gmtoday_small.gif

 


On Gardening: Misplaced sage, a stunner in the fall garden

November 21, 2016

The red misplaced sage, Salvia disjuncta, and Copper Canyon daisy, Tagetes lemmonii, create a wonderful fall combination.

The misplaced sage heads up a group fall-blooming salvias that are absolutely riveting now in the garden. Salvias just may be the favorite collector plants by gardeners in the United Sates and rightfully so as I will further explain.

Your first question is probably what is the misplaced salvia? Well botanically speaking it is Salvia disjuncta. It is from Mexico and simply amazing with its saturated fire engine red blooms. The blooms number in the hundreds and will completely mesmerize everyone that looks at them.

Our plants are around four feet tall and can reach a staggering 6-ft in height. We have ours partnered with the Copper Canyon daisy, Tagetes lemmonii and other Mexico favorites in the gardens. Visually this analogous color schemed partnership has to be one of the most attractive for the fall landscape.

The misplaced sage is truly a short day bloomer like the purple spiked Mexican bush sage that is also growing in close proximity. Some suppliers report blooms starting in late October but ours started in September. The incredible display lasts until a hard frost occurs.

So I have mentioned two fall-blooming salvias triggered by shorter day lengths, the misplaced sage, Salvia disjuncta and the Mexican Bush sage, Salvia leucantha. Two other short day salvias you may want to consider are the orange mountain sage, Salvia regla and the stunning Red Neck Girl, a yellow flowered forsythia sage, Salvia madrensis. All of the salvias are cold hardy from zone 7 through 10 and can be a tasty treat for the late season hummingbirds.

Our other fall-blooming salvias have really been blooming all summer. We were going to have an Autumn Gardenfest in October but Hurricane Matthew had other plans. But to get ready for the fall festival we counted back 7 weeks and pruned back the salvias hard.

Though we had to cancel the festival we are reaping the reward of hard pruning with great displays of the salvias like the royal purple Amistad a Salvia guaranitica hybrid and the Mystic Spires Blue a terrific compact Salvia farinacea x S. longispicata hybrid.

It is a mystery to me why everyone doesn’t grow salvias. They are deer resistant perennials creating excitement in the garden by virtue of their spiky blooms, and attracting hummingbirds and pollinators with a frenzy.

Now perhaps you are living north of zone 7 and thinking what about me? Then the first choice would have to be May Night an awarding winning Perennial Plant of the Year and cold hardy from zones 4-9 and though it might not bloom into the fall, the Meadow sage, Salvia pratensis will and it is equally cold-hardy.

Hopefully, you will give perennial salvias a try. To grow yours, next spring choose a site in full to part sun for best flowering. Again our beds get direct afternoon sun. Good drainage improves the chances of a spring return. Cold winters coupled with soggy soil and the salvias will generally be history.

To help with those drainage issues prepare your soil before planting by adding 3 to 4 inches of organic matter like fine pine bark or compost, and till to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. While preparing the bed, incorporate 2 pounds of a 12-6-6 slow-release fertilizer with minor nutrients. Plant them at the same depth they are growing in the container spacing 2 to 3-feet apart or as recommended by per your variety and species.

 

 


McClatchy-Tribune Information Services