clevelandii 'Aromas'
hians (not really growing now, but I have high hopes for next year)

New plants this year which have put out some blooms -

darcyi (replacement plant after another died in Jan.'s cold; bloomed until frost this year)
lyrata 'Purple Volcano' (not really known for its blooms...)
microphylla 'Red Velvet' (and still blooming)
reptans (a bloom or 2, but can't wait until next year)
viscosa (love this one for foliage as well as almost constant blooms before frost)

Usual blooms at specific times -

clevelandii 'Allen Chickering' (finally bloomed for me this year after waiting 2 years...and it was worth the wait!)
farinacea 'Rhea' (gets better each year)
guaranitica 'Black and Blue'
'Indigo Spires'
jamensis 'Sierra San Antonio'
mexicana 'Limelight' or 'Tula'
microphylla 'San Carlos Festival'
nemorosa 'Caradonna'

Workhorses that bloomed almost all year -

chamaedryoides (one of my very favorites for color and long bloom period)
greggi, red version & 'Teresa'
jamensis 'Moonlight'
microphylla 'Belize Form' & 'Hot Lips'
'Nuevo Leon'


    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 9:41AM
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The summer was a tale of three salvia gardens. Two were well established and a third, a newly planted xeric one with no access to water. Here in SW New Jersey we saw weather much like Richard's in North Carolina, but with a slightly different pattern. Rainfall here was well below average from the beginning of June all the way into September, and while we probably saw a little more rain, most of it came in spotty thunderstorms that struggled to maintain themselves.

In the well watered gardens the microphyllas and greggii and their hybrids grew quite well. There was continuous bloom on Orange Door, Raspberry Delight, Wild Thing, Navaho Bright Red and a half dozen others. This surprised me a bit. Even at the xeric site the same plants were in continuous if light bloom right through to frost. The size of these xeric grown plants was about half the size of the irrigated ones. Maybe they would have grown more if they had been fed in mid summer, but because of the drought I was afraid to do so.

Some other sages never did reach their full size. Involucrata made no attempt to put out a few mid summer blooms like it usually does. Waverly also waited until September. Indigo Spires was not nearly as vigorous as in other years. As the summer went on the guarantica Brazil slowly declined and by early fall were mere shadows of their July selves. The only guarantica to thrive was Van Remsen, it put on a show of a lifetime out in the vegetable garden in August. Mulberry Jam grew just fine, but since it was my first try for the hybrid I have no idea whether it was "normal"

Salvia subrotunda did not like the drought at all. The patches that were watered show no ill effects and behaved as usual but attempts to grow them in drier leaner soil verged on failures. Under similar lean conditions the various coccinea cultivars did better. In the xeric beds bloom was delayed by as much as a month and the plants were smaller, but they did OK. Upright macrophylla was new to me so I don't know if an August bloom is late for this species and although the bloom was light the beauty of the flowers made up for that. Splendens Pink from Ginny Hunt didn't bloom until almost September and never seemed happy, I may not grow it again.

Uliginosa was skimpy and late. My main patch at a nearby nature center suffered its second year of pretty much total deer destruction. You have to respect a deer which can eat that nasty stuff.

The big and total failure of the year was praeclara. The plants hardly grew and by the look of the leaves suffered from some sort of disease. Whatever that disease was it did not spread to the nearby subrotunda.

Chiapensis and buchananii grew OK I guess although I would have liked to see more flowers on the later and an earlier bloom on the former. Both were new to me so maybe their growth was normal.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 8:25PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

I'm glad that you asked this. I need to start keeping records and this made me go out and take notes. It's hard to tell what will be normal here. We had the unusual freezes last winter that really didn't affect my salvias too much even though they'd not had much of a chance to get established. The week this summer that reached up to 107 degrees at our place was also unusual for us and much harder on them...lost some then and so some are just finally having a chance to get established. I will have to keep notes this nest year to see how they may vary. What I have flowering right now:
fricana lutea
Anthony Parker
Carol's Delight (from Cabrillo, haven't found any info on it)
coccinea Brenthurst
Honey Rose
Indigo Spires
involucrata x Kathy
Jean's Purple Passion
leucantha Midnight
Marine Blue
Mulberry Jam
Raspberry Truffle
Red Velvet
splendens Tall Peach
Van Remsen
Scabra just finished after many,many,many months of continuous bloom.
One picked up at Cabrillo known only as "the one found growing at the grocery store in Hollywood" also just finished.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 6:41PM
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CA Kate

Well, I'm surprised! I just discovered that the Pineapple Sage is still blooming in the walled-in nursery. All the other sages in there have stopped but the one.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 11:53PM
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wanda(Z9 CA)

Despite a minor freeze in December, Salvia madrensis (which suffered horribly in last year's big freeze)sent up blooms. Salvia gesneriflora is now at it's prime and getting better every day. Anthony Parker, semiatrata are about done. Semiatrata was slightly burned in December's lows. S. regla was glorious as usual, but now dormant.
S. 'Indigo Spires' just doesn't quit. It's been in bloom all year and still putting out new spikes. S. 'Black and Blue' bloomed beautifully through November. S. 'Cardonna' was a bit of a disappointment, but that was possibly because it became "buried" by it's neighbors. S. confertiflora did not bloom this year, but it's new, having been replaced after the original died in the frost last year.
A real surprise was the little annual splendens hybrids that bloomed and kept blooming through the frost and still has blooms even though it does look pretty ratty.
Salvia 'Honey Melon' bloomed well, but was damaged pretty badly in December's frost.
Salvia 'Dancing Flames' bit the dust at the first sign of frost and never really bloomed well either.
Salvia patens bloomed well as usual through November.
S. murii bloomed well this fall.

While checking on all the native salvias out front, I found a couple of bloom spikes on S. spathacea showing some color. Come on Spring!!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 11:19AM
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I have no complaints about 2007, but 2008 is shaping up to be a disaster. Caterpillars ate the tops off my best S. spathaceas, the deluge of rain saturated the bed with the Hot lips and a couple of leucanthas, the racoons dug up a 10' x 10' area the last few nights, destroying the roots around my one S. clevelandii and a few lupines, and the rain wet about 20 packets of salvia seeds I had collected in 2007 and kept in paper envelopes on a shelf in my garage (so I need to patch the roof too, as well as planting those thousand or so seeds).

Anyone else ready for Spring? Any good traditional 'coon recipies you would like to share.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 5:23PM
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CA Kate

Since our property is mostly down-slope I haven't seen any water problems --yet. I did start the pruning of the Salvias today. If I can only spend an hour or two every day pruning I'd have it all done in a week or two.

Oh, by the by, The S. leucanthas are already blooming and the Hummers are happy.

I don't know about 'coon recipes but the Coyotes like to quietly hang around on the hill above the compost bins --- to catch a 'coon for their dinner when the 'coon sneaks in to see what goodies I've tossed in for compost for his dinner.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 10:41PM
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