Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Salvia Guaranitica ‘Blue Enigma’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Salvia guaranitica 'Blue Enigma' Flower (20/10/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Salvia guaranitica ‘Blue Enigma’ Flower (20/10/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Late summer to autumn

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1.5m

Eventual Spread: 1m

Hardiness: 7b – 11

Family: Lamiaceae

Salvia guaranitica ‘Blue Enigma’ is a fast growing, tall, deciduous, perennial sub shrub. Its light green leaves are ovate with serrulate margins, up to 4cm long and 3cm broad. Its leaves emit an anise scent when crushed. Its dark blue flowers are 5cm in length and appear in terminal spikes which are up to 25cm long. Its roots produce underground runners which aids its spread.

The species Salvia guaranitica, commonly known as Anise Scented Sage or Hummingbird Sage, is native to most of South America.

The etymological root of the binomial name Salvia is derived from the Latin salvare, meaning to ‘heal’, in reference to the use of Salvia vulgaris as a medicinal plant. Guaranitica is named after the Paraguay Guarani people.

Salvia guaranitica 'Blue Enigma' (20/10/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Salvia guaranitica ‘Blue Enigma’ (20/10/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find Salvia guaranitica ‘Blue Enigma’ useful as part of a herbaceous planting scheme, benefiting from the support of other plants to keep a tidy, upright appearance. Once established this plant is drought tolerant. In some conditions this plant my spread aggressively.

Ecologically, Salvia guaranitica ‘Blue Enigma’ flowers are attractive to some pollinating insects and hummingbirds.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given Salvia guaranitica ‘Blue Enigma’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1996.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Blue Enigma’ prefers moist, humus rich, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Blue Enigma’ requires little maintenance. Large clumps may be divided in spring.

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