Ralph Krause checks out the Sun Coleus in our 2018 Test Beds along the drive, early June.

Ralph Krause checks out the Sun Coleus in our 2018 Test Beds along the drive, early June.

The nursery trade continually comes up with new and better varieties of some of your old favorites. Sometimes the plants are more disease resistant or drought tolerant. Sometimes the colors are brand new and the blooms longer-lasting. Each year Linnaeus Teaching Garden features a different plant in its trial beds so that gardeners can see and compare different varieties of the same plant.


Trial Beds, early June, 7 weeks after planting, seen from Bed 1, closest to Barn.

Trial Beds, early June, 7 weeks after planting, seen from Bed 1, closest to Barn.

Hot New selections for 2019 – salvia

Gardeners have long used salvia (also known as sage) as a colorful annual for sunny areas. Relatively resistant to disease and drought, this hardy plant features spikes of blooms in a variety of colors and a long flowering time. Deadheading encourages rebloom.

Among the 900 species of salvia are numerous tender perennials, and this year’s trial beds feature 15 different salvias of various heights and colors for comparison. All these salvias attract butterflies and hummingbirds and are not favored by deer or rabbits

Our hot, new salvias are displayed in trial beds located along the drive that parallels the entry walkway. The beds are numbered east to west with Bed 1 being closest to the Barn. Below are photos of the different varieties featured this year.

Visitors are encouraged to participate in this year’s salvia judging trial. Starting in mid-June, evaluation forms will be available in the Linnaeus Visitor Center (aka Big Red Barn). We would very much like to know your opinion as to the most aesthetically pleasing salvias in the trial. Over the summer, we will tabulate the results to share with our nursery industry supporters and the gardening public.