Rockin salvias are living up to that name in Georgia. I have never claimed to be a Madison Avenue marketing guru but the name Rockin for a salvia caught me as strange. Then again, who am I to instruct Proven Winners one of the most successful plant groups in the history of horticulture.
True to the name Rockin Deep Purple and Rockin Fuchsia are checking off the list. They are Rockin with color, Rockin with performance and Rockin with pollinators. That makes them winners in my book. I could tell they were winners before I had a chance to plant. I had just unloaded several of the salvias along with Vermillionaire cuphea and placed them on my driveway while I went into the house to get a cool glass of tea. When a returned just a few minutes later they were already getting hit on by hummingbirds, salvias and cupheas.
I'll add I am also getting to participate in Rockin salvia Blue Suede Shoes, which will be out next year and it has champion written on it as well. These plants, are indeed Rockin in my garden and commercial plantings around town so I have to concur that Proven Winners really did select a most appropriate name.
You'll find the Rockin salvias at your local garden center this year and it times perfectly with our celebration of 2019 as the year of the Salvia, which I wrote about in March. At the time I didn't realize I was going to be so enthralled with this relatively new series.
Rockin Deep Purple, and Rockin Blue Suede Shoes will reach 30 to 40 inches in height while Rockin Fuchsia is slightly shorter. They all are listed as Salvia hybrids and all have black or dark calyces. They will make you think that Salvia guaranitica or anise sage could be one of the parents. They are touted to be perennial in zones 9 and warmer and I promise they are worth every penny to grow them as annuals.
Think about how much fun it will be to grow flowers for the hummingbirds versus hanging feeders, using sugar or buying hummingbird food. You won't be changing out water cleaning feeders but simply watching them feed on the plants you are growing for them. You will also be bringing in bees and butterflies. I'll probably still hang a feeder too.
Also, in the Rockin series is Rockin Playing the Blues and Rockin Golden Delicious. Rockin Playing the Blues is of a parentage similar to Indico Spires, or Mystic Spires and Gold Delicious is a chartreuse colored pineapple sage that will sport red flowers. They too, will bring in hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.
Your combinations in the landscape are only limited by your imagination. I had the opportunity to photograph Rockin Fuchsia salvia partnered with Truffula Pink gomphrena in a large horse trough container that had Superbells Coralina calibrahoa spilling over the rim for a look that was simply sensational.
Sunlight and organic rich well-drained soil will give you the green thumb when it comes to growing the Rocking salvias. We can all celebrate that they are not on the deer menu. The growing season is young, some of you will say it hasn't arrived, regardless you have a great opportunity to grow Rockin salvias for the hummingbird season of your dreams.
(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.)