Salvia Greggi 'Blue' Problems

pricklypearsatx(z8)May 4, 2007


I live in San Antonio, Texas and grow a variety of Salvia Greggi. So far, they have done great down here.

The other day, I saw a new variety at my local nursery. It is from a wholesaler, who has named it Salvia Greggi Blue. It is a new hybrid. As a matter of fact, it is so new that it was the first shipment that the nursery got. The staff didn't know anything about it.

It isn't actually blue, it is a dark indigo purple.

Anyway, it appeared that this salvia almost had a "trailing habit". The leaves are the same as the other Greggis.

Well, it turned out when I went to plant it, the stems started falling off. The trailing habit turned out to be a sort of "lanky growth".

We've check for bugs, fungus etc. We can't find out what is the matter with it.

I bought 4 of them, and it seems to be happening to all of them.

I can't figure out what is going on.

We've had a lot of rain down here. Is it possible that the rain caused this wierd growth at the growers?

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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

This sounds like root rot. New roots on most Salvias are white to light cream, and old roots can be tan to deep tan, but not the color of damp peat, which is dark brown. Does the root ball have the scent of decomposing vegetation?

Wet soils can trigger rotting, which is reflected in the foliage.

True greggiis are red, fuchsia, or white. Hybrids with chamaedryoides, lycioides, muelleri, or coahuilensis have various degrees of purple. Your plant sounds like coahuilensis, not greggii.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 11:15PM
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Thanks Rich,

I checked the root ball and the roots at the bottom of the container don't look very good. As a matter of fact, there weren't any at the bottom...just moist potting soil. Normally, these salvias come with a pretty vigorous set of roots down to the bottom of the pot.

Yeah, they like to call everything around here, Greggi, even though they might be something else.

What they often do is hybrid Greggs with other salvias such as lyciodes or microphylla. I've got one that is a hybrid with lyciodes.

Lyciodes doesn't do well in our clay soils, but the hybrid with the Greggi does. So, it's called, Salvia Greggi-lyciodes and the common name is Nuevo Leon Sage.

What should I do about the root rot?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 12:58AM
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So, 'Nuevo Leon' is definitely a cross between greggii and lycioides? I bought one last fall, having never heard of that specific named one before. It's blooming again now, although still fairly small.

Sorry for interrupting, too! :)


    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 7:38AM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

I have not seen Nuevo Leon Sage, so I can't confirm that it is a hybrid.

The only known hybrids of Salvia lycioides x greggii I know of are `San Isidro' (lavender) and `Los Lirios' (deep purple), offered as such initially from Yucca-Do. I assume that they were collected at a higher altitude where lycioides grows.

Salvia coahuilensis and S. muelleri grow at lower altitudes. The clones of these plants currently marketed are probably hybrids. The first has deep indigo purple flowers and is more likely to be true; the second (muelleri) has purple flowers and is probably a hybrid with greggii. There are known locations with true blue flowers.

Hybrids of true blue sages (lycioides and chamaedryoides) with pink and red flowers can generate indigo purple hybrids.

Salvia greggii Purple Pastel is from Washington state and is probably a garden hybrid. Provenance is needed.

S. greggii Deep Purple is probably Salvia greggii Navajo Deep Purple, which is the Ball Seed marketing name for Salvia lycioides x greggii `Los Lirios'. I need confirmation of this.

S. greggii Diane is probably a Texas garden hybrid of a red greggii with muelleri or another purple or lavender hybrid. Provenance is needed here.

Can anyone help me with the provenance of these Salvia greggiis? Where did they originate, what are the parents, and who was the discoverer or breeder??

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 12:46PM
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From what I know, Nuevo Leon stays just under 2 feet in height. has a little bit of information regarding the parentage of Nuevo Leon

The Manual Flores, of Flores Flowers, is a dedicated botanist.

According to Betsy Clebsch, in her Book about Salvias
Salvia Greggi:
Big Pink Scott Ogden, Austin TX
Furman's Red W.A. Furman, Kerrville TX
Purple Pastel Pat McNeal, Austin TX
Purple Haze (Dark Purple) Pat McNeal
Cherry Red Richard Dufresne!!!! HEY!!!!!!!!!!!
Greensboro NC

Well, I see that you know a lot about Salvia Greggi, Rich!!!!

This is quite a surprise!!!

I have a cultivar called Cherry Chief which I really like.

As for parentage, of these salvias it is almost bewildering!!

I was at the nursery a few weeks ago. There were some "Greggis" placed along the Greggis with bluish leaves and beautiful deep purple blooms. It looked just like a Greggi. No name or label were on the container. Just the price. I quickly bought 5 of them. They are doing wonderfully. When I came back to buy more, the rest were gone.

The owners of Schoemacher's Hill Country Gardens in New Braunfels, Texas might now something too. (I need to check the spelling.)

I think the reason so many of them are labeled, "Greggi" is for marketing reasons. The habit of these hybrids are basically the same Greggis in our San Antonio gardens. If it is labeled as a Greggi by the nursery, then the average consumer pretty much know what they are getting.

I'm very pleased to "meet" a salvia expert!!!!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 6:25PM
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The nursery is spelled Shumacher's Hill Country Gardens.
The link is

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 6:37PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Actually, S. greggii `Cherry Red' is a form introduced by Greg Starr of Tucson, Arizona. `Cherry Chief' is a cross from my garden of S. greggii `Furman's Red' with a deltoid-leaved form of S. microphylla Manuel Flores and I collected in Hidalgo on the Pan-Am highway going south from Zimapan.

I discussed this with Betsy, but it was evidently too late to make the correction.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 11:42PM
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CA Kate

I have a deep purple Salvia that was sold to me 8 years ago as a greggii but I have a feeling is really a muelleri. When it's planted in a shadier spot the stems tend to be more horizontal. It is also somewhat more brittle then greggii.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 12:44PM
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I can see where Cherry Chief is a cross with microphylla. I've got the "Hot Lips" microphylla. Cherry Chief has the non glossy, deltoid type leaves. Also, the flowers change color. Sometimes they are red, sometimes they are pink. It often depends on the weather.

It isn't as cold tolerant as the other greggiis.

Last winter, I happened to go outside at around 7:45 am.

I was checking to see if there had been any frost. There wasn't any. All of a sudden, the temperature went down to 32 degrees. Frost quickly formed. I watched as the flowers and the top leaves of Cherry Chief nodded off. The flowers on the surrounding greggiis stayed intact. Within about 30 seconds it was over. The frost quickly vaporized.

Kind of interesting.....Sort of surreal...

Manuel used to mention going to the Sierra Madre Region. He's fluent in Spanish, so I think that makes it a bit easier.

Years ago, one of our local radio stations used to print annual gardening almanacs. He wrote most of the articles in those alamanacs. Many of the plants he wrote about, I had never heard of and couldn't find in any of the local nurseries. Now, those plants are becoming commonplace.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 9:16PM
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I think I might have figured out what was the matter with the Salvia Greggi, "Blue".

I went back to the nursery. They had a very similar looking plant with the same color flowers. However, this plant was from a different grower. It was called Salvia Greggi, Dark Purple.

It had the exact same type of "trailing foliage". Once again, the stems were lanky and soft. It didn't take much for them to fall off.

I took the plant out of the pot. I checked the roots and they were fine and healthy.

Also, next to it, was a coral Greggi from the same grower. It wasn't falling apart.

So, I found a staff member and told him my concerns.

This staff person said that attempts to breed the Greggiis into this particular color have probably resulted in "weak plants".

The flower color is beautiful, but so far, based on the two hybrids that I saw, the plant itself just couldn't support the flowers.

I've got a very pretty purple "Greggii", but they might be Muelleris.

I purchased some very pretty light purples from Wal Mart. They too are "weak".

Oh well......

The search will probably continue forever.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 12:59AM
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