I was bitten by the Salvia bug many years ago and have been pursuing a passion for this incredible genus ever since. Salvia are distributed nearly world-wide and their diversity is enormous, being found in some many different climates and growing conditions across the globe. Closer to home, the western US and northern Mexico is the home of a number of highly ornamental species of Salvia. And they are all highly attractive to hummingbirds, making their inclusion in your garden a must.
California Native Salvia
California Salvia are beautiful and quite different from those more familiar species such as Salvia greggii, found in AZ, NM and Texas. Many of these Californians are extremely xeric (waterwise), because they must survive in a Mediterranean climate (winter wet and summer dry) and go for half a year without much water. Many species are also coastal in their native habitat making them also tolerant to salt spray and more saline soils.
Salvia x 'Pozo Blue'
I have grown many of the CA species over the years. And one of the very best in my experience, is 'Pozo Blue,' a fabulous native hybrid discovered and introduced to the public by Las Palitas Nursery (specialists in CA native plants). A garden hybrid between Salvia clevelandii and Salvia leucophylla, 'Pozo Blue' is breathtakingly beautiful in bloom with tall spires of clear blue flowers held over pewter-gray foliage. A large shrubby plant in the ground, it matures to 3-5' tall x 3-5' wide and is an invaluable plant for attracting numerous species of butterflies, hummingbirds and quail.
Cold hardy to about USDA zone 7b, it does best in CA, Arizona, Las Vegas, NV and southern NM and west TX. In colder winter climates it is worth definitely worth growing as a perennial container plant, in part, because of its over-the-top attractiveness to hummingbirds and its tolerance to the dry conditions provided by sunny pots. A pair of 'Pozo Blue' plants at the front gate is a nice touch.
Companion Plants for Salvia 'Pozo Blue'
In the landscape, 'Pozo Blue' enjoys being planted with:
- Caryopteris (Blue Mist Spirea) is a shrub that enjoys a Mediterranean climate and maintains the blue theme by blooming later in the summer when 'Pozo Blue' has finished.
- Agastache (Hummingbird Mint) is also an excellent companion, enjoying the same poor soils and hot, sunny growing conditions that this Salvia prefers.
- Agastache 'Desert Solstice' with its large, mauve flower spikes is a great performer.
- Agastache rupestris (Licorice Mint Hyssop) has orange flowers to go with blue.
- Artemisia 'Sea Foam',with its frothy curls of silver, aromatic leaves is a striking ground cover to carpet the ground around the base of 'Pozo Blue'.
- Sphaeralcea munroana (Orange Globe Mallow) enjoys similar growing conditions and blooms in brilliant orange.
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