Salvia Black and Blue - does it come back?

carrie630(z7bNC)September 11, 2005

Hi everyone - I am a regular on the winter sowing forum, but decided to visit you because I LOVE salvias. I got some Salvia Black and Blues on sale at Lowe's and wondered if they come back here in NC - we can get pretty cold here but the ground very rarely freezes - Thanks for any responses - Carrie (also is the Blue Bedder an annual? Splendens? annual? thanks) (...PS I have a lot to learn about Salvias)

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cait1

Hi, Carrie! Welcome!! I think it'd come back for you. A good layer of mulch would probably help. Mine dies down completely, as does arizonica, Argentine Skies, glutinosa, nubicola, miltihorriza and probably a couple others I can't think of now. Our ground here doesn't freeze, though I get frost and hail - my poor karwinskiis look awful!
Cait

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 2:47AM
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sarahbn(z6Pa.)

Carrie the splendens is a tender perennial or annual here. But it reseeds like crazy At least the salvia splendens vanhouttii does for me I haven't bought any in two years and they are blooming like crazy in my garden

I never have any luck with salvia guaranitica and it's cultivars coming back or reseeding but I am a full zone north of you and probably in the minority. Sarah

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 2:24PM
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karen__w(z7 Durham, NC)

Black and Blue should winter over for you in 7b. It's reliably hardy for me in 7a, with voles being the biggest threat.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 4:41PM
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carrie630(z7bNC)

Thank you so much for the responses! I have a better feeling about them now that I have read your replies. I grew the splendens from seed and they are gorgeous and hopefully I will also have reseeds.

Karen - your black/blue came back? That's great - I hope mine do too - will let you know - Carrie

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 10:11PM
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wardw(z6 NJ)

Mine come back too. Don't cut down the stems until the worst of winter is over. There is quite a bit of disagreement over winter mulch for B&B. Many folks report that this just makes a perfect nest for voles. For some reason I've been getting away this. I pile a foot or two of leaves over the plants in late fall and remove them in early April. So far so good, some of my plants are more than 4 years old.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 9:59AM
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Lisa_H(7)

My B & B has come back for the last several years. This year I thought I had lost it for sure, but I think it got shaded out in the spring by the shirley poppies. After I pulled those they must have started growing. A couple of weeks ago I noticed the B & B was starting to bloom. I don't give it much mulch, just whatever happens to stay in the bed.

Lisa

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 3:41PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Comes back for me also in zone 7a North Carolina without a problem. No extra mulching needed in my experience. I have also had Salvia leucantha overwinter for me twice with nothing more than a little leaf mulch placed over the crown. I also don't cut the stems back until late winter when they are typically laying flat due to ice storm damage.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 10:38AM
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lboyce(Z5NY)

I just HAD to jump in and ask....will I be able to leave my Black & Blue salvia tubers in the ground here in Zone 5 with tons of mulch over them? I want these flowers everywhere possible!! Or should I dig them up and overwinter them in peat moss in a cool spot in the basement?

Linda

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 6:46PM
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wardw(z6 NJ)

In the ground? Probably not, you're just too cold. If you dig the tubers up, make sure you keep the stems attached because the tubers themselves will not sprout. If I was trying this method I'd wait until the plant has been killed to the ground and even a little beyond. You don't want it to break dormancy and sprout down there.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 8:54AM
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undercover_owl(8 Pac.NW)

Hi! I bought a Black & Blue yesterday for super-cheap.
Will it survive a zone 8 winter?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 3:03PM
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wardw(z6 NJ)

There's a chance. Certainly if the site is dry, and if the plant had time to get established.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 4:10PM
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brenda_near_eno(Z7a)

Well, mine used to come back, before the deer ate it 3 nights ago........

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 5:47AM
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aweeder

This salvia has been known to make it through a zone 5 winter, so it should certainly survive in NC!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 10:39PM
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Patrick888(z8 SeaTac WA)

tubers?! do these really form tubers, or we just talking about a typical root mass? I grew B & B this past year for the first time & haven't dug mine up to look...but would be so surprised to find tubers down there!

Patrick

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 3:09PM
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helena_z8_ms

They really do have tubers!!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 8:57PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Most of the guaraniticas do have tubers: Argentina Skies, Brazil form, B & B, Blue Ensign, and to a much lower degree, the Van Remsen form. The Costa Rican form, a possible tetraploid, does not, and neither does the hybrid Purple Majesty.

Voles are weak and opportunistic diggers, using moles to do most of their work. Moles are carnevores, eating earthworms and beetle grubs. By working in crushed rock around the base of tuberous plants, moles will be deterred from digging, since they will not heed the scent of the tubers that are delicious to voles.

I've attached an image of Salvia patens Guanajuato tubers to give you an idea of what typical Salvia tubers look like.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 10:36PM
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helena_z8_ms

I have a salvia B&B in a big pot that has not died back complete yet but that is infested with fireants nesting in the soil. I soaked the soil with water trying to get them to leave the pot but it hasn't work they just rebuild the nest. How can I get rid of them without them going to my other flower pots?
Helena

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 6:19PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

I think there are baits you can use. Worker ants will carry them back to the nest to feed to the brood and queen.

Drenches are another possibility, but uniform drenching is necessary. If you use this option, start with a uniformly damp pot. A saturated pot will not permit penetration, and if the root ball is completely dry, it will wet slowly and very irregularly. Think of the root ball as a sponge.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 11:36PM
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helena_z8_ms

Thank you Rich, I'm going to have to get the baits. We had rain last night and today and they are still there..
Helena

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 9:41AM
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catrina

Hi,
I have purchased or received the plants in trade more than once, and had them parish. Now I know why. It drives me nuts when places sell perennials that aren't hardy in this area. Now I know, but I think I may try them again and bring them in. Tubers hummmm. Question: I'm trying them again from seed this time. Will they bloom the first year? I never realized that they got that big either.
Thanks,
Catrina

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 9:57AM
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hummersteve

Well I for one am hoping they do come back. For out of desperation I have winter sowed some b&b seeds no matter what they may come out as. By the way rich I could not access your link on the tubers , it said denied , maybe one of my settings.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 1:28PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Nope. I will have to embed my images into their own web pages to make them accessible. The person who manages the server has increased security.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 7:26PM
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ocdgardener(8)

We got into the teens this winter and mine is already showing new growth. I bet yours will come back!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 4:39PM
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carrie630(z7bNC)

They're back and looking great -

Carrie

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 9:00PM
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gerris2

I overwinter my S. guaranitica directly in the container in my unheated garage with the Brugmansia farm. I wait for the plant to brown up and go dormant and then transfer it into the garage. I cut way back on watering, maybe once every month as I water the brugs. Then in late winter I see them come back to life, giving very nice and vigorous stems. I need to transfer them to a bit larger containers, I hope it doesn't complain to much.

Joseph

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 12:44PM
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wardda

I've wondered if a gardener north of zone 6 might be able to overwinter them like this. Cut them down after the ground freezes, put a sheet of plastic over the bed and then take hay bales and stack them on top, bags of leaves might work too. If the bed was naturally dry the plastic would keep out additional moisture and a few feet of straw would keep out the really deep cold. I'm just glad I don't have to try it.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 4:54PM
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ramazz(8a VA)

I am in 7b and all of mine are coming back up. They are in the yard, not in pots, in a variety of locations. We had a week in January when the temperatures were in the teens - that was our coldest spell. My Argentina Skies is coming back, too. I was worried about it because it was new last year and not very big.

Becky

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 8:08PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Ward,
There have been reports of a few people in zone 5 that have had their B&B's that were inground come back. I can't remember who it is now but one person has had their plant(s) survive for several years inground. I don't know what they did to protect it but I do remember the post from 2 yrs ago. That is what prompted me to plant mine out.

Penny

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 7:54AM
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remy_gw

I'm happy to report, my Black and Blue is alive!!! I planted out on the south side of my home near the foundation last fall. I received it in a trade last spring. It was in a pretty good size pot all summer. I just didn't have any room left inside to bring it in, so I decided to take a chance and plant it. I did put a good layer of mulch down when I planted, but I didn't pile it up.
Remy

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 8:08PM
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bettyjean-2008(6)

does anyone have an idea of what to plant in a windowbox for hummingbirds. thanks bettyjean-2008 ??

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 9:14PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

What zone are you in, and what exposure do you have (sun, direction)?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 10:36PM
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bettyjean-2008(6)

zone 6 half day sun

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 8:53AM
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catlady4444(7)

I'm getting ready to transfer my black & blue salvia (thanks, Mary!) from pots to ground. I'm in zone 7A. Should I consider planting it in a giant pot in the ground to protect it from voles or is this a minor problem? Or surround the area with buried rocks/gravel? I probably will take 1-2 plants in for the winter just to be sure I have survivors, but I was planning/hoping to have this in the garden year-round. What is the best way to ensure survival?

Thanks!

Ann

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 7:56AM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Working crushed rock or gravel around the root (and tuber) zone of your plant will deter voles. They are weak diggers and let moles do most of their work. Since moles are carnivores (earthworms, beetle grubs), they will avoid the denser soils if they can find their prey elsewhere. The voles will not dig through gravel by themselves. You will need to experiment to determine the optimum density of gravel and the optimum distance from the base of the plant you will need for effective results.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 11:23AM
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hummersteve

Being in zone 6 as a rule b and b dont come back for me, but this year I did have one come back and it is big and bushy. That flower bed is protected from the south winds.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 2:31AM
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remy_gw

I saw this old thread and I might as well update : ) Last year my B and B came back really strong and put on quite the show. This year when I saw it in the spring, the roots were exposed from some critter scratching at the soil surface over the winter. I assumed it was a goner. Well, it came out late, but it is still alive! It isn't as big as last year, but it is blooming.
Remy

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 9:21PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

My black and blue salvias have come back a couple of years without extra mulch.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 1:05PM
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glad2garden(5, Chicopee, Mass)

I love these salvias! The hummingbirds were buzzing around them all summer. This is the first year I've grown them and I'm hoping they will come back. They're in a south facing bed next to the house. I'm going to mulch them like crazy!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 4:11PM
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stbo1229

I don't know if anyone has bothered with this post anymore, but I am happy to say I live in Colorado, zone 5, and have had my black and blue come back for 3 years! Don't mulch, dig and pot or anything! :)
I truly love these...I actually have some babies this year too.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 7:35PM
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kdnate

This is a pretty old thread but just in case anybody reads it I'll give you my input. I live in Southeast Michigan and I love having the black and blue salvia in my yard, as it attracts lots of hummingbirds. Every fall, I cut the plant down to the ground and then I pile leaves about 3 feet deep over the top of the plant. The next spring, after the danger of frost is gone, I remove the leaves. I've had the same plants now for years, and each year they come back better than the previous year. It's so easy to keep them going...and in Michigan we have some brutal winter weather. This method works for me...if you want to keep your plants in the ground and have them survive...give it a try.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 9:16AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I bought 5 Salvia B & B plants last year, and they thrived over the summer. Such beautiful plants and the hummers love them! Then, the voles found them. They munched away at those fat tuberous roots. By the end of the season, they had wiped out 3 out of the 5 plants. I rescued the remaining 2 and potted them and put them in the garage to over-winter. I probably dug them up before they were even fully dormant, just wanted to get them away from the voles.

The plants did fine in the garage. By early spring, they were sending up new shoots. I planted them out last week, and put wire cages around the root ball at planting time to protect them from the voles. I used 1/2 inch hardware cloth and encircled the roots of the plants. I have had to do this with some other plants like Echinacea as well.

I just bought 3 more B & B at the nursery, and will circle those with hardware cloth too.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 10:55PM
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hummersteve

There is also another method for colder winter regions that works. I have a flower bed that is 10x25' and Ive covered it with heavy plastic or tarp the last 3 years and get nearly 100% return. I have a salvia guaranitica blue ensign that is now over 60" tall and gets better each year. It is a true hummer magnet. The calyx on this one though is green not black but the hummers dont mind.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 2:19PM
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docmoo(6)

Thank you ! I am glad this thread has continued for as long as it has; I only this year discovered the B & B and am "in love". Am looking forward to finding some for sale !

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:19AM
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kermitc

Voles are a real problem for us in the winter, where damage is harder to spot. They love to nest in our much! Right now we are working very hard to clean up rodents all the planting beds so as to have less trouble in the coming wet months.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 3:09PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Kermit, don't you have gophers? They are bigger and stronger diggers.

If you have voles, maybe crushed rock will work as a soil amendment. We use expanded shale/slate pellets to good effect. It would also improve drainage.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 11:32PM
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