Plant of the Month: April 2015
by Jenny Wegley
Salvia hybrida ‘Love and Wishes’
and ‘Ember’s Wish’
AT A GLANCE
Latin name: Salvia hybrida ‘Love and Wishes’ and ‘Ember’s Wish’
Common name: Annual sage
Mature size: 2-1/2’ – 3-1/2’
Hardiness: Summer annual
Soil: Well drained
Exposure: Full sun
Water usage: Medium
Sources: Local nurseries or mail order
A few years back in the Trial Gardens at the Dallas Arboretum we received a new salvia hybrid that the industry was buzzing about. There was good reason for all the chatter about this new magenta-colored salvia, which did not resemble any then on the market. Salvia hybrida ‘Wendy’s Wish’ not only became a plant that the Dallas Arboretum Trial Gardens approved, but it became a critical component in creating our nationally known color displays. We have used ‘Wendy’s Wish’ as a staple in early color and summer design since it was released to the industry.
Next, to our joy and delight, along came two new additions to this hybrid-salvia line. We crossed our fingers that they could perform to our expectations, just like Wendy had done. They did just that! Both were standouts in trials from early spring into the heat of the summer. ‘Love and Wishes’ attracts you with a bright purple flower, while ‘Ember’s Wish’ has a fiery red-orange bloom. Both feature the dark bracts that Wendy displays, allowing the flower color to pop.
‘Love and Wishes’ reaches 2-1/2 feet tall and grows to the same width. ‘Ember’s Wish’ has the same habit as ‘Wendy’s Wish’ and stands at 3-1/2 feet tall and wide. Place it in the front or back border, depending on your landscape requirements. We use Wendy in masses throughout the Arboretum and have the same design intent this year with the two new additions. We have already had great success with them in containers. I would suggest picking your favorite out of the three and planting an entire container with one cultivar. These salvia hybrids are dynamic enough to make a strong statement on their own.
Go out this weekend and get your hands on any or all of these awesome salvias! Plant them in full sun during early spring, so you will be able to enjoy the beauty of the flowers through late summer. We have not had success with overwintering them in North Texas. In milder climates or through mild winters this Salvia hybrida could come back. Don’t forget to feed to ensure optimal growth and flower power.
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