S. guaranitca 'Costa Rica Blue'

sequoia851(CA z9sunset15)December 29, 2007

Has anyone had any success with this plant in a drier climate? For me it tends to get leggy and woody every year without producing much foliage. What is the best pruning time and strategy for the winter months. I have been cutting it back to 1 to 1 and a half feet each year. Still an underperformer. Anyone have any advice on this one?

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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

With your zone at 9 and your comment about legginess, do you have it in deep shade?

For me in North Carolina, it needs to get around 5 feet tall before it blooms. It is comparable in size to Salvia madrensis and Salvia guaranitica x Purple Majesty when it blooms.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 9:45AM
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I'm with you sequoia851, all the S. guaraniticas can't take much sun in my garden here in LA and get leggy in the shade. Maybe if I had better drained, better fertilized soil they and some of the other subtropical salvias would do better, but I find myself preferring S spathacea or elegans or one of the many native lupines instead.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 2:48PM
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sequoia851(CA z9sunset15)

It's certainly been a challenge with this plant in a garden that I maintain. We are all organic on this site, so this year (2nd year in a row) we added about 3" top dressing with compost and a good amount of alfalpha meal. The Salvia is planted in a row on the top of a slope by a driveway, so drainage should be good. The specimens that do the best are the ones that are sheltered on the north side by some medium sized redwoods. The ones that are more exposed get leggy every year. Anyone have experience with pruning/cutting back this plant anually? What works best? What times of year (early vs late) do you cut back?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 3:36PM
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Here in New Jesey our growing season is too short for pruning back guaranticas. When the weather has done it the plants were set back by maybe 6 weeks. Do you prune your plants back in early spring? If I lived in your climate I'd be tempted to cut the whole patch to the ground say in January or February. Maybe your plants would appreciate less nitrogen. While I haven't tried Costa Rican Blue, I did add Brazil and Van Remsen to the garden last year. A Van Remsen grown in my enriched vegetable garden soil was quite a beautiful trial, growing to seven plus feet and requiring heavy staking. In lean soil VR only reached four feet and required no support. And going against what I just said is my experience with Black & Blue. In my sandy soil B&B needs some additional nitrogen and to keep them from developing yellow leaves in summer I topdress the clumps with composted stable material in spring and give them nitrogen in mid summer. My first year experience with Brazil also indicates that it is a heavy feeder.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 9:48AM
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My 'Black and Blue' has been dying back to the ground each year for the 2 I've had it; we live up near Sacramento. However, if it ever manages to make it through, I plan on cutting it back to the ground just as new growth is starting, anywhere from February on.

This will be my first year with it in the ground, rather than in a large pot, so that will probably up the odds that it won't die back, as per usual. :)


    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 9:06AM
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