Salvia is derived from the Latin word salvare meaning "to heal," and is highly-valued for its medicinal and culinary qualities for centuries. Commonly known as sage, there are almost a thousand Salvia species which grow all over the world. They occur in different growth cycles and habits, such as perennial, biennial, annual herbs, and evergreen or deciduous shrubs. For years, breeders worked with collections of salvia to specially produce varieties with prolific flowering and broader spectrum of bright colours in blues, purple, reds, pinks, and white.
Salvia Big Blue is bred by PanAmerican Seed and has won the “Best New Annual Plant Introduction” Award in 2019 at a Growers’ Show in the UK. Big Blue is a selection of a cross between Salvia longispicata and Salvia farinacea. It inherited the characteristics of long spikes and upright growth habit from its seed parent- Salvia longispicata. Like many salvias, its long, tubular flowers are nectar-producing and attract a wide variety of pollinators including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds!
Nonetheless, Big Blue’s striking blue flower spikes are a good choice in creating interest for a planting bed especially for cottage gardens. This amazing variety is also exceptional for its resistance to pests and diseases and drought tolerance.
Look out for this wonderful new salvia cultivar when you visit the Flower Dome! They are found in the Flower Field, interspersed with the sunflowers.
Written by: Ziana Yacob, Assistant Manager (Research and Horticulture)
Ziana's fascination with the many wonders of plants led her to study Horticulture. She has been involved in propagating plants and nurturing our in-house orchid collections. Keeping plants alive is a challenge and she's constantly learning about what she should or shouldn't be doing!