Gardening Tips – July 2023


Salvias … Color, Fragrance and Pollinators for the Summer Garden


Mystic Spires (improved), Salvia 'Balsalmisp&#39, replaced old Mystic Spires. This perennial is more compact, sturdy, dark-green leafed plant. Has free-flowering, bright true blue flower spikes which hold blooms longer than old mystic spires and hides its dead flowers better. Bloom time from early summer to frost.  Well-branched and compact, growing 18 to 24 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide.  Medium watering but drought tolerant, plant in full sun. Adapts to most soils but prefers good drainage. Use in mass plantings or borders. containers, cut flowers.  Attracts butterflies,  hummingbirds and not bothered by pests or diseases. Zones 7-10



Rockin ‘Playin’ the Blues Salvia

Rockin ‘Playin’ the Blues Salvia longispicata x farinacea Beautiful provides blue flowers all summer long.  As the flowers age, the calyx remains deep blue after the actual flower falls off, giving the impression that the entire flower stalk remains in flower giving a greater floral presence in the garden.  It is an award-winner, has fragrant foliage, continuous blooms/ or reblooms, provides fall Interest and is heat tolerant. Deadheading is not necessary. Attracts butterflies, bees, hummingbirds.  


  • Height 24-48 inches, spacing 14-18 inches, spread 24-36 inches
  • Flower colors blue purple
  • Part Sun to Sun
  • Easy maintenance
  • Blooms from planting to hard frost in Zones 7a-10b 
  • Average water and soil fertility. 
  • Use for containers as thriller, cut flower, landscape, mass planting, specimen or focal point in beds, along walkways, and on patios. 

This is a wonderful annual Salvia (except in frost-free zones).   Compact and richly colored it is easy and trouble free. It is sterile so it will not set seed and that means it will just bloom, and bloom and bloom all season without stopping. Trim plant to keep the shape or size where you want it, and it will branch out and become even thicker with more flowers. Regular watering and fertilizing will keep the plant at maximum color and growth. It is tough salvia and once established in a pot or the garden will tolerate lower levels of food and water. However, severe drought will cause lower leaves to drop and if this happens give it a quick haircut removing the upper 1/3 of growth and normal watering to encourage new growth. Bees love the sweet nectar in the flowers

Unplugged Pink Salvia

Unplugged Pink Salvia is one of the best plants you can add to your garden. It will shrug off heat and humidity and just keep flowering. The flowers are pink to fuchsia with a black calyx and very deep green foliage. It tops out at about two feet, perfectly sized for containers and great for the front to the middle of beds and as a thriller in pots. Award winner, continuous, long bloomer, heat tolerant,   


  • Upright, medium height 14-30 inches; spacing 12-20 inches, spread 12-20 inches.
  • Part Sun to Sun
  • Average water
  • Easy maintenance; no deadheading
  • Blooms to frost in zones 9a-11b
  • Attrachts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds
  • Resists deer
  • Excellent as landscape border or in mass planting
  • Use in containers as thriller

This annual Salvia is perennial in frost free zones. It is compact and richly colored. It is sterile so it will not set seed and that means it will bloom all season without stopping. Trim the plant to keep the shape or size where you want it, and it will branch out and become even thicker and fuller of flowers. Regular watering and fertilizing will keep the plant at maximum color and growth, once established in a pot of the garden will tolerate lower levels of food and water. However, severe drought will cause lower leaves to drop. If this happens, give it a haircut removing the upper 1/3 of growth with normal watering and it will fill in again.



White Flame ‘Metrolina’ Salvia

White Flame ‘Metrolina’ Salvia is Pure white 4-6” flower spikes were produced from time of planting until a killing freeze on bushy plants that reached 2-3’ tall.  Zone7-10. This perennial prefers full sun, thrives in well drained average moist, fertile and well-drained soil. The tubular white flowers emerging from mealy-white dense calyxes are a bee favorite. Unlike most of the newer vegetative produced salvias, it does not cycle in and out of bloom over the course of the summer. The fading white flowers don’t distract from the beauty of the plant, as is common with other white – flowering plants. White Flame is a hybrid of S. longispicata x S. farinacea (mealy cup sage) and looks like a farinacea on steroids. Recommended use for borders, beds and containers.  

Salvias included above are from a presentation by Dr. Allen Owings, retired Horticulturist/Researcher, LSU AgCenter, Hammond Research Station.


Learn more about salvias best suited for Louisiana and how to grow them from Dr. Heather Kirk-Ballard, LSU AgCenter.


By Karen Blackburn

Master Gardener of Greater New Orleans

Scroll to Top