Last fall I planted 3 of these in my garden and they never appeared this year. I really like the blue color of it so I bought another one just now. Do you have tips on how to keep it alive? Thanks!
I was given several last year from someone on Gardenweb. They did great through last summer, but I was worried so I brought one clump inside for the winter. It didn't exactly thrive, but it did OK. This spring I put it out, and it's been blooming plenty. The ones that spent the winter outside were very slow to come up but they did---they're still small and no flowers.
I don't know if this helps, but I didn't do anything special. I will try to take more of them inside this fall...
Ann in 7A
I have mine planted on the south side of my house about a foot and half from the foundation and it has returned for 4 years now.
You can plant near a sidewalk too, for extra warmth in the winter.
I'm in Z7 as well, and mine all came back beautifully this year. They were planted very late summer last year, from small pots, and now they're between 2 and 3 feet tall. :) They just started blooming last week.
I have one that I planted last year and just noticed that it is back. It's the first time that I've had one over-winter here. It's next to May Night Salvia and I had thought it was a seedling from MN. Now that it's taller, it's easy to see the difference in leaf color and shape and plant habit. No blooms yet, but it's just nice to have it return here.
I have different micro-climates in my garden. B&B is planted in many locations in my zone 7 garden. This isn't scientific, but here's my experience with B&B:
In the hottest area in my cottage garden: south-facing and protected by the house-- all plants survive; appear earlier; grow larger and bloom the most.
Out in the open on the south: they are very slow to emerge in spring -- up to a month later than in the cottage garden . Sometimes, no plant returns from the original 'mother plant' site, but I'll find offspring a few feet away, so always look around and be patient. Half the size of the cottage garden plants, they don't bloom until June.
Under a tree (high shade, filtered sun) on the southwest side beside the sidewalk stones that get winter sun: good location for overwintering, so I use it as a holding bed and transplant out into the open garden.
East side of the garden: the sun hits this area first in the mornings, while frost is still on the plants and I'm yet to get a B&B to overwinter there. I'm trying again this year and will put flat stones around the base of the plant.
I do not cut back any stems on B&B in the fall.
Hope this helps.
Here is a link that might be useful: the salvia B&B in my cottage garden
I was in Lowes this week and they had these for sale as "Premium Annuals". I'm not sure if these are really annuals or perennials but I know they aren't guaranteed to be perennials here.
I have had these in my garden and they did return for me, but they are a big disappointment in my garden so I don't think I'll be planting anymore of them. I'm replacing them with Russian Sage and Nepeta 'Walker's Low'. They don't have the same dark color, but they are reliable and bloom more for me here without extra watering and care.
They're trouble free for me, the ones in full sun bloom earliest and are the biggest. The ones in partial shade, I've had one for 8 years, is 3' in diameter with sprouts coming up in a 5' range. It doesn't get much full sun.
I clean up in the spring after I see new growth.
I'd put it on par with Russian sage for maintenance and have been blooming for at least a month.
What about drainage and soil condition? Does this make any difference at all?
I live in zone 7b to 8 and it is a perennial for me. In fact, if I don't pull it up, it will expand its territory. The first time I planted one, I liked it so well that I bought two of them to plant the next year thinking was an annual.
Lo and behold, that "annual" came back, I gave the two I had bought away, and has bloomed every year for six years since. The two I gave away are still blooming for my friends too. Here is mine this year:
Now my question is how can you get Husker red to re bloom. It is an annual for me, and I love it.
I live in 7B in Atlanta and have to plant this species in several parts of my garden to keep multiple hummingbirds from fighting over it. The bees go to sleep on it at night! The tubers over-winter for me reliably even when we have a cold one. I cut back all growth to 6 inches after hard frost kills the leaves. New growth emerges in April from existing tubers which multiply year over year. Easy to split in early Spring and Late fall. Original tubers only live about 2 years. I would suggest mulching heavily with pine straw or similar to insulate the ground. I think the key is making sure the tubers don't freeze and then rot. If it does over-winter I suggest you prune to 12" when first growth is 18" to create a more compact plant and increase first flush of bloom and prune again around July 4th to 2 1/2 feet. Will result in lovely flush of bloom in late summer. I pair with Plumbago Auriculata and Variegated Lantana Samantha which sadly do not repeat for me. All are most stunning together in late Summer and early Fall.
with tender stuff, drainage is very important. According to the theory you want them to sit rather dry from about August onwards. This hopefully has the effect that growth stops, the cells mature and the woody parts get rid of water inside their cells.
So prepared they can endure frost much better.
And if one applies fertilizer and waters a lot through out summer, you end up with overfed specimen. And their cells burst when it freezes.
Otherwise wonbyherwits mentioned good points.
Good luck, bye, Lin