I got to know about a new salvia at the Garden Writers Association annual meeting in Tuscon last year, and right away knew I had to get some to try. Salvia ‘Amistad’ is a naturally occurring hybrid found in a garden in Argentina, believed to be a cross between S. guaranitica and S. gesnerifolia. The “wow” factor are the blooms – rich purple flowers popping out of almost black calyces. They were introduced in the Sunset Western Garden and Southern Living Plant Collection programs this year. I got and planted 2 in early summer 2013, and so far, they are meeting expectations. Full to almost full sun locations have produced a nice mound about 2 x 2 feet, the plants are not flopping (well, we’ll see after today’s rain). ‘Amistad’ will make a very nice large container specimen, as it’s full size is about 3 x 3 feet, if not over watered or fertilized.
Jimmy Turner, former Dallas Arboretum director of horticulture gave them a thumbs up, giving them his “Flame Proof” designation.
The real question is how hardy will they be? They are advertised as a cold hardiness zone 8 perennial, and northeast Texas is zone 8 , but I also read they are hardy to 23 degrees F. We get a bit colder than that. Probably will depend on siting. A cold, wet winter and poor soil drainage might spell the end of these beauties. I better take insurance cuttings. Will give you a report next summer. Keeping my fingers crossed.