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SAMBUCUS


589


stems rise 2–3 ft. above leaves, carrying many large, ball-shaped whorls of 2-in., magenta or rosy red fl owers with maroon bracts and calyxes. Bracts and calyxes remain conspicuous for weeks after fl owers fade. Blooms throughout spring, with some repeat in fall. A magnet for hummingbirds. Give rich soil, partial shade. Drought-tolerant but prefers moderate water; tolerates regular garden water. ‘Kawatre’ has deep magenta fl owers that age to orange-red; it is hardier than the species (to 10°F/–12°C). S. splendens. SCARLET


SAGE. Perennial in Zones 21– 24, H2; usually grown as annual in all zones. Native to Brazil. The traditional bright scarlet bedding sage now comes in a range of colors, from vivid true red through salmon and pink to purple shades. White forms are also available. Plants vary in size from compact 1-ft. dwarfs (like the compact Vista series) to 3–4-ft. kinds. Leaves are bright green, heart-shaped. Blooms late spring or summer through fall (all year in mild- winter areas); 4–12-in. stems bear 2-in. fl owers from 1-in. calyxes of same color. Can be ravaged by Mexican giant white- fl y. Give afternoon shade in hot- test climates. S. × superba. Perennial. Zones 2–10, 14–24. Form generally available is ‘Superba’, but many plants sold under this name are seedlings or selections of S.× sylvestris or S. nemorosa. The real S.× superba forms a tight foliage clump that spreads 2–3 ft. by rhizomes and sends up erect, much-branched, 3-ft.-high fl ower- ing stems. Smooth, scallop- edged green leaves are lance- shaped; basal ones are stalked and 3–4 in. long, upper ones stalkless and smaller. At bloom time, top 6–8 in. of stems bear clusters of 1⁄2-in. violet-blue fl ow- ers with reddish purple bracts that persist long after fl owers fall. (Bracts on most seedlings are green, sometimes with a purple tinge.) Blooms midsum- mer to fall if deadheaded. Plant will sprawl 5–6 ft. wide unless staked. ‘Adora Blue’ grows to 14 in. high and wide. S. × sylvestris. Perennial. Zones 2–10, 14–24. Like its


parent S. nemorosa but more compact, with stems that are less leafy. Oblong to lance- shaped, medium green, scal- loped leaves are wrinkled, softly hairy. Typically unbranched or few-branched fl owering stems to 6–8 in. long, set with pinkish violet, 1⁄2-in. blossoms. Blooms summer through fall if faded fl owers are removed. ‘Blauhügel’ (‘Blue Hill’). To 2 ft.; has medium blue fl owers. ‘Blue Queen’. Grows 18 in. high and wide. ‘Mainacht’ (‘May Night’). Grows 2–21⁄2 ft., bears 3⁄4-in. indigo fl owers with green bracts (purplish at base), begins blooming in midspring. ‘Rosakönigen’ (‘Rose


Queen’). Grows to 2 ft. high, with purplish pink fl owers and crimson bracts. ‘Schneehügel’ (‘Snow Hill’).


Bears pure white blossoms with green bracts on a 2-ft. plant. ‘Viola Klose’. Grows 18 in. high and wide; has lavender- blue fl owers. S. uliginosa. BOG SAGE, BLUE SPIKE SAGE. Perennial. Zones 6–9, 14–24. From moist lowlands in South America. Upright, dense; to 4–6 ft. tall, 3–4 ft. wide, spreading aggres- sively by rhizomes. Smooth green leaves are lance-shaped, toothed; they reach 31⁄2 in. long near plant’s base, decrease in size toward top. Branched infl o- rescence with 5–6-in. stems carries whorls of 1⁄2-in., intense sky blue fl owers with white throat, wide lower lip. Blooms summer through fall. To restrain spread, give only moderate water or confi ne roots by plant- ing in 15-gal. nursery can sunk in ground to rim. S. verticillata. WHORLED


CLARY. Perennial. Zones 2–10, 14–24. From central Europe and western Asia. Foliage clump to 21⁄2 ft. wide sends up branch- ing, 21⁄2–3-ft.-high fl ower stems. Wavy-edged, medium green, softly hairy leaves to 5–6 in. long; shape varies from oval to elliptical or oblong. Basal leaves often divided into one or two pairs of smaller leafl ets. Widely spaced whorls of 20 to 40 buds open to violet or


lavender-blue fl owers nearly 1⁄2 in. long, with purple-tinged, persistent calyxes. Blooms from early summer through fall if


deadheaded. Protect from slugs, snails. ‘Endless Love’ grows 12 in. high, 18 in. wide, with lavender and blue-purple fl owers. ‘Purple Rain’ is 1–2 ft. high, with profuse, showy deep purple blossoms and calyxes. S. ‘Wendy’s Wish’. Ever-


green shrub in Zones 20–24, H1; or annual anywhere. This spon- taneous hybrid’s parentage is unknown, though it bears some resemblance to S. buchananii. Grows to 4 ft. tall, 3 ft. wide, with dark green leaves and purple- red fl owers emerging from pink- ish brown calyxes. It is named for Wendy Smith, the Australian who found it and requested that part of the proceeds from the sale of every plant go to Make- A-Wish Foundation. Moderate to regular water.


CARE


Plant sages in an area with good air circulation to help deter mildew and other fungal diseases. Most require good drainage, especially in winter; waterlogged plants rarely make it through hard freezes. If soil is heavy, work in plenty of organic matter and apply a thick mulch of well-rotted compost. When it comes to watering, “deep” is the operative word. Most of the plants discussed here come from areas with summer rain- fall; they need regular (or, in some cases, moderate) water during dry spells. Plants described as drought-tolerant require a deep soaking at least once a month during the heat of summer to retain their foliage and prolong their bloom period. Most sages resent severe


pruning except in late winter or early spring, when weather is cool and vigorous new growth is emerging from plant base. To shape during the growing sea- son, either tip-pinch shoots or cut them back by no more than one-third (keeping most of the leaves on each stem).


Give lax varieties inconspicu- ous support by letting them grow through a cylinder of green-painted wire mesh. In many sages, aromatic com- pounds in the foliage repel pests—but this is not true for all species. Some are damaged by slugs and snails; in warm climates, others can be demol- ished by Mexican giant whitefl y.


Aphids may be a problem. Sages are generally easy to propagate from cuttings or seeds; you can also propagate perennial kinds by dividing the roots.


Sambucus ELDERBERRY


Adoxaceae DECIDUOUS SHRUBS OR TREES


ZZONES VARY BY SPECIES FP FULL SUN OR LIGHT SHADE OREGULAR WATER, EXCEPT AS NOTED


b


FLOWERS ATTRACT HUMMING- BIRDS, BUTTERFLIES; FRUIT ATTRACTS BIRDS


X RAW FRUIT OF SOME TYPES CAN CAUSE GASTRIC DISTRESS


Sambucus nigra ‘Aureomarginata’


Grow these large, airy decidu- ous shrubs for their white spring fl owers and colorful sum- mer berries. In big gardens, they make effective summer screens or windbreaks. To keep shrubby types dense, prune hard in dormant season, remov- ing older stems and heading back last year’s growth to a few inches. Overgrown plants can be cut to the ground. Types that grow into trees need early train- ing to single or multiple trunks. The various elder species


have bright to dark green leaves and near-black, blue, or red ber- ries. Fruit of red-berried species and of S. nigra caerulea can cause gastric upset in humans if consumed raw in large quanti- ties. (Red-fruited forms of black- and blue-berried species are not poisonous.) Species names are presently in fl ux. S. canadensis (S. nigra


canadensis). AMERICAN ELDERBERRY. Zones A1–A3; 1–7, 14–17. Native to central


S


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