bicolor sage won't bloom

rembetika(austin, TX)November 9, 2005

i planted 2 small bicolor sage plants last spring (early) in a spot where i have dug very deep & loosened the soil, added some aged turkey manure fertilizer (not too much), and added tons of mulch on top. it was a rough summer, and the plants would wilt within 24 hours no matter how much i watered... so they got well-soaked every morning. they survived and are speading and thriving, EXCEPT for the fact that, there are no flowers, and there haven't been since i planted them. i LOVE these blooms, the blue is so intense- even though they are tiny. but they faded after a week or 2 & haven't come back (which is the way it goes for pretty much ALL the flowering plants i've put in the ground!)

what am i doing wrong? these aren't really native to central TX, but apparently have been adapted & are considered a "texas star" plant... do these usually take a year or more to get established before they bloom again? or, i keep wondering if there's some key ingredient missing in the soil that's preventing them from blooming. i thought all you had to add to native soil was good fertilizer. i am tempted to take them out & give them away to someone else who might have better luck with them, & put something in there that might do better... or should i just be patient?

thanks!

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CA Kate

Most herbs like lean soil. Perhaps you've been too good to them.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 11:51PM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

but,,, why would bicolor sage (salvia) be considered an herb?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 4:03AM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Are you referring to Salvia bicolor Sessé et Moc. of Mexico: Vera Cruz, Tlaxcala, Mexico, Morelos, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, or of the one from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia better known as Salvia barrelieri? The first requires a subtropical, humusy environment, and the latter a cooler, loamy soil with drainage.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 11:02AM
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CA Kate

I was assuming (sorry about that) that rembetika was referring to a varigated form of S. officinalis..... culinary Sage.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 1:59PM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

westelle, no problem.. :) and actually i do have regular culinary sage in a different spot in crappy soil, and it looks pretty good.

the one i'm referring to is Salvia sinaloensis
http://www.magnoliagardensnursery.com/productdescrip/Salvia-Bicolor.html

the blooms looked so beautiful when i bought it, and after planting, they all just went away, never to come back.
the spot gets some pretty intense afternoon sunlight.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 10:12PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Salvia sinaloensis is a late bloomer, usually once a year. If it is forming a clump, and the foliage is a rich burgundy, it should be happy. It makes a tricky pot plant and can die if the roots are too wet and cold during the winter. I would give it moderate humus, loose soil, and not too much nitrogen when it is in semi dormancy.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 10:29PM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

it's not forming a clump, it's spread out and pretty flat.
does it take a year or so to get established & put down roots before it really starts to bloom?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 2:49PM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

it's not forming a clump, it's spread out and pretty flat.
does it take a year or so to get established & put down roots before it really starts to bloom?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 3:47PM
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jfr1107(ABQ z7 and denial)

It is not a great plant here in Austin. It does not like the extremes of heat and cold. If you "pamper" it with regular water, rich well draining soil and even fertilize it, it can bloom on and off. It prefers morning sun and late day shade here. It never looks like what it looks like in coastal CA or other milder climates.

Good Luck.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 9:42PM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

rembetika

All 900+ varieties of sages/salvias are considered herbs. An herb doesn't have to be only a culinary herb.

Anyway, I agree with John that it is not a great plant to try to grow in Texas. It is supposed to be a Plant for Texas, but I have never managed to get it to do anything down here on the coast. I believe that it is because of the combined high heat and high humidity. I have always planted them, along with the Tricolor sage in raised beds, but they just die out as soon as it gets really hot and humid.

You might just want to grow it as an annual cool-weather herb and try to forget growing them as a perennial.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 1:00PM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

Yesterday, I bought a one gallon pot of Salvia sinaloensis because it was 25% off, and I figured "What do I have to lose?"

I've been doing a little research about them, and even though the tag says full to partial shade, from what I've been reading about those planted in Texas is that they do better in partial shade. Especially, shade during the afternoons, so I'm going to try that and see what happens.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 12:28PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

When you plant it, make sure it has good drainage. If you see short stolons (runners) with new growth popping out around the perimiter of the pot and lots of new, light-colored roots at the edge, you will have a better chance of it taking. For a plant in a 1 gallon container, there should at least be a mutitude of shoots in the pot, indicating it is forming a clump. This is good advice for any of the stoloniferous sages like S. buchananii, S. glechomiifolia, and S. blepharophylla.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 1:26PM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

Rich,

Thank you for the information. I will make good use of it.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 2:59PM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

ltcollins, i did not realize that these salvias were also considered herbs- thanks for the info!
and you are right, even though it's on that list it doesn't seem to be completely happy here in TX (at least not in my plot)... it was wilting every day in the summer, and a large part of the plants wilted in the frost (even with a blanket over). it'll be interesting to see if any flowers come back this spring, maybe it will be well-rooted enough to give some blooms... if not, i'll maybe move it into deeper shade, or something.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 7:53PM
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dena_tx(z9 Tx)

I've grown this plant in Texas for several years. I first planted it in full sun and it did not do well at all. I transplated some of it to morning sun area and it does great there and flowers more. I have since removed all that was in full sun since it did not bloom well there. I agree with previous posters that in Texas partial shade is the place to plant it.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2006 at 7:47AM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

OK, an update... the frost killed parts of the plants that weren't covered, so i cut those parts back.. but the parts that didn't die are looking healthier & more robust than ever. i think we may see some blooms this spring....?? they probably just needed a few months of cool weather to settle in... (although most of our winter was in the 80's!)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 9:58PM
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lizmcarrera

Bicolor sage does work in Austin, however shade to part shade, and it will bloom in the shade. It takes a while to get established, especially right after you remove it from a pot, it goes into shock. Instead of investing in reproducing its investing its energy in growing roots. If you planted it in the summer, most likely it was too hot, and it seems like when plants go in the summer, they really may or may not make it because the ground may be too hot, and it might not grow well until the next spring. That being said, do you have an irrigation system installed is my other question.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:07AM
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