Summertime is hot and dry as we all know, but it’s also the time to cut back a lot of Salvias, especially those greggii and microphylla shrubs that have become leggy or full blown and beginning to flop everywhere, over other plants.
You don’t have to cut them all at once, just select the worst, so you can stagger the cutting and loss of flowers. Of course if the cut back shrubs look odd among the others, then do that whole bed. Don’t worry about losing the flowers, they’ll be back in about 4 weeks, with a new flush of fresh growth and a new crop of flowers.
By cutting now, the new flush of growth and flowers will extend the flowering well into the Autumn and Winter.
Summertime heat and dryness isn’t over yet, even if there is a cool change appearing, so to keep your plants healthy and able to survive the heat, keep their roots cool, by watering well and mulching. This can be various mediums – sugar cane, straw, grass clippings and even stones.
Gardens that don’t use mulch, find that they need to water virtually every day and of course using so much more water than if the beds were mulched.
If you are cutting back now, don’t forget to fertilise before mulching. Water the fertiliser in well, then mulch, to prevent burning the leaves or the stem, the mulch will then keep that moisture close to the plant roots.
If you ‘re taking cuttings now of all your prunings, work in the shade , place the cuttings into water before placing into the perlite mix, keep the perlite moist. Place the pots/ trays of cuttings in the shade on soil, until it’s cool enough to place them in direct sun.
Remember the large leaf Salvias require shade to strike and the small leaf Salvias like the sun, but only after they have spent a few days in the shade to settle.
It’s time to prune those tall winter flowering Salvias.
Where to prune? The plants actually show you where to prune.
DON”T CUT DOWN TO THE GROUND. Instead if you’ve pruned off the daggy flower heads, then those stems should be shooting again. At the same time there should be new growth happening at the base.
If you leave those new shoots on the cut stems, long enough, then you will have some nice cutting material. If not, then cut out the old stems , leaving the new growth to come up and grow for the summer.
If you still want some height, you can cut the old stems down by a quarter or by a half and wait for the new shoots to arrive. It’s always a good idea to take out some of the old stems each year to prevent the clump for becoming too wide, especially in a small garden.
If your clump has grown too wide after you have pruned, then dig out some of the outside shoots, leaving the plant to concentrate on the shoots in the centre. At this stage, it’s always a good idea to place a few stakes around the plant with string to guide these new shoots upwards, preventing them from flopping in the wind and keeping the clump neat and tidy – this allows the stems to move in the wind without breaking and without the stems flopping over other plants and becoming a nuisance.
DON’T DIG OUT if you think the plant is too big, just reduce it to a manageable size and enjoy the Salvia when it flowers next season. Don’t forget those tall Salvias are protecting other plants in your garden, providing a sheltered environment for other sensitive plants, they also attract the birds.
Although it’s very cold out in the garden, there are plenty of Salvias flowering. As many of these Salvias from Sth America come from high up in the mountains in cool rainforests, their flowering is predetermined by cool temperatures and short daylight hours..
Unfortunately this year, we’ve had quite a few severe frosts and many large leaf Salvias have been frosted.
If you have planted your Salvia in the wrong position in an exposed situation, then it might have got frosted.
As they love the shade, place these large leaved Salvias under trees or in among other shrubs that will give some shelter. If your Salvia has been frosted, make sure it is well mulched so that it has the chance to send up new shoots from the base.
Leave the unsightly frosted branches until all frosts have cleared. These blackened branches will shelter the new shoots that are now beginning. With a little warm weather and more rain, all Salvias will be bursting with new growth.
I cut my small leaved Salvias down late May, early June. With a bit of moisture from above, a bit of fertilizer and mulch, their growth has rocketed away and they are already back in flower!!. I’ve even had to start cutting back again all the exuberant side shoots.
I’ll begin cutting back my tall growing large leaf Salvias when they produce young side shoots, then taking out the large old canes, leaving all the young shoots to form a good bush that can then be shaped.
Just to catch up with what’s happening in August – We’re visiting the Geelong Botanical Gardens on Sun 13th to view the Salvia collection.
Our oldest member Bill Whitehead 101yrs donated his Salvia collection to the Geelong Bot Gardens many years ago and since then, many more Salvias have been donated, which make up quite an extensive collection.
All welcome to join us on the day.
We have a Salvia garden to visit in Modella near Longwarry, in East Gippsland Sun 27th – full of interesting Salvias and other garden plants.
10th September sees us hosting our Subscribers Lunch, to say thankyou to all those who have subscribed and joined the Group. A delicious lunch, tea & coffee will be found under the oaks at our Display Garden in Nobelius Heritage Park at Emerald .
Then the next weekend, Sun 17th , we will be demonstrating how to prune the various forms of Salvias and of course there will be lots of cuttings to be taken home.
October is a big month for us with the Garden Lovers Fair at Bolobek being held on the weekend of 7th & 8th Oct and later in the month
the Botanic and Rare Plant Fair, on 21st & 22nd Oct, held at the Botanic gardens. if that wasn’t enough, also on that same weekend we are selling Salvias at the Morning Star estate as part of their 5 open gardens in and around Mt Eliza.
Last but not least for October is the Ivanhoe Fiesta at the Community Centre in Ivanhoe on Sat 29th – a great little affair with the whole community getting involved, a community veg and flower garden, us selling Salvias and so much more!
So we have a full diary coming up. I hope you’ll come and join us at some of these events.
It might feel like Winter, but there are loads of Salvias still flowering and beginning to flower during this cold season.
mexicana ‘Limelight’ might have finished, but ‘Bill Whitehead’ and ‘Lolly’ are still flowering as is mexicana ‘Snowflake’ and ‘Kieran’. These are both upright, slender plants , where as the others are more bushy.
The first of the Winter “Pinks” are beginning to flower with the beautiful arching involucrata spp and ‘Hadspen’ appearing, these with the mighty madrensis producing gorgeous spikes of lemon yellow flowers are gorgeous, this with the tricoloured purples of semi atrata make a beautiful contrast ‘Follett’s Folly’ is still going strongly as is ‘Costa Rican Blue’ and gesneriiflora ‘Tequila’.
Have a look around to see a vibrant palette of colour for winter and still more to come.
Although it’s still Autumn, Winter is truly upon us with all the glorious tall winter flowering Salvias coming into their own, such as S. iodantha with magnificent magenta brushes, or the mauve brushes of S. pupurea. Don’t forget the sky blue of the upright ‘Bluebird’ or the smokey blue of S. polystachya.
S. involucrata is in full bud and should be showing it’s cerise pink flowers in the next week or two. The purples of Autumn are still as strong as ever, with a few dark wine coloured mid sized Salvias showing through the branches forth such as ‘Ripe Raspberry and ‘Mulberry Jam’ and curviflora which grows happily under the eaves of houses in that shade and dryness.
So many beautiful Autumn Salvias are beginning to flower now, while the buds of the tall Winter flowering Salvias are beginning to swell.
Autumn is awash with Purple this year. Such beauties as the tall ‘Violet eyes’, ‘Limelight’, both showing off their purple/ green combination and the purple/ blue mottles black combinations of S. mexicana ‘Bill whitehead’ and ‘Lolly’, showing off their full brushes of coloured flowers, then there is the many coloured ‘Phyllis fancy’ and the gorgeous purple and white ‘Meigan’s Magic’. Her brother’ Anthony Parker’ will be stealing the show soon with his rich purple/ purple combination. ‘Black knight’ and ‘Amistad’ are still performing well, but are now beginning to retire.
On a quieter scale, the soft smokey blue of S. polystachya and S. azurea coupled with white or silver leaves are a good foil for the other rich colours.
The pinks are still just as strong with S. oxyphora with it’s furry hood contrasting beautifully with the green calyx, is gorgeous, then there is the ever flowering S. chiapensis and ‘Magenta magic’, always there in the background. ‘Joan’ always flowering through hot and dry, through cold and wet – always there in flower showing her bright pink head of flowers.
Of course all the small leaf Salvias are always flowering with their huge range of colours, always bright and beautiful.
There really is a Salvia foe every garden to match and mix with all there is in a garden.
Jindivick Rare Plant Sale
Sat 8th April
If you missed out finding those Salvias that you’re wanting at Ferny Creek, then you have another chance to catch us at Jindivick.
Jackson’s Track , Jindivick Hall.
We are fully stocked with lots of unusual and often unavailable Salvias. Come Early to get those bargains!! Email me your list so you don’t miss out. They can be put aside for you.
Yellow Japanese Salvias are now flowering:
These are all herbaceous, most are low growing leafy, shrubby perennials. Quite a few have very interesting leaves, often lobed or hastate shaped, some have yellow/ green leaves, others have dark green or even some variegation in their leaves as S. ‘Fuji Snow’ – all very interesting.
These Salvias are mostly small growing , 20-40cmH. S. koyamae will sprawl sideways, making an interesting ground cover, climbing over a rock or a hanging basket. S. campanulata and ‘Yamagata’ make small mounds of graceful leaves, S. ‘Crug’s Cream’ has lovely mounded growth with beautiful lobed dark green leaves, making a good pot plant, it’s cousin S. nipponica triloba is a dainty smaller version. S.glutiosa on the other hand is strong enough to plant out in the garden, producing large upright hastate leaves. S. nubicola is probably the largest of the group, growing to 1mH, again with large leaves and flowering throughout the summer.
Most of these Japanese Salvias are flowering now, in late summer, early Autumn, just before they begin to go down for winter. They all need a shady sheltered position with good rich soil – lots of compost and well watered during the summer.
They all have pale yellow flowers, some have markings on their lower lobes to guide the bees or other pollinating insects into the flower. Some have purple stripes or brown dots, while others don’t have any at all, but might have a purple stigma as a signal to the insects.
S. glutinosa and S. nubicola are the only ones in the group that have any colouring or markings in their hoods.
Check them out on the Plant I.D. page.
The Plant I.D. Page is now complete with updated information and photos.
This page gives you an idea of how to identify those particular group of plants, finding just how many different varieties are within that group of plants. Lots of scope for collecting more of that group.
The photos show the major differences between one and another, so you can identify what you might have in your garden.
For more detailed information on the differences between the greggii’s and microphylla’s, please go to the greggii/ microphylla page which will give you a more detailed view of the plants.
The greggii/ microphylla page will be a work in progress, but when completed, hopefully will show all the known varieties here in Australia. This will of course be updated as new varieties are found.
Brilliantasia is a magnificent plant with those beautiful huge purple flowers, but it is NOT a Salvia, it certainly looks like a Salvia but is closely related being in the same family Laminacea.
Most people simply Ooh and aah those beautiful flowers thinking it to be a Salvia,but sadly no. This is a plant that can grow to 1.2-1.5mH on long single, occasionally multiple stems, flowering in the summer.
It prefers a sunny sheltered position, not liking the wind or hot dry situations. It is frost tender, so does need protection during winter.
Because of these needs, it is often grown among other plants that give protection but still allowing the plant to reach the sun
The Salvia news, our magazine will be arriving soon for the beginning of Autumn. A good issue containing good articles about what works in a garden and sometimes what doesn’t.
Articles about beginning a garden from scratch with terrible soil and all the sweat, tears and hard work that goes into making up the soil to allow the garden to flourish – and a few tricks of how to begin again.
Articles about what people observe in their gardens. It’s these observations that allow us to learn more about the plants we’re growing in our gardens, where new Salvias are found, where oddities such as variegation’s are found, what insects/ bees/ moths are pollinating the flowers.
Calendar of events etc..
If you’re interested in reading the Salvia News, please download the sub form and send in. You can either read online or have it delivered by post and read it where ever you like.
Happy New Year 2017 to everyone, Hope this year will be as good as last year or even better.
Thankyou for your support through out last year, hope you will continue to support the Salvia Group through out this year, by coming to the various garden events to purchase your Salvias.
This year I aim to produce a list of all the greggii/microphylla hybrids here in Australia. There are so many similar hybrids overseas – same flower but different name, so if you regularly buy from over seas nurseries or seed merchants, do your homework first so you don’t finish up with the same plant as we have here but with a different name.
The plant of the month is now up for you to check out. A special plant that should do really well this year if we can keep up the stocks. Go to that page to find out more about this interesting plant.
Hope to see lots of people at our first selling event – Ferny Creek Rare Plant Sale, Sat/ Sun 11& 12 March.
If you want any particular Salvias, please email me with your lists, so you don’t miss out. The plants can be put aside for you to pick up.
Come early to get those bargains.
See you there
We’ve got a great crop of S. tubifera coming along nicely. This would have to be the plant of the month. This is a great Salvia for shady areas under trees, deciduous or under gum trees.
Although it can grow to 2-3mH, it rarely does as it tends to start flopping everywhere, creating a great ground cover in those bare areas under trees. It will grow quite happily under evergreen trees that have their lower branches taken off, allowing some sun to penetrate those areas.
Providing it can receive some water during the dry months, it will prove quite hardy. Being under trees is the ideal spot for S. tubifera on frosty sites. Being frost tender, the tracery of the branches of deciduous trees help to break the frost, as does the branches of a gum tree or evergreen tree.
The tubular flowers are almost a watermelon pink in clusters, where they hang down nicely.
With all this rain, huge new shoots are appearing , the plant is romping away and in a few weeks when the new shoots have hardened off, the old canes can be removed – only where they are not wanted. Often as the stems flop down to the ground, these begin to root and off they go again with more new shoots.
A very useful plant for those awkward areas where nothing else will grow.
New seed now available
New seed has just come in from the previous warmer months, after being cleaned over winter – what else is there to do?.
A larger choice of seed is now available for you to order. Please see the see page for order form.
Salvia Display Garden in Emerald
Our Salvia garden can’t maintain it’s self, so we’re having a series of working bees in the new year.
Most of the dates are for those who are not available on the weekends but might have a few hours free to help during the week on a Wednesday – check the Calendar for dates.
There is always work to be done in a garden and our Display Garden is no exception. There is always pruning of plants and leaf removal to be done. The reason we remove the oak leaves is that they cause rotting around the stems. The leaves are either taken home for our composts or placed under the Cedar Tree to build up that part of the garden. They certainly don’t go to waste. If we have enough hands on deck in summer time, then we can put them back as mulch.
If you have a few hours to spare on those dates, please contact Lyndi to let her know that you ‘d love to come and help.
Most people find that working in a garden is calming, restores our sanity from a hard working week, allowing us to regenerate ourselves to cope with the rest of the week. Working in our garden is exactly that, calming, a break from the hectic working life etc…..
So come and join us. See you there then
What to do in the Salvia Garden this month
It’s beginning to get busy in the Salvia Garden. With all this wonderful rain and all the beds are loving every inch that falls!, of course all the plants are growing.
Now’s the time to take charge of your garden before it gets out of hand.
Some of the tall Winter flowering Salvias have finished and some are still in full flower and still some are yet to come.
For those that have finished e.g mexicana ‘Limelight’, purpurea and even involucrata spp and a few others, it’s time to take out the large old canes, leaving the young new growth. With ‘Limelight’ and purpurea, make sure the new shoots are large enough before pruning so that cuttings can be made.
Many of the tall shrubby Salvias e/g semi atrata,lasiantha, ‘Amistad’, ‘Finngrove’, muirii are all showing new shoots, so these can be clipped/ pruned back to new growth. Some like to clip these with shears into a rounded shape. Don’t forget to clean these shrubs out of dead and weak wood.
You will notice that the small leaf varieties of greggii/ microphylla are all putting on good new growth and some really shooting up into flower. Now’s the time to cut all that growth down by half – don’t worry about cutting off the flowers, they’ll be back in about 4 weeks.
As this new growth is soft and fresh, if you leave this new growth, it’ll be the first to wilt when the first hot days come in October. The resulting new shoots that appear from this prune will be stronger and more resilient in the upcoming summer heat.
Of course all these prunings are ideal for cutting material. Make some cuttings, pot them up when the roots are coming out of the pot and give them to others – don’t forget to include a label. Most of us like to know what we are receiving and a correctly labelled Salvia is always nice to receive.