I'm growing Mesa Rose right now, but it's been pretty disappointing in terms of bloom. What would you recommend as a heavy bloomer in this color? Or, is there something I can do to kick start this particular salvia?
The brightest in this color is probably S. buchananii, although S. iodantha is close. Very different from greggii types.
I'd reccomend some greggiis, microphyllas, and their hybrids:
S. greggii x Plum Wine (zone 5 hardy, pink with a touch of lavender)
S. dreggii x Raspberry Royale (Z. 6, fuchsia)
S. microphylla San Carlos Festival, (Z. 6, very tough, fuchsia)
S. greggii Dark Dancer (Z. 6, large fuchsia)
And a new one for the east coast, S. microphylla Flower Child (Z. 6?, many pink flowers, low growing).
Some people like Wendy'; Wish, which looks to me like a buchananii - splendens (vanhouttei) cross, and is Plant Patented.
And then there is the tender hot pink S. oxyphora
I'm surprised Rich didn't recommend S. oxyphora. I got one from him about a year ago, and it is now about 8 feet tall, and has been blooming fuzzy fuschia flowers for about 3 months. Neighbors comment on how spectacular it is. I will try to post a picture.
Please do post that picture. I'm still trying to get this sage to botanical gardens and nurseries.
Are you on the west coast or in Florida?
Mesa Rose is either greggii, microphylla or a hybrid of both. They tend to slow or even stop their blooming when our weather gets really hot. You would think regular watering would help but it doesn't always. As our weather moderates (at least I hope) in August your plant should start to produce lots of flowers and from August to freeze put on a real show. If you keep it in growth with regular watering the transition to flowering will be very quick.
Where are you in NJ?
Thanks for all this great information. I'm eager to try some of these salvias next season.
wardda, I believe you are right. Now that the heat wave has broken, Mesa Rose is beginning to really take off.
I'm in Randolph which in in Morris county. It's at a very high elevation, sio I'm in zone 6A.
bertram, I hope you do post that pic. That salvia sounds spectacular,
If I cut these salvias down after the first hard frost and mulch with a thick layer of strawm do you think I'd be able to overwinter these plants? How about Lady in Red?
You are probably a bit on the cold side for survival, it depends on the winter. The rule with these woody salvias is not to cut them down in the fall, that lowers their hardiness considerably. You should wait for new growth in the spring and then cut off the dead top growth. You also should consider layering the plant. You pull down a lower branch or two and pin them underground with fresh green shoots showing above the surface. In marginal areas it is often the layered branches that return.
I've never tried layering. When would be the best time to do that?
Now is a good time. I plan to get at it in the next week or so. The plants will have plenty of time to establish before winter.