Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: June 26, 2008

Black and Blue Salvia (Sage)
Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

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Species Native Range: South America
Hardiness: USDA Zones (7)8-10
Mature Size: 3-5 feet tall and wide
Exposure: Full sun
Soil: Well-drained
Drought Tolerance: Excellent
Ease of Culture: Easy

Another selection in my "tough plants series," black and blue salvia scoffs at heat and drought. This South American plant is actually a shrub but in zones 8-10 dies back to the ground like a perennial. I honestly believe this plant is more cold tolerant than publicized as I've had it for years and it has survived single-digit temperatures.

In late spring or early summer, the plant produces stalks of 1 inch deep blue, lipped tubular flowers. If deadheaded, the plant will continue to bloom into the fall. The flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds. Cut the plant to the ground after the first frost in the fall. This plant can be easily divided in the spring.

Plant BB salvia in full sun in soil that has organic matter but is well-drained. Too much moisture around the roots can lead to root or crown rot, especially in the winter. Keep in mind the mature size of this plant and site it accordingly.

Grow BB salvia with other sun-loving, drought tolerant shrubs, annuals and perennials such as 'Miss Huff' lantana, shasta daisy, orange butterfly weed, goldenrod and other salvias such as Autumn or Mexican sage. It would make a wonderful companion to the Indian blanket that was featured on June 12.


Although I've seen or purchased this plant from these nurseries, I cannot guarantee that they will have it in stock at the time of this publication.

Pike Nurseries: multiple locations
Buck Jones Nursery: Grayson, Woodstock
Randy's Perennials: Lawrenceville
Plant Delights Nursery: mailorder
Nature Hills Nursery: mailorder

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