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Salvia for Part Shade Areas??

Posted by lovefornature 5B IL (My Page) on
Mon, May 12, 08 at 9:43

I want to grow Salvia so very bad, but I have a very shady lot.

I am also in Zone 5B IL. Everything I have been reading about Salvia is that it requires full sun.

I am interested mainly in attracting Hummingbirds and wondered if anyone could give me some advice about Salvia which will grow in a shady spot. It would have some sun during the day (about 2 hours afternoon) and some dappled sun also in the afternoon.

Thank you very much for your time :)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Salvia for Part Shade Areas??

Is this an established garden plot? If not, make sure there are no invasive tree roots, especially from maples. They will suck up nutrients more vigorously than most perennials.

I would recommend the hardy Eurasian species like pratensis, nemerosa, superba, glutinosa, nubicola, koyamae, etc. These will not have the showy red to fuchsia flowers of the American tropical species, and will bloom at different times. mostly late spring to summer. Not too many bloom in autumn.

RE: Salvia for Part Shade Areas??

Do the Eurasian salvias attract hummingbirds? I didn't think they did. I have seen butterflies and bees on mine.

I have one Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' that is in part shade. I put it there accidentally, but it comes back each year and it does bloom. It is not as large as the ones in full sun.

I know my salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red' seems to reseed everywhere. I even find it in potted plants, coming up during the winter. So it might tolerate light shade. I raised salvia subrotunda in the house over the winter, too, and it was blooming. It was next to a window, but not in full sun. So I would say, don't spend a lot of money, but try a few things and see what happens. If you participate in the seed exchange, you can probably still pick up some salvia seeds over there. I still have some, LOL.


RE: Salvia for Part Shade Areas??

  • Posted by dicot Los Angeles (My Page) on
    Tue, May 13, 08 at 15:02

I would say take a chance on S. guaranitica and S. elegans (pineapple sage) which are commonly listed as top 10 plants for hummingbirds in the US and can flower without full sun.

RE: Salvia for Part Shade Areas??

What about miniata? It grows very well for me in part shade. My attempts in deep shade haven't been as successful but that might be do to competition from maple roots; my impression is that this species needs a rich moist root run. Miniatas heaviest bloom, at least for me, is toward the end of July, which is well timed to feed hungry immature hummingbirds on their first trip south.

RE: Salvia for Part Shade Areas??

I have S. uliginosa ("bog sage") in a couple of beds -- one gets half a day's worth of sun and the other gets only dappled sunlight. The flowers are sky blue (smallish but very pretty color IMO). Be forewarned that it's very invasive and might need to be planted like mint. I also don't know how happy it would be in your area and I don't know how well it attracts hummingbirds.

S. microphylla (red/pink flowers) is my big hummingbird attractor. It can tolerate partial shade.

RE: Salvia for Part Shade Areas??

If you don't mind a reseeding annual S.coccinea "Lady in Red" or "Forest Fire" work great even under tree's where compition for water and nutrients can be a problem.Mine
thrive in those conditions.The hummingbirds have already
moved north of my Z8 garden.

RE: Salvia for Part Shade Areas??

I think salvia coccinea is a good bet, or you could perhaps find pots of a Salvia greggii or Salvia microphylla or Salvia guaranitica. All of these will do OK in the part shade, although they would do better in full sun. I wouldn't expect fast growth, so buying plants that are already large enough to bloom would be a good idea, especially with the S. greggi or S. microphylla. Salvia guaranitica should survive winter with a nice thick mulch. I have lots of S. guaranitica in both full sun and some with a half day of shade, and all do fine. They have survived in the ground for three winters here in central PA, which is about the same zone as you are in. Salvia miniata would be good as an annual, but may be hard to find.

For attracting hummingbirds you should consider Bee Balm (Mondarda didyma) which is of course not a salvia, but grows fine in part shade and is completely hardy in zone 5b. Also look at Cardinal FLower (Lobelia cardinalis) if you have reasonably moist shady conditions. With Bee balm and cardinal flower you'll have top notch hummingbird flowers blooming from June well into September, the period of the year when you're most likely to see hummingbirds.

In my experience european/asian salvias are not much use in attracting hummingbirds. Certainly they are nowhere close to the new world salvias in this regard.

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