Salvias attract pollinators, bloom during summer heat

Published 1:35 pm Monday, September 25, 2023

By Eddie Smith
MSU Extension Service

This summer has been exceptionally hot, and during a recent visit with my friend Catherine, I couldn’t help but admire the vibrant purple and blue salvias thriving in her garden despite the scorching temperatures.

The Rockin’ Playin’ the Blues salvia was really showing out, and I must say, it has become one of my favorite salvias. The stunning blue-purple flowers are truly a sight to behold, and it’s perfect for mass plantings, containers and cut flowers.

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What’s great about this plant is that it’s sterile, which means it will continue to bloom all season long without expending energy on setting seed. I’ve also noticed that as the flowers age, the sepals remain a beautiful silvery blue-purple color, giving the impression that the entire flower stalk is still in bloom.

Another benefit of the Rockin’ Playin’ the Blues salvia is its ability to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. Cathererine’s plant was buzzing with all kinds of pollinators.

Rockin’ Blue Suede Shoes salvia was also showing out in her garden. It also attracts pollinators, and like its counterpart Rockin’ Playin’ the Blues, Blue Suede Shoes is a gorgeous plant with stunning, blue-purple flowers that bloom profusely in the summer.

It is a hardy perennial that thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. It is easy to care for and adds a pop of color in the garden.

I have always been a big fan of Elvis Presley’s iconic song, “Blue Suede Shoes,” a classic that always makes me want to dance.

Because of their names, Catherine used both Rockin’ Playin’ the Blues and Rockin’ Blue Suede Shoes salvias next to her bust of Elvis Presley. They are rockin’ and rollin’ in her garden!

Another salvia standing out in Catherine’s garden right now is Indigo Spires salvia. This gorgeous perennial blooms from mid-summer to fall. It’s a relatively low-maintenance plant that doesn’t require a lot of fussing over, which makes it perfect for someone like me who doesn’t have a lot of time to tend to plants.

Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds can’t resist the vibrant blue-purple flowers of the Indigo Spires salvia. Using this salvia is a great way to support our pollinator friends and add some color to your garden at the same time.

Another great thing about this plant is that it is drought tolerant once established. This makes it a great choice for those of us in areas with hot, dry summers. It also means you won’t have to worry about watering it constantly.

I highly recommend any of these salvias if you’re looking for a low-maintenance, pollinator-friendly addition to your garden. Beautiful and easy to care for, they will bring joy to you and your garden visitors.

Just like Elvis, these salvias will rock and roll in the garden all summer and into the fall.