You Can Grow That: Sturdy Salvias in a Host of Heights

Salvia 'Love and Wishes'
Some reseed without being a pest and pop up at opportune places. Others like shade in the afternoon and offer up a soft yellow in the late summer, while others will grow tall enough to look you in the eye. Grown widely in the dry states (and I don't mean states that don't serve alcohol.), Salvia, or sage, is one of the most forgiving plants on the planet.

I've become a serious devotee of the tall varieties with huge flowers, and this year purchased two that are prettily nestled into one of the hot, sunny spots in my garden. Two have already been blooming, because I purchased quart-sized pots from Flowers by the Sea in northern California.
Salvia 'Wendy's Wish'

It cost a bit more in shipping, but it was well worth it for the well-established plants I received. Anything smaller and I'm lucky if the plant blooms by September. When I saw that FBTS offered 'Love and Wishes', I had to have one.

Here is what FBTS says about the three feet-tall 'Love and Wishes':
Retired government worker John Fisher of Orange, Australia, hybridized Love and Wishes from Wendy's Wish Sage (Salvia x 'Wendy's Wish'). He decided that it should benefit Australia's Make-a-Wish Foundation similar to its parent plant. Wendy's Wish is an accidental hybrid from the Victoria, Australia, garden of Salvia enthusiast Wendy Smith. Smith found its seedling beneath S. mexicana 'Lolly'. However, the plant's parentage remains a mystery. 
Salvia 'Amistad'
Even quicker to bloom is 'Amistad', a hybrid discovered in 2005 at a plant show in Argentina. According to Rolando Uria of the University of Buenos Aires, 'Amistad' has been replacing South American native Salvia guarantica in the gardens of Buenos Aires. Another hybrid whose parentage is in question, there is nothing shy or retiring about the four feet-tall 'Amistad', with its huge fluorescent purple calyxes and well-branched habit.
Salvia Cathedral 'Sky Blue'

Another more typical garden Salvia is Cathedral 'Sky Blue', a fairly new introduction in the S. farinacea family of hybrids, and an improvement over 'Victoria' with its delightfully compact nature and pale but true blue color. It's been blooming its head off at no more than 12"-14" tall.


As part of the YOU CAN GROW THAT! community, I've offered up a selection of plants that are unusual but easy, and that give some verticality to a garden often filled with rounded flowers.



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