Salvia guaranitica 'Argentine Skies'

robinmi_gwApril 26, 2007

I have had very mixed feelings about this Salvia for a few years. I absolutely adore the sky-blue flowers, and it flowers very early, unlike other guaraniticas. It is undoubtedly a thug! It can spread out of control, and makes an untidy mess several inches above normal soil level. This morning, I decided to remove it, once and for all, as I have other plants elsewhere. This was not easy, as it has spread all over the place, with huge tubers resemblimg black potatoes! Sure it will replace itself next year!

Wonderful plant, despite its rampant ways, not as bad as S. scuttelarioides or the dreadful S. procurrens.

Having said this.......just got procurrens lately, in a large pot, many flower buds. Will add this to my site soon.

Warm spring here, many Turkish and Middle-Eastern Salvias are flowering well, especially albimaculata and aucheri.

Sorry, I suddenly went to Turkey!

I would like to hear from other people's experiences and thoughts about 'Argentine Skies'.

I really do not believe that this is a guaranitica...it must be a hybrid!

All thoughts eagerly awaited!

Robin....in an abnormally warm UK!

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wardda

I've only had Argentina Skies for a couple of years and for some reason it hasn't thrived. In fact I'm still waiting for it to sprout this year. We had very cold weather in late winter and into early April. In its 2nd year in the garden, last year, AS barely expanded at all and didn't bloom very well. This is not what I expected from this plant. Maybe there is something wrong with its placement or with the soil? That seems unlikely since there is a large patch of B&B not 10 feet away. This year I'm going back to basics with Richard's guarantica from Brazil and Van Remsen.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 12:23PM
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gerris2

Hi Robin,

I don't have experience with 'Argentine Skies' so can't make a comment...was wondering if you had received my message sent thru Gardenweb? I sent responses from Yahoo mail too. Curious how the mails sometimes go out for a while.

Joseph

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 1:28PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

I am pretty sure that Argentine Skies is genetically related to Black and Blue, and that they will fit the old description of S. melanocalyx, long since combined with S. guaranitica.

Last year, I took digital photos of all my stock plants in their prime in 12 - 14 inch pots. It was easy to cluster `Argentine Skies' and `Black and Blue' on one hand, and `Blue Ensign', the Van Remsen form, and the Brazil form (listed originally as S. ambigens) on the other. The hybrid Purple Majesty is also similar to Van Remsen, but more vigorous.

Both AS and B&B have similar stolons and rhizomes, and both can occasionally be stingy with blooms, especially AS.

Here is the scoop on the different forms:

A species of some variability particularly in density of pubescence and flower size. In general the size of the flowers and the density of pubescence diminishing situations from north to south, although a single plant, as for example Mosén 4316, may have fully developed corollas varying from 38-54 mm in length. The plants of Parana have the larger corollas of the more northern specimens but smaller calyces. S. guaranitica, S. ambigens and S. melanocalyx are representative of the smaller flowered forms; S. coerulea var. Regnellii is representative of the larger flowered forms with dense pubescence; Sellow's specimen, the type of S. coerulea, which has marked similarity to other specimens from Rio Grande do Sul, is more or less intermediate.
Brasilia: Minas Geraes: prope Caldas in ripa amnis Rio Verde; Rio Janeiro: Itatiaia; Parana: Iraty, in fruticetis rivalbus, 820 m; Rio Grande do Sul: ad Piratiny prope Pelotas, in ripa umbroso rivuli in Capao; Santa Cruz, Neu-Wurttemberg, 450 m. Paraguay: in regione Alta Parana; Paraguari; in Serra de Maracayu; in Serra de Amambay; in Cordillera de ViRa Rica; in silvis prope Caaguazu. - Uruguay: Arroyo Malo, Paysandu; Salto: ad flumen Salto Grande; in silvis prope Itapebi Grande. Argentina: Misiones: Posadas: Bonpland, in ripa amnis Martires Chico; inter Guaraipo et Saltino; San Ignacio.

Here is the scoop on AS:

Juan Patricio OÂFarrell collected seed in river basin, Paraua; made selection from population with variable colors.

[Charles O. Cresson] received seeds in 1987, germ summer 1987: selected lightest of 2 seedlings from 4 seeds
name published in RHS Journal, Letters from Members The Garden, Sept 1990: A New Salvia
Argentina Skies

Nickerson Color Fan light purple-blue 7.5 PB 7/7
American Horticultural Council 1957

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 6:43PM
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wardda

Cresson is from the Philadelphia area, right? I seem to recall seeing that he offered seeds for the Hardy Plant Society swaps.

Are there any new guarantica on the near horizon, maybe from one of the northern populations?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 12:55PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Cresson is indeed from the Philadelphia area, and active in the Hardy Plant Society, I think. Along with the HPS, the Herb Society of America has been very actively pursuing Salvias.

The only new guaraniticas I know of are two hybrids, `Black Knight', a hybrid of guaranitica with splendens, not available in the USA, and `Betsy's Choice', a probable hybrid with the cardinalis form of fulgens from Betsy Clebsch, available only in the USA.

`Blue Ensign' is apparently available only in the USA, and `Blue Ensign' only in Britain and Europe. Are they really the same?

Comments, anyone?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 4:19PM
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wardda

I'm little puzzled and concerned about my Black & Blue this year. Over the past decade the clumps had grown to at least a hundred square feet and survived through both warm and freezing cold winters. Now I wondering if I've lost them all. Not a single sprout has appeared yet. Might the warm January followed by the freezing February and March have wiped them out? Voles may be another culprit? They ran through a 20 feet patch of Crocosmia Lucifer reducing what must have been a thousand corms to exactly four. Is it time for me to give up hope and plant something else in B&B's place?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 8:47AM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I grew Argentine Skies in Louisiana, USA for a number of years. Baton Rouge, LA has hot, humid summers, and occasinal winter freezes with temperatures dropping several degrees below freezing on several occasions each winter (zone 8, with winter temp typically reaching about 25 farenheit, perhaps -4 C?). Like most salvias, Argentine Skies would usually freexe back to the ground each winter. It spread far more rapidly than most other guaraniticas, and was generally more winter hardy. It was always reliably hardy for me in Baton Rouge. However, it was a spring and fall bloomer rather than a summer-long bloomer like the "straight" species or Black and Blue, or a fall bloomer like some of the other cultivars. I too liked the flowers, but wished they were produced in more profusion. Now I am growing Argentine Skies in Pennsylvania, which has cold winters (zone 6, with freezing weather typically from December thru March and low temps near 0 F, -15 C?). With winter protection it has survived the past several winters. In its current location it is overrun by other plants in the summer, so bloom is sparse. I need to move it to a better spot before I can really evaluate how well it will bloom here.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 9:29AM
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wardda

ladyslppr, is your guarantica up yet?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 11:26AM
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msmisk(NTX8)

I just bought Argentine Skies yesterday, so I found all of your comments interesting. I can't wait to see what it does here.

Carol

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 12:30AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

My Argentina Skies just started blooming this week and it is gorgeous! I should have cut it back early in the season so it would be fuller but I have a hard time doing that especially with new plants as I want them to bloom as soon as possible.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 10:01AM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

My Argentine Skies was moved this spring to a sunny bed. After a slow start due to the transplant and the lack of sun last summer that left it a little weak, it is now a 5 foot plant topped with several flower spikes. It seems to be reliably hardy here in northern zone 6 with plenty of winter cover (a pile of leaves is placed over the bed each fall after a hard frost). Still too early to say how well it blooms here.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2007 at 3:43PM
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matias_busch

Richard

Have you the email adress of Juan Patricio O Farrell

Can you give it?

Please

I´m tired of reading of the marevellous Argentina Skies
and having no way to find here, in Argentina :-(

thanks

matias

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 12:57PM
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Jean Hidden

I have one that has bloomed well all summer. It is right next to a Black and Blue salvia, also performing the same.
I have had to keep them watered as we havent gotten much rain. Both of these plants were planted last fall as very small rooted pieces, and survived the mild winter here in zone 7 well. The hummingbirds love these two equally well, going from one to the next. They have continued to grow taller, branch and bloom, now 3 - 3.5 feet tall.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 10:12PM
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sarahbn(z6Pa.)

This is a very interesting thread! Now I understand the Philadelphia Pennsylvania origin. I don't understand the name? Anyway I have grown this plant off and on since 2001 in my suburban Philadelphia yard. Like the other guaranitica's I've never had any luck with them overwintering or reseeding. It's not invasive or aggressive at all. I buy a new plant each spring and by mid summer it blooms I have typical rocky grey clay soil that is very heavy. The hummingbirds use it like the species guaranitica and so do the furry bumblebees.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 11:54AM
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robinmi_gw

Well, it sure is aggressive and somewhat invasive in the UK! But the sky-blue flowers are just gorgeous. It has very much appreciated our cloudy and colder-than-usual summer, and has flowered really well, still is. I keep looking for seeds, never found any!

Robin.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 2:15PM
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msmisk(NTX8)

My new Argentine Skies hasn't exactly wowed me so far, but it is starting to bloom again more now that we're heading into fall. The light blue is beautiful next to bright red zinnias, and the butterflies and hummingbirds just can't resist.

Carol

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 11:51PM
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