Thursday, July 15, 2010

Salvia "Black and Blue"



Salvia 'Black and Blue' (Salvia guaranitica) (aka Blue Anise Sage, Brazilian Sage, Sapphire Sage)

There are more varieties of salvia than you can shake a stick at and I love them all but if I could only choose one, this would be it. Salvia 'Black and Blue' is named for the color of the flowers - cobalt blue flowers that emerge from jet black calyces. These tubular flowers persist throughout the summer (plants can be sheared in mid-summer for fall bloom) and it is one of the top favorites of hummingbirds. Although the flowers are the star attraction, the foliage itself is quite nice. Light green fuzzy leaves are strongly scented with a sage-like fragrance. This salvia is considered somewhat tender but it has overwintered in my garden for the past four years. Mulch it heavily during the winter months and be sure you grow it in well-drained soil - wet feet will certainly kill it during the winter months. (Cameron at Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel advises not cutting the stems back during the winter months). It will spread but not to the point of invasiveness. Share it and enjoy!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

27 comments:

  1. It's a beautiful plant, that's for sure. I tend to favour blue above all else.

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  2. I have been less than impressed with this Salvia in my garden...location perhaps.

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  3. This is my favorite Salvia too. It doesn't come back here. I have to plant it every year. At my Sister's house, in the same zone but 50+miles south of where I live it reseeds itsself. Lucky dog.

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  4. I grow a lot of it here. The trick to overwintering in my zone is to not cut back the stems during the fall clean up. It is late to emerge here in the spring and just when I give up on a clump, I'll find sprouts of green. The hummingbirds are thrilled!

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  5. It is perhaps too hardy here and will forcefully out grow its alloted space, but I would not have a garden without it.

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  6. Call me a fan of any salvia. B&B is all over my garden now. Cuttings root easy but since it spreads so well aren't really necessary!

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  7. Yep. I love it too. I'll be taking cuttings in an hour or so to make more for next year. I love the blue among all my yellows. All three of my plants returned after a very hard winter. Cameron is right, don't cut it back and leave the dead growth to protect the crown.

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  8. This is on my wish list! My son had black and blue salvia in his garden and the hummingbirds and butterflies loved it. I have May Nights but not this one.

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  9. Nice looking plant and thanks for the post because I used to plant salvia years ago, but have gotten away from them. I'll have to add that to my list for next season.

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  10. One of my favorites too. Mine is holding up well this summer, not too much damage from munching insects as in other years!

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  11. Hi Phillip, this is my first year growing it. I have it in pots with a couple other blue salvias. I like it but it's pretty much the same as the others except for the darker color.
    Marnie

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  12. Salvias are great plants for the south. I just planted black and blue this summer and have been very happy with it. It's a real beauty!

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  13. The black makes the blue look even more particularly blue. I'll look out for this one. The fact you can take cuttings sounds promising for us northern gardeners.

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  14. it's one of my favorites, too, Phillip and I love that it survives here most winters....gail

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  15. Well, your gorgeous photo made me do it. I went out right after reading this post and bought a black and blue salvia and a deep blue ceramic pot to keep it in. I'm zone 5, so I'll try to winter it in the unheated garage to keep it for next year. We'll see how that goes. I have admired this beautiful sage for a while, and your post convinced me to finally get it. Nice.

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  16. A fave of mine as well. A photo of B&B salvia is actually my current twitter avatar. Of course I have rarely met a salvia that I didn't like and Jason at Petals from the Past near Bham does his best to wreck my budget. There is always a new one there. Just got a yellow salvia.

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  17. I grow this one also, and it is a favorite of mine, too. The intensity of the color is amazing!

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  18. Phillip, it is one of my favorites too and has overwintered in my garden for several years. Just a really beautiful plant which keeps on going during the hot summer.~~Dee

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  19. This is also my favorite salvia. The main reason I love it is because the hummers love it so much. But I like the contrast of the light green leaves with the dark, almost iridescent, blue. Mine is also about 4 years old and I'm finding that it's not quite as vigorous as before. Maybe it was the cold winter or maybe it just has that lifespan, I don't know. It's been a weird year in my garden, especially now that my Madame A. Carriere rose died! Such is the life of a gardener I guess.

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  20. For all the northern gardeners like myself, this plant actually produces tubers which you can dig and overwinter like a dahlia. I just pop the out of the ground after frost, wrap the tuber in dry news paper, and put that in a plastic back in my basement. Come spring, I plant them, and have another year of great blueflowers!

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  21. I had an odd experience with this plant. It caught my eye at the garden center and I put it in a large pot, decided that the pot wasn't big enough for it so I put it in the ground. It seemed fine and suddenly it was stripped bare! I'm a novice gardener & I'm not certain what happened. My cousin thought something ate it but that is only plant that was affected. Any thoughts?

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  22. Salvia guaranitica is such a lovely plant. I have grown it for years and it really adds depth to a perennial bed. I found an interesting article about them from Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, NC at: (www.plantdelights.com/Catalog/Plants/Genus/Salvia)

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  23. B and B is also my favorite salvia, and really the only one I have anymore. I plant black and blue whenever I can find it to buy but have never had it overwinter here in Illinois. I planted it in a more protected location this summer and am going to follow the tips for mulching it and not cutting it back, but I am going to try to take some cuttings, too. I don't have it with yellow flowers, as someone else suggested in a post, but I love that combination too, so maybe I'll try that for next year as well. Thanks for all the posts - very interesting and informative to read.

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  24. I really enjoyed reading all the posts on B&B salvia's. I'm new to gardening and have learned much from trial and error. I will try to over-winter my beautiful B&B this year in Jamestown, NC Zone 7. I took cuttings and put them into moist potting soil under grow lights in doors, another trial....

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  25. My B&B salvia survived the 2010 harsh winter in Jamestown NC zone 7. I simply covered my plant well with about 10" of Fall leaves and was thrilled when they popped up again in 2011! I added some manure into the soil and watered and the plants have grown so tall and beautiful. I plan to take cuttings again this year just in case.

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