[gardeners] Re: Silver Sage (Saliva argentea)

Tom Clothier (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Mon, 13 Jul 1998 18:49:25 -0500

From: George Shirley <gshirley@iamerica.net>

>>died yet, but as soon as the new leaves get about 6" long, they give up
>>the ghost. No sign of a flower. I have it in full sun and am wondering if
>>that is the problem.
>>Catharine, Atlanta, zone 7b

I suppose there are many plants that I can grow in full sun that Southern
gardeners must screen or place in part to full shade.
My S. argentea are in full sun.  They are planted in the soil I make from
xmas trees which is about 5" deep.  That is resting on construction fill
which is compacted and will not hold moisture. All of the above is 18"
above grade.  After flowering, I cut off all but two of the towers to make
seed.  Now that it has been harvested, they have been removed, and
the plants are making strong growth (contrary to popular opinion that
allowing them to flower is a death sentence.)  I understand that the
large leaved Salvias are attractive in pots, but have not grown them
in that manner.  S. patens, S. transylvanica, and S. forskaoli are all
growing here in afternoon sun, full sun, and part shade, respectively.

>believe the humidity is doing them in and wondered if moving them in the
>low-humidity house under the lights would help. So there, an answer, of
>sorts, and another question.

Well, Chicago doesn't have the humidity of the gulf, despite the big
lake.  I consider the humidity to be very high anyway, judging from the
discomfort level.  Are there different kinds of humidity, like flowing,
running, dripping, beading up, moist & salty, etc.?  I can understand
plant reactions to temperature, but have little intuitive feeling about
stress from humidity because while plants are closing their pores,
mine are opening.

I think Catherine should dump that unhappy misfit, and start over with
one that she started from seed.  At least it will never have danced to
anyone else's tune.  Alternatively, if she has purchased the plant, and
it was allowed to flower in the previous season, then it was a cripple
when she bought it.  This Salvia is often thought of as a biennial, and
many gardeners prolong its life by not allowing it to flower.

zone 5a, NE Illinois, -21F Min