Rare Salvia news from the Bay Area

rich_dufresne(z7 NC)August 19, 2011

I spent some time talkin to Don Mahoney at Strybing and have gotten some news from Kathe at Cabrillo recently.

Look for Salvia libanensis in the next year or so. This is the disjunct cousin of regla and sessei from the Santa Marta Mountains of Northern Colombia, a disjunct range capping the Andes and located close to the Caribbean. It is the pride of the mountains there also, with very showy red flowers.

Salvia libanensis online herbarium type sheet from the Smithsonian:


Salvia lineata did very well for Cabrillo. It isn't being tried yet at SF BG (Strybing), as far as I know. Cabrillo is more Mediterranean and San Francisco Botanical Garden more like a cloud forest.

This is reflected in the growth of Salvia oxyphora, which bloomed more in the greenhouse than in the garden. At SF BG, it is cooler, and their big plants are about to bloom and are putting out stolons.

In terms of the dispersal of S. oxyphora, young stems shatter and seem to root well when it is cold. Evidently, as growth resumes and it begins to grow, mature plants put out stolons. When it gets warmer, it blooms. Brent at UC Riverside claims to have collected seed. Someone needs to compile a more complete and verified record of this behavior and relate it to the weather patterns of its habitat. It seems to have evolved interesting coping strategies

I was told that SF BG wants to put in an Andean cloud forest section, and will be looking for more Andean sages.

Look for the hybrid of S. madrensis with gesneriflora to become available in a year or so. Right now, I want to see what it looks like in bloom.

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Hope all is well after Irene.
We will look forward to some of these Salvias coming available.We set a new record in the heat wave here.
Old record 1925 was 69 days over 100 we are at 71 and still
counting. Today and tomorrow temps pushing 110 +. Have lost
quite a few salvias this year I will update you with the survivors. Some surprises!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 10:17PM
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I have seen libanensis at Strybing, though not in flower. It's a large plant with nice, dark, large leaves.

I have the madrensis X ges. hybrid; it hasn't flowered yet though the plants are fairly large.

I haven't had much luck with lineata, sigh.

When does S. sessei bloom? My plants are also getting quite tall [and a bit sprawly].

Lastly, does anyone know which salvia this is? It popped up as a seedling in my old garden. It's a few feet tall, bloomed in summer/ fall, and is now setting seed.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:58PM
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Looks great!!! Maybe a hybrid?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 4:41PM
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Would love to try some seeds...........


    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 4:45PM
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Talking about S. oxyphora: we are starting to bloom some of our seedlings, and am seeing good variation in slower color, size and density in the display. Not too much difference yet observed in growth habit. One seedling at least we will be releasing under a clonal name in 2013. There is a pic on our Facebook page.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 4:56PM
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On S. lineata: Did very well for us this year, and my hunch is the plants that are overwintering will be back stronger next year. We are more in the "Cloud Forest" category, climate wise. Grew them in full sun and wind sheltered.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 4:59PM
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The plant looks a bit like salvia caudata.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 11:50PM
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Hi Annette, I also thought S. caudata, but these flowers were a true blue, and if memory serves, caudata is more purplish. Also, the underside of the leaves on this one don't have any purple tint, like my caudata "El Cielo", which was on the other side of the yard from this seedling. This plant has virtually no scent. This photo is without flash; maybe the blue will show truer.

Robin, I'm currently collecting seeds; I don't have many because the plant had only ~ 3 inflorescences, but I will save them! It's still in a pot; I will plant it out when the danger of frost has past. I will also try to take cuttings.

p.s. In other rare salvia news, my S. sessilifolia [Madagascar] is looking really good, and I'm trying to propagate it by layering. Cuttings didn't work, but I only tried once. Does anyone know when it should bloom?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 12:56PM
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Yes, caudata is more violet/purple but there seems to be a similarity......if vague.

If you have Sessilifolia, you have one of the world's rarest and beautiful Salvias, from Madagascar, I think. (Won't ask how you obtained this.....but think I know!)

Do treasure this Salvia, try it in different locations, keep it alive! Don't know when it flowers...but speak to it, and give it lots of TLC........also try a couple in poor soil...we have to experiment!


    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Robin, your guess about S. sessilifolia provenance is probably right [south of here]. I'm keeping it in a pot at this point, but will risk planting it out once I can propagate it! Here is a photo. The red salvia at left is also 'rare', called Mr. Jules from UCSC, thought to be a fulgens x holwayi hybrid. Also barely visible in the photo is another 'no ID seedling' which so far looks like a lighter/ pink holwayi?? The fun never ends. :)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:04PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

voodoobrew, your S. sessilifolia's habit suggests it indeed should be hard to propagate, probably similar to S. penstemonoides. The latter can be rooted but it is very slow to do so. Does your plant like to send out only a few stems, with very little branching, like S. madrensis?

Tony Avent told me he can get good stock plants of madrensis by laying semi-mature stems on their side and covering them with some rooting medium. This will stimulate nodal shoots. You might have to fiddle with the original root ball to keep it healthy while the stems are growing out horizontally. Once well rooted, with both roots and new stems, the original stem can be cut up into smaller sections and repotted. Forcing the new stem growth from the old nodes to layer will multiply horizontal stems and provide more sprouting nodes at aor just below soil level.

The advantage here is with the multitude of stems, which will be narrower and vigorous, and thus will root more readily. I had one stock plant that did this on its own, and it threw out multitudes of narrow shoots that rooted well.

Lineata grew very well in Tony's garden, but was really late to bloom, as it was for me. He is testing stolonifera for hardiness this year. It was also very late and still hasn't bloomed yet.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 10:58PM
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Are there any salvia lineata seeds floating around?

Cheers Annette

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 3:33PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Lineata, like a lot of other sages in North Carolina this year, did not bloom very well, so there were no chances for even hand pollination. I have a short window to pollinate some Salvias in bloom for a week or two, so I'll be trying to get some hybrids. If I'm lucky, I'll get a 1 to 5 seeds of a couple of the dozen or so attempts.

There are still a few hardy interfering bumblebees around that come out on warm days.

I'm continuing construction of a completely screened-in table for the coming spring flush of blooms.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 1:38PM
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Exciting news about new species and varieties become available, it is. (It's talk like Yoda day).

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:56AM
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My Salvia sessei started blooming a few weeks ago. I will keep an eye out for seeds.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Did anyone follow up with a photo of this? I didn't read this thread or all of the others in detail...

I saw this at Strybing yesterday, took a picture, and just now went looking for info.

This is near the main entrance and the plant shop. Sorry the picture's not the best, but I think you get the point.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 9:21PM
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What does that tag say? From the location, I'm guessing it's Salvia libanensis. Hope they will propagate it soon!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:01PM
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That's an awesome looking salvia, mark4321!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:31PM
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It is Salvia libanensis. Sorry, I thought that was understood.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:53PM
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And the photo that didn't link...

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:56PM
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Sorry for the duplication. My connection or computer is being slow and the photo didn't show at first.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 11:12PM
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I bought a rooted cutting today at the monthly Strybing sale, $25.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 7:39PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

This is a Salvia that will soon find its way to the East Coast, Europe, Argentina, and Australia, I hope. I'm especially interested in seeing it trialled in Florida and along the Gulf and Southern Atlantic Coasts.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 11:08AM
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Darn it, I missed that sale yesterday! Had I known they were selling libanensis... ugh!

Maybe I should contact them to see if they want to trade for a sessilifolia plant?? I heard that Don Mahoney is retiring.

This post was edited by voodoobrew on Sun, Jul 14, 13 at 15:23

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 3:21PM
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