Mystic Spires performance and questions

dyhgarden(7b)August 16, 2009

My 'Mystic Spires' haven't stopped blooming all summer. This is the first year and they already had spires when I purchased and planted them. I've not had to cut them back, yet they keep on blooming on the same spires. There are many more new spires forming.

The plants -- I placed 6 in different areas of the garden -- dry, lean soil, all day sun as well as moist, rich soil, with good drainage and less sun. None are flopping over, and they have remained compact and full. The ones in the moist soil are even getting a bit crowded by zinnias, and the salvias remain happy.

There's no wilt, no problems at all with these healthy plants. I'm very impressed with 'Mystic Spires' so far. I'm in zone 7b and hope they will overwinter well.

What shall I do to prepare them for winter? Will they seed out?

Are there any other (besides 'Indigo Spires') varieties like this one? I already have bog sage, salvia uliginosa, that blooms non-stop. I also have a lot of the greggii colors, more great blooms off-and-on from April until frost.

Thanks,

Cameron

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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

There are lots of other Salvias that do well in North Carolina.

Have you ever been to Big Boolmers in Tramway, near Sanford?

I am trying out some new ones and hope to get them tested for hardiness.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 7:57AM
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spazzycat_1

Hi Cameron,

I'm trialing 'Mystic Spires' this year also and really like it. I remember a thread from some time ago where Donnabaskets (I think), who is in a comparable zone, said that she often lost half of hers over the winter, so for insurance, she roots some cuttings to overwinter. I assume its hardiness is very similar to 'Indigo Spires', which I've been able to overwinter occasionally, but certainly not a sure thing.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 1:54PM
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dyhgarden(7b)

Rich,

Most of my plants are from BB in Sanford and I've gone through there several times this year for a lot of the greggii. I think I have just about every color that will grow in our zone!

These 'Mystic Spires' came from Southern States in Carrboro. I'm looking for recommendations for the same type of continuous bloom performance and foliage like Mystic Spires. I realize the foliage request sounds like an odd thing, but it is really difficult to find plants with wider leaves to use in a full sun, deer resistant garden. The wider leaves of Mystic Spires and guaranitica work well with the small-leaved greggii and agastache.

Susan,
I have one 'Indigo' that I bought from BB this summer. I first put it in a planter, but the companions couldn't take the heat, so I cut it back to transplant it in the garden. It's very healthy looking but hasn't bloomed again since I cut it back for the move.

It's been my experience (so far) that tender perennials planted on the east side of my house don't overwinter as well as those in other areas. As soon as the sun is up, it is shining on the gardens on the east side.

My theory is that the winter sun hits the plants with the frost still on them in the mornings. I lost a lot of plants on the east side and I also had some evergreens with winter burn. Does that make sense?

I planted 3 of these Mystic Spires right in front of the porch where it never frosts in winter (passive solar) to try to keep these going. Perhaps I should also take cuttings.

Thanks
Cameron

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 3:10PM
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karen__w(z7 Durham, NC)

Cameron, I've been very pleased with my Salvia farinacea 'Henry Duelberg' this year. This is its second year and it's really come into it's own, running about 3 feet tall and in bloom nonstop all summer. The foliage isn't quite as nice as Mystic Spires, but it has that airy look I've never been quite able to achieve with Perovskia. Another favorite of mine is S. puberula -- although it doesn't bloom until later in the fall it's 5-6 feet tall and so dramatic when it does. The deer have never bothered either one although they're both on the main deer path.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 5:12PM
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hybridsage

Cameron:
question for you. In N.Carolina has you S x"Mystic Spires"
grown taller than the Zinnia's in the back ground?I am here in the deep south and mine has grown to be 3'x 4'with
10" long bloom spikes. Just wanted to know how different
growing conditions effect this plant.
Art

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 6:05PM
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dyhgarden(7b)

Karen -- I will try to find those! I've only seen them online. Okay to plant those in the fall? I planted small black & blue pots last September and they are over 4 feet high and several feet wide this first year. I've never had a problem with the deer and any of the salvias. They sampled a black & blue, then left it alone. Probably the fawns (there are so many this year).

Art -- so far, the 'Mystic Spires' are just over knee-high. However, the spikes are at least 10" long.

In my garden, plants tend to grow larger than advertised due to so much sun exposure, but these are staying compact. The sun hits some of the 'Mystic Spires' as soon as it rises and they are in full sun until evening. All day long.

The ones in the photo have sun from 8:00am until 4:00pm. They are in richer soil and are slightly larger than those at the edge of the meadow that have dry, lean soil and the all day sun.

BTW... just about any color companion works with this salvia. I like it with gaillardia 'Golden Goblin' or 'Burgundy' as well as coreopsis 'Redshift'. I am trying it with caryopteris (yet to bloom) in the grouping with Golden Goblin and guaranitica 'Black & Blue'.

Cameron

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 9:25PM
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karen__w(z7 Durham, NC)

I don't know if it's OK to plant Henry in the fall or not. Rich could probably tell you better. I think mine went into the ground last year in early summer. There was one seedling this spring, already in bloom for the past month, no appreciable differences from the parent. HD has an interesting story, I've linked it for you.

I would wait til spring to plant S. puberula, mainly because it's so darn big by fall. I can't remember if mine is the 'El Butano' or 'Hidalgo' form, but it's been hardy for ~8-9 years. This past winter I even forgot to mulch it. If you ever go to the Raleigh area plant swap I'd be glad to bring you a piece.

Here is a link that might be useful: Henry Duelberg origins

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 8:49AM
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dyhgarden(7b)

Karen,
That's a great story! I found a farinacea on HighCountryGardens site, but it's not Henry.

I've not been to the plants swaps because I don't want to passalong fire ants from our property. Cuttings and seeds are probably okay. Plants in pots, not okay to passalong. Although I've not seen any this year, they've been plentiful in the past.

Thanks,

Cameron

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 9:13AM
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hybridsage

Cameron:
You may want to try Salvia "Blue Chiquita" I don't know how
floriferous it will be in your climate.Another one you
you may want to try is Acanthus x "Summer Beauty"
it is not a Salvia but the bloom spikes and architecural
habit will make you do a double take. Both my Acanthus mollis and "Summer Beauty" are forming rosettes(waiting cooler weather).Both being deer resistant as well ( that varies down here too from one deer population to another).
Art

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 9:29AM
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karen__w(z7 Durham, NC)

Cameron, I appreciate your being careful with the fire ant problem. I'm still free of them here, and will enjoy however long I have until they move this far. You'd still be welcome to some S. puberula if you ever pass through north Durham.

Art, I tried Blue Chiquita once but it didn't overwinter and I didn't get cuttings. The bloom wasn't impressive on mine but I loved the foliage.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 12:59PM
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dyhgarden(7b)

Karen - glad you don't have those ants! We haven't seen any this year, but the previous 2 years were bad. I'd really hate to pass them along. This is a crazy, busy time of year, but we should catch up sometime. Thanks

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 10:14PM
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