VERMILION BLUFFS® Mexican Sage (Salvia darcyi ‘Pscarl’)
Shalene Hiller, City of Westminster
Salvia darcyi was originally found in the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains in Mexico and it has proven to be hardy in my gardens at Heritage Golf Course in Westminster, Colorado since 2001. VERMILION BLUFFS® Mexican Sage (Salvia darcyi ‘Pscarl’) has unbeatable spikes of brilliant red flowers from August thru October that hummingbirds can’t resist. During the drought and heat of the 2002 season, when the native mountain wild flowers were pretty crispy, I had the pleasure of observing at least three pairs of hummingbirds battling over these plants! I’m a bit of a novice at hummingbird identification, but I believe two pair were Broad-tailed hummingbirds; they stayed all summer and they couldn’t get enough of VERMILION BLUFFS®. The other pair were Rufous hummingbirds and they lingered for a few weeks. Why bother cleaning and filling a hummingbird feeder when you could just plant VERMILION BLUFFS® Mexican Sage!
This showy plant grows to 36″ tall and 30″ wide and prefers full sun, tending to lean and stretch for light when grown in shaded areas. VERMILION BLUFFS® Mexican Sage prefers loamy soil, however, in my gardens it does fine in quite heavy clay. It prefers moderate moisture and tends to tolerate the salty reclaimed water used at the golf course. It spreads slowly by stolons and is quite easily kept in check.
Try combining it with other Plant Select® plants such as SUNSET® Hyssop (Agastache rupestris) or Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata). If you feel you need to tame the color a little plant it with Sea foam Artemisia (Artemisia versicolor ‘Sea Foam’) or the ornamental grass, Giant Sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii). This is a great plant in annual displays, especially if you are at a high elevation. I have used it for beautiful effect in whiskey barrels with Silver Dollar Plant (Men<Plectranthus argentatus). So whether used as an annual, perennial or just Hummingbird food, ya gotta try this plant!
Height: 35 – 40 inches
Width: 20 -30 inches
Blooms: August to October
Sun: Full sun to partial shade
Soil Moisture: Moderate
Hardiness: USDA zones 5b-10 (up to 5,500)
Culture: Performs best in loamy soils