November 12, 2013
Many gardeners consider annual salvia is the most colorful, but perennial salvia deserves a place in your landscape and garden. Today I'm visiting the salvia trial garden at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona. It's the fall season and these perennial salvia are a favorite for insect visitors. Popular perennial salvia for Mississippi gardens and landscapes are the blue varieties, such as Bedder's Blue. This plant will grow to about 30 inches tall with beautiful flower spikes featuring vibrant deep blue flowers until frost in the fall. One of the showiest is the Texas Hummingbird salvia. This is a tender perennial, meaning that it may, or may not survive from season to season. But all that really means is that you should treat it as an annual where it's not hardy enough to come back year after year. Its deep red flowers, having dark bases and stems, are borne on 2 to 2.5 foot open spikes from summer to autumn. As the name suggests butterflies and hummingbirds love them. There are some other salvia colors available. While nearing the end of their flowering season the electric blue flowers of Blue angel and the snow white flowered Snow Nymph still add landscape interest. Now here is a really interesting salvia that loves our hot summers and that's only grown for its foliage. The foliage of Silver Sage grows in basal rosettes and is a wonderful cool gray sea foam. Based on the leaf size and fuzziness it's no wonder this plant is also called Hobbit's Foot salvia. The fall season is a great time to enjoy perennial salvia before the colder temperatures of winter. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.