Saucy is nothing short of sensational for an annual salvia. From late April through the heat of August a lot of flowers have come and gone, but Saucy is still putting on the wow factor.
Saucy is a series of Salvia splendens which originated in Brazil. It comes in wine which is purple, red which is lush and saturated in color, and my favorite, coral because it is rare for this plant and offers a myriad of stunning partnerships.
Saucy salvias will reach about 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. Whether you choose foliage or flowers as their companion, you can rest assured Saucy will simply make it better. I guess it’s like adding ‘sauce’ to your dish.
It’s possible that most gardeners have not considered partnering annual salvias like Saucy with perennial salvias like Golden Delicious pineapple sage, the Mysty Blue salvia, or the supercharged Black and Bloom. If you find yourself in this group, break the mold and discover some of your most artistic garden creations.
Soil preparation plays a critical role in your success with Saucy salvias which, by the way, do have a chance for a spring return in zones 9 and 10. The soil should be fertile, organic-rich and very well drained. In almost every instance they are most successful in raised beds with a prepared landscape mix, an application of a controlled release fertilizer, and a good layer of mulch. The fertilizer is important, as it gives the plants a quick jump start.
Those grown in large mixed containers have the best of all worlds with their mixes, perfect drainage, and regular feeding. Maintenance is minimal and should you cut them back, they will quickly reward you with fresh new growth and blooms.
I am deliriously happy with the number of pollinators I see hitting on the blooms. There is nothing quite like going to a shopping center, or restaurant, where they have a mixed container of flowers and hummingbirds and butterflies are putting on a show.
Of course, the only thing that can compete with that is to have your own blooms off your porch, patio or deck where you can watch your backyard habitat with friends and family while cooking steaks on the grill.
Our grandparents grew up with this species but none have ever been like Saucy. If not just make sure to keep in mind to add Saucy salvias to you your list of must-have plants next spring. You’re likely to find Saucy Red and Saucy Wine in the Southern Living Plant Collection.
(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of, “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)