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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Recent Comments

Salvia patens – now in pink

Posted by Graham Rice on 04 Oct 2008 at 03:52 PM

It's that season when the seed companies are announcing their new introductions for next year. Some are genuinely new, some are not so new. One that especially caught my eye is from Dobies Seeds, it's the new pink form of one of our favourite salvias - Salvia patens.

This rose pink form is part of the new Patio Series. The plants are shorter and bushier than the tall, relatively unbranched plants with which we're familiar and they also come in an unusual range of colours. There's dark blue and sky blue, lilac and white - these are the colours in which Salvia patens has been available for some years - plus the very rare rose pink form. And, along with that bushier habit, it's the pink form which I'm sure will prove popular. Mind you, I have to say that I've not yet seen actual plants in flower so I'll be intrigued to see just how pink they are - "rose" is the term being used.

Dobies Seeds are listing a seed mixture of the five colours. They're also listing young plants in three individual colours - deep blue, sky blue and rose pink as well, a collection of fifteen young plants in those three colours.

It's true, one RHS Plant Finder nursery, John and Lynsey's Plants, list a pink flowered form but ‘Patio Pink' is not only available as seed and plants by mail order, plants should also be in garden centres next spring.


Robin Middleton said:

I have had this Salvia for 2 or 3 years, and whilst the buds are a rose colour, the actual flowers are a very pale pink....slightly disappointing. I got it as 'Pink Ice'. Will be interesting to compare the new form, especially if it is a better form of pink. I also have a giant form of Salvia patens, original royal blue colour. It is far superior to patens 'Guanajuato' in that it has 2 or 3 times as many flowers. It does not have the dark blotches on the foliage, and seems to be hardier. There is also the new pale blue and white form, called 'Dot's Delight'.

on 10 Oct 2008 at 05:22 PM

Graham Rice said:

Thanks Robin... You're right, the problem with 'Guanajuato' is its rather sparse flowering - does yours have a name? Yes, I know 'Dot's Delight', I wrote about it on my other blog during Chelsea last year -

on 10 Oct 2008 at 05:45 PM

Martin Blow said:

We all have a Pink patens that arose from a batch of seedlings from patens Chilcombe - a lavender coloured variety. Like Robin's plant it has deep pink buds but opens pale, blush pink.  It is very floriferous and we are testing hardiness this winter. If anyone wants to know more contact us via

on 01 Dec 2008 at 01:03 PM

Graham Rice said:

The other point about 'Patio Pink', apart from its colour, is its relatively short bushy habit which many gardeners will appreciate. 'Chilcombe' is a lovely misty colour, although some people have unkindly called it murky.

on 01 Dec 2008 at 01:53 PM

Martin Blow said:

I think it would be very unkind to call Chilcombe murky!  Whilst we love the new colours if you lined them all up I bet 9/10 people would pick the true species with its oh so intense blue.

on 01 Dec 2008 at 03:13 PM

Graham Rice said:

I agree, "murky" is unkind... I like the blue and white 'Dot's Delight' as well. I expect that soon we'll have pale blue and white, pink and white, and misty lavender and white.

on 02 Dec 2008 at 01:51 PM

Martin Blow said:

I wonder if people are finding Salvia patens to be fully hardy?  I've always treated them like a dahlia - leaving them in is a bit of a risk and usually results in later flowering so I dig up and pot up half of my plants as insurance. Today it has been -5c and snow is forecast so I'm a bit apprehensive for ones I've left in Are there any tips on getting them safely through the winter.  Of course they are easy from fresh seed, which like the new dwarf pink one is readily available. I've never found a source of Cambridge Blue (the sky blue one) that comes true - all of them seem to come up like the basic species. How easily do they hybridise? I've saved seed of Cambridge Blue this year but I also grow the species, Chilcombe and Guanajuanto in the same garden.

on 03 Dec 2008 at 12:49 PM