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Plant of the Month: Amistad

Salvia guaranitica ‘Amistad’


Latin name: Salvia guaranitica ‘Amistad’
Common name: Sage
Flowers: 1” long dark-purple crab claws
Mature size: 4-5’ tall by 4-5’ wide
Hardiness: Perennial
Soil: Well-drained
Exposure: Full sun to part sun
Water usage: Medium to low
Sources: Local nurseries or mail order

If you were to ask me what one of my favorite plants is, Salvia guaranitica would be top-listed without hesitation. There are those plants that you get a tingle in your belly from, and Salvia guaranitica does that to me! I still remember the first time I saw ‘Argentine Skies’ and ‘Black and Blue’ mingling in the same bed, surrounded by butterflies and passing hummingbirds. I said, “Wow” aloud. That was when I knew I would be a guaranitica fan for life.

A few years back I heard about a new cultivar named ‘Amistad’, and I could not wait to get my hands on it. I received several for the Dallas Arboretum Plant Trials Program and was reminded again why I love this plant. Salvia guaranitica ‘Amistad’ is a compact plant that reaches 4 feet in a season and blooms from early spring until frost. Velvety purple flowers capture the attention of bees and butterflies. ‘Amistad’ differs from other salvias because of its compact habit and a calyx that is so dark it is almost black.

‘Amistad’ is more sun-tolerant than ‘Argentine Sky’ and ‘Black and Blue’. At first I was hesitant to plant it in full sun, knowing that discoloration could occur, resulting in a very lime-yellow leaf. Trials proved me wrong. ‘Amistad’ handles full sun, heat and drought with ease. It is also perfect for containers; you get height and a flower that mixes well with a wide array of plants. Mix it with ‘Marguerite’ or ‘Blackie’ sweet potato vine, Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’,Lobularia ‘Snow Princess’, and/or the ornamental pepper ‘Loco’.

It is the perfect time of year to add this beauty to your perennial beds. Even if you think you do not have the space, make room for Salvia guaranitica  ‘Amistad’; it is well worth it. Find it at your favorite retail stores now or on-line.

Have fun and garden strong!