How to overwinter S. guaranitica in z8b?

river_crossroads z8b Central LouisianaAugust 9, 2012

Hi all, the weather is boiling hot and there is talk in another thread about overwintering. What a cool topic, right?

The other thread says not to cut back a woody salvia before winter. Are all salvia woody stemmed or only certain ones?

Could you tell me how to overwinter my 2 new S. guaranitica, Purple Majesty and Van Remsen? (Pretty little plants that I got recently from Rich Dufresne, both hybrids, so maybe the question is not so simple.) I think that both are supposed to die back in the winter and reliably return in the spring in my climate - z8b, heat zone 9.

1) Should I cut them back before the first hard freeze? (Avg first frost date Nov 23), 2) Wait and cut off dead parts after the first hard freeze? 3) Do nothing until after leafing out well next spring and then cut off the dead parts? (Probably this last one but I prefer fall clean up if possible.)

Mulch or not? My climate is wet and cutting down and mulching over usually produces a rotten, dead plant. Cutting down to apx 4 inches and surrounding by thick leaves that can dry out is usually best here if cutting down and mulching is recommended. Thanks so much!

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Up here in zone 7 I leave the dead stems standing until April. It is supposed to help with their hardiness in marginal climates. It probably doesn't matter in your zone. Watch out for Van Remsen. The biggest of my plants is about 8'x8' and is only kept upright by very large stakes and string around the edges along with some Canna Lily. Up here you have to wait a long time for Van Remsen to bloom, but it make up for lost time with a dazzling show. You shouldn't need to winterize your plants.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:40AM
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My S. guaranitica (black and blue) overwinter just fine in zone 8b, using the benign neglect approach and cutting back the dead stems in the spring (only because the plants are easier for me to find in spring that way). They can be slow to start new growth and blooming. One year I thought I had lost one in a pot, only to see new shoots coming up in my pot graveyard.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 4:20PM
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river_crossroads z8b Central Louisiana

Thanks, wardda. Staking sounds like a good idea, esp with the violent thunderstorms in this area. Winds are often quite violent. If I stake it early on I will not risk having half of it broken off in a storm. I liked hearing that it is well worth waiting on Van Remsen.

Thanks, basil108. It is easy for me, too, to forget what is where and mess it up. If I leave fair sized pieces of the stems I can see where it is and not throw out my favorite new plant by mistake in the early spring.

Thanks to you both, good info!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 8:59PM
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Im in zone 6 and cover guaranitica after cutting them to the ground and they come back every year. Cover with a tarp or plastic or and plastic bags of leaves. Or you can grow from runners but not roots.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 12:13AM
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river_crossroads z8b Central Louisiana

Thanks, hummersteve, I enjoy your posts in the hummer54 forum. I know these plants will come back but I am always interested in propagation. Van Remsen is supposed to be well behaved so there may not be a lot of runners.

For Purple Majesty how do I propagate from runners? Do I wait until the runner has produced a stem with some leaves and then cut off the runner? Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:04AM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Purple Majesty is a hybrid without runners. Van Remsen form also does not have runners, and only a few tubers.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 10:53AM
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river_crossroads z8b Central Louisiana

Thanks, Rich, that is great to hear. I know that they will be big plants if I succeed with them and I am glad to learn that I will not have the additional problem of runners needing to be kept in check. Thanks so much for your expertise!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 10:01PM
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