Salvia greggii and lowland beds?

hummersteveMarch 12, 2010

Ok assuming greggii do not like wet feet, is it possible for them to survive in a raised bed in an area known to hold water [have a high water line] or is this a total waste of time . I also have 27 starts of lobelia cardinalis [if they survive] that I plan to put in this area, in all Ive read they do best in this kind of soil, would that be correct.

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desertsage(7b USDA Sunset 10)

With Lobelia, I would plant,Zauschneria,and Aquilegia great hummer plants.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 8:08PM
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If lobelia cardinalis like it I would not do S.greggii
I believe S.microphylla would be better. The other relative
would be Physostegia virginiana or correllii if you want
something more controled "Miss Manners" would work, they like wet feet like lobelia does.In planting salvia's I would do raised beds to help keep the crown drier.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 8:22PM
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It depends on what your purpose and expectations are. As long as it is not a bog greggii grows just fine in most soils during the summer. The fact that they probably won't winter over is another issue entirely. They have rapid enough progress to be grown as an annual. It is pretty easy to keep cuttings alive indoors until next year, so replacements can be close at hand. Check out Suchie's plants at the network 54 hummingbird forum and you'll see just how much is possible, her plants are all first year plants and they are stunning.

The Lobelia is another matter. Here in New Jersey most of the wild ones grow in fairly shady areas right next to streams and ponds. Full sun can be too much for them, especially if the water table isn't within reach of their roots. Friends who grow them in drier conditions find they need to water nearly every day in the dog days of summer. My yard to too dry and if I ever grow them again it will be in a pot that is in a pot that is kept filled with water or in an artificial bog that only exists in my pipe dreams.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 9:02PM
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Last year I grew greggii cherry chief in that area and it flowered all summer but there is no sign of new life on it now. Also the goldflame that I planted there flowered last summer but it just seemed to die out late in the year. I should have built that area up for it and I didnt do it. Live and learn. Im not sure that its dead but I dug it up and potted it to give it a last chance.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 9:30PM
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Hi Steve, I have clay soil, and with all the rains we've had in this El Niño year, my bog zone is a much bigger area now. Most salvias do not like wet feet. I did a search on "bog plants for hummingbirds" and saw this list of Michigan natives, which should also work for you (?). There are some Mimulus species on there, and if they are anything like the CA species, they LOVE wet.

Now, of course I do not want to detract anyone from a quest for salvias, LOL, but I know that you also want to feed the hummers... So I hope you can find some good possibilities on that list. :)


    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 10:51PM
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desertsage(7b USDA Sunset 10)

+ 1 On Red or Yellow Monkey flower.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 8:17AM
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Why not grow bog sage? Salvia uliginosa loves wet soil. It's not quite the hummingbird magnet as 'Black & Blue' but it blooms all summer here in my zone. It is pale blue and white and tall, so your red lobelia will show up with that as a backdrop.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 8:50AM
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Isn't it a little early for your Salvia to be showing signs of life in your zone, Steve? They may yet come back. Mine are not doing anything yet either.

On Lobelia cardinalis, it can take drier, sunnier, exposures than most people think. I may be repeating myself, but my LC grows in my backyard amid all the tree roots and last summer I didn't water it at all. It thrived and bloomed heavily despite my neglect. It gets very hot in Oklahoma during the summer, and it just didn't mind at all.

That said, I got this plant from a friend in Tulsa, who said it did better than the LCs she had grown in the past, as far as drought tolerance and sun exposure. Perhaps it is an "identical in appearance" sport or a "variety", but apparently it is one of those that you can "beat with a stick" and still not kill it.

Also wanted to mention that I grow the greggii cultivar, Coral Nymph, and it reseeds, coming up in parts of my garden that are either not well drained, or that get watered....a lot. It survives quite happily, putting forth tons of blooms, etc. Don't know that your greggii hybrid will do the same or not, but just a "for what it's worth".....


    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 9:00AM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

If you have consistently wet clay soil, you can still build good raised beds. You will need to make the bottom 4 to 6 inches really loose with coarse sand and/or gravel (the river placer kind, not crushed rock). This will allow more air penetration, and slow down capillary action that would wick up too much water into the top sandy loam in the bed.

Yo might also want to investigate rock garden techniques.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 2:46PM
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Funny, I was just going to ask how to build a good raised bed should I decide to do that. There is only one area of my yard which is low and has a high water line and as Ive already mentioned I plan on putting many lobelia cardinalis in that area this year. Last year I tried goldflame and it just died out. I think I could grow that there if I put in a raised bed. But now Im afraid to do that in that area.

Susan-- If I mentioned anything about salvia I meant that it was from seed that I started germinating around the 1st of march , indoors under lights. The same with agastache and lobelia cardinalis.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 12:43PM
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Sorry I dont get over here too often. I think maybe you were referring to the greggii. In the past any sal. greggii either maintained some leaves or had some starts early especially considering the run of warm sunny weather weve had here. The greggii in concern is in that low area and it flowered beautifully all summer long but right now I have little hope for it coming back.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 12:51PM
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I got greggii wild thing, two years ago, I was worried about it coming back because it was questionable for zone 5. I was so happy when it came back but with all the snow we got this winter and fact my other salvias already show signs of life. Its not looking good but I'm hopeful. On a side note, if anyone has any salvia coccinea seeds, I would love to set up a trade. I know they are an annual in my zone but they look lovely.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 5:01AM
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My greggii 'wild thing' is alive and crawling. Actually, I discovered a leaf a couple of days ago. So I'm a happy camper.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 7:30AM
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