Question for westelle

wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)June 23, 2007

I'm planting a lot of salvia that I have not grown before and what Betsy says will take full sun, or Robin says, doesn't work for those of us in more brutal sun conditions. You've apparently been growing quite a few for awhile now....I'm sure there are others besides myself who would appreciate it if you could take the time to do a list of what you're growing in full sun and what in partial shade. I know if it can take it in full sun in Fresno, it can take full sun where I am! Thanks,


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I will gladly offer my own observations, if you can name the Salvias that you have. Naturally conditions in the UK may not be the same as those in the USA, though there are similarities.

From many years of growing Salvias, I feel that most insist on secure drainage, half-day shade, and regular watering in dry periods. But this is not relevant to Californian species, which require a dry area after flowering.

Let us know what you are growing.

Regards, Robin.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 5:28PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

Thank you, Robin...these are some of the new ones not yet planted:
involucrata x pulchella
salvia sp from the Antilles Islands
Carol's Delight
Silke's Dream
Sierra San Antonio
Freida Dixon
Honey Melon
Byron Flynt
A lot of these I've got sorted out as to what they'll take but am unsure of
Van Remsen

corrugata (I've planted 2 of these in full sun and they've promptly gone belly-up, so now will go in partial shade)

Carol's Dream

Frieda Dixon

Byron Flynt


I've tried Limelight here before twice, both times in full sun and have now put it in partial.
I've planted wagneriana in partial also.
gesneriflora is in full sun but doesn't look happy.
Likewise involucrata.

I'm trying in full sun
Costa Rica Blue
Russell's Form
Omaha Gold
Huntington Gardens
I don't know if the above will stand up to the full sun here.
I've put macrophylla in partial shade, but saw it growing in full sun 10 miles from here.
I've put rubescens in partial shade.
I simply don't have enough room for partial shade and would like to get as much as possible in full sun, but our sun seems to be so much hotter now.
Some I'm trying in sun and shade, such as Mole Poblano.
I think most would do better here in partial shade, but need to find out just how far I can push which ones in full sun.
I've got about 200 species and varieties now that I'm propagating and it's a continuing learning experience. Will also have to squeeze in a small greenhouse somewhere before winter..I wouldn't have thought that before, but this last winter was the first time we've had frost on our property in 24 years. We were pretty much unaffected, but still will have things in pots now instead of all in the ground, so I'll have to prepare. Thanks for any advice...aren't you sorry you asked? LOL....

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 6:40PM
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CA Kate

Let me think.
Those that do best in full sun are:
appiana White Sage
chamaedryoides Germander SAge
clevelandii any
gramhammii x lemonii "Maraschino Cherry"
greggii, any
"Indago Spires"
involucata Rose Leaf Sage
leucantha Mexican Bush Sage
leucophylia Bee's Bliss Sage
microphylia, most
"Sierra San Antonio"

Those that like afternoon shade:
x suberba

Those I've almost given up on:
guarantica, except for B&B
mexicana "Limelight"
mexicana x hispanica "Byron Flint"

I've listed in species because, with rare exceptions, what I've given is fairly true for that species in my yard. I've tried others ( that are no longer in my data base ) that are just too delicate for our super hot summers and dry air... even in the shade of the somewhat protected front slope. All plants get weekly water, and sometimes supplimental if someone is languishing.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 8:36PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

Thanks, westelle.
Okay, scabra does well in full sun here, even still in 1-gal pots on tables in full sun. Of course, we've only gotten into the 90's so far.
Waverly I have in full sun also. on south side of house in the sunniest spot, have it in other locations also.
Nemerosas I have in sun, doing okay so far.
Ditto on superba, muelleri, melissodora, coccinea.
If the involucrata can take full sun at your place, I'm sure it can here.
Uliginosa I have in sun, we'll see how it does.
I have holwayii in shade and it's doing okay.
The four that really surprised me that I have growing in shade (and I saw growing in full sun at a garden /nursery near here) were blepharophylla, discolor, macrophylla and cacaliifolia.
This is my last try on 'Limelight' and Byron Flynt is still unproven here.
Thanks for your's hard to find a lot of salvia growing under the same conditions to be able to compare. I exactly what Fresno is like in the summer...I lived in Modesto when young so I have a point of reference.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 9:46PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Salvia guaranitica Van Remsen form is a sport from Baton Rouge which has thrived in San Diego, Houston (hot and humid), and as an annual in Buffalo, NY. In California's Central Valley, I'd say some shade will be useful. No stolons and few tubers. Let me know how it fares.

Salvia greggii x microphylla (var. grahamii as marked by Far North Gardens ca. 1984) is the name for Maraschino, my very first hybrid that I released in the mid 80s.

Melissodora, chamaedryoides, semiatrata, chionophylla should take a lot of heat and sun. The Tarahumara Indian Sage (melissodora) was collected near Copper Canyon in Mexico, growing in arroyos in full sun.

As a rule of thumb, the wider and thinner, the glossier, and the greener the foliage, the more they will need shade. Tall broad leaved forms especially. The smaller and thicker the leaves, the grayer (covered with fine reflecting hairs), the more aromatic, the woodier the stems, the more they are adapted to sun. Part of the fun of growing new sages is "reading" their appearance to guess at their optimum native environment and trying to match that with your own range of microclimates.

As an example, chionophylla grows amongst rocks that obstruct spring runoff on the hills around the Chihuahuan Desert. The rocks slow down the runoff, causing the development of pools and deposition of organic matter and finer soils. Chionophylla exploits this by forming stems that rapidly grow along the ground towards cooler, damper, richer soil, rooting rapidly as it goes and forming tufts of stems that rapidly flower as the weather warms up.

Madrensis has very sturdy deeply quadrangular stems and very robust nodes, leading me to think it has developed for wind resistance. I would look for it in passes through mountains in the Sierra Madre. It forms long-lived patches, where I would expect regular annual runoff of water to collect, with modest meandering of the flows.

It helps to study plants in the field to confirm and fine tune these observations. But you can do this in your gardens, too.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 12:44AM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

Thanks Rich,
I do indeed have Melissodora, chaemadryoides, semiatrata and chionophylla in full sun, along with all of the greggii
Madrensis does look quite sturdy, it's to 6 ft tall now, but I do have it in partial shade and against an openwork fence for support against our prevailing breezes in case.
I've planted all of the natives and drought tolerants around my stand of romneya coulteri. It's the mexicanas et al that have me wondering. I think at this point I'll be trying 2-3 of each under different conditions to see what happens. It's difficult finding enough spots with the right shading and conditions. It's middle of the night here right now, won't be light for another couple of hours or I'd be out there right now scouting locations! Thanks to everyone for the help.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 5:55AM
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With regards to the 'Limelight'...I followed Sunset's (Western Garden Book) advice and planted mine in high, open shade under very tall trees early last year. It does get a bit of sun here and there throughout the day, but it's mostly a high shade area. Due to worries about branch breakage (we get a lot of wind here), I also only water it once every 3 weeks once established, and I didn't amend the clay soil at all. It is now at least 6 ft. high, and buds are showing.

However, I'm just north of Sacramento, and we tend to get more humidity than Fresno...and I have a stream and pond just to the upper right of this pic, which adds a lot of moisture to the air. :)

Here it is this morning, with S. microphylla 'San Carlos Festival' at its feet.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 9:22AM
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I agree with everything that has been said. Some Salvias even sulk under the British sun!


    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 10:23AM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

Brenda, your Limelight certainly looks healthy enough.I'm just gonna grab my coffee and go out and see which areas with shade I can clear out to make room for them. Thanks Robin,thanks Rich, thanks westelle. This was pretty much what I thought...I was hoping to get them by in more sun, but....I think the large growers that are in whiskey barrels in full sun are doing okay for now and I'll leave them there and take lots of cuttings to get going elsewhere and see just how well they can take it in the sun. That's Mole Poblano, Tequila, Costa Rica Blue,Huntington Gardens,and a couple more. Perhaps they may do okay.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 11:48AM
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teacup754(z8 tx)

Thanks for some really informative info. We have a million Gregii here and some Indigo Spires are popular for sale in the nurseries and in landscapes. When I started buying a few"new" kinds I didn't know there were salvias that didn't need full texas sun.I will remember all your info on leaves etc when i site any new plantings. thanks again everyone for sharing.....nancy

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 1:52PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

Yep....I've been growing leucantha and 'Indigo Spires' for a number of years; they're the 'backbone' of some of my plantings, and it's easy to get spoiled by them. They're so tough and easy to care for and situate and then we branch off into the others and find that they're actually a little more demanding. What nerve! It can be a little difficult to duplicate the original environs for some of these globe trotting salvia...and yet, we want them all.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 10:18PM
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