Amistad-Salvia on Steroids

Amistad Salvia, salvia guaranitica

Amistad Salvia, Salvia guaranitica

Every gardener is familiar with the salvia or sage family, especially if you have deer. Deer leave salvias alone, probably because it has a pungent aroma. Add to that, they are a cinch to grow, requiring little care, bloom for weeks on end, and are drought tolerant. What’s not to love?

Salvia madrensis, another salvia that I am in love with!!

Salvia madrensis, another salvia that I am in love with!!

Living here in the mid-Atlantic region in a zone 7a, there are two types of salvias. Tender perennials, meaning they are treated like annuals, and hardy salvias, which survive and thrive with our winters that can dip below 0 degrees.

Salvia Eveline, a hardy salvia that blooms all summer long for me

Salvia Eveline, a hardy salvia that blooms all summer long for me

The tender salvias are always a huge hit in mid to late summer, when they come into their own, until frost blackens them. Amistad is a good example of a tender perennial, that might make it through a mild winter here, like Black and Blue Salvia does for me. Black and Blue, which is rated to survive only to zone 8 has returned for years in my 7a garden.

Map of hardiness zones

Map of hardiness zones

Young plant of Salvia Amistad

Young plant of Salvia Amistad

I first saw Amistad in San Francisco as part of the Sunset Western Garden Collection last summer and was stunned at how big and bushy it was. Yes, I know that San Francisco is not even near my hardiness zone, but I loved the color and floriferous of the plant. And what color!!… the most intense velvety indigo blue!


Mexican Sage or Salvia, which is a tender perennial

Mexican Sage, leucantha, which is a tender perennial

Developed by Plant Development Services Inc., who introduced the ‘Encore’ Azaleas to the world,  Amistad has dark purple flowers with a nearly black calyx, and blooms constantly from early spring until frost and makes a dazzling display in any garden in sun or partial shade.. Amistad has a fuller habit then other types, not as rangy as some salvias. Flowers are a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds.

Salvia Amistad flower

Salvia Amistad flower

Plant Delights of Raleigh, North Carolina, describes Amistad in their catalog – “Salvia ‘Amistad’ is the latest and greatest perennial salvia. Discovered by Argentine salvia expert Rolando Uria in a garden bed, Salvia ‘Amistad’ first made its way to England where plantsman Rod Richards popularized it, and it has finally reached US shores. This floriferous Salvia guaranitica hybrid makes a huge 3.5′ tall x 7′ wide clump in one season…much wider and longer flowering than its predecessor, Salvia ‘Purple Majesty’ . So far, we have seen no sign of the stoloniferous trait of the Salvia guaranitica parent. The tops of the stalks are adorned with masses of dark purple flowers, each held in a lovely black calyx from June through frost…a hummingbird delight! Our plants of Salvia ‘Amistad’ have only been to 18F so far, but they returned fine at those temperatures”. – See more at: 

Did I read that right, clumps of 7 feet wide?? I am willing to try it but doubt that it will make 7 feet in my garden. Now is the time to add this beauty to your garden beds or containers.  Stay tuned….

Amistad Salvia clump at the Sunset demo garden in San Francisco

Amistad Salvia clump

About thegardendiaries

Claire Jones is a landscape and floral designer and owner of Claire Jones Landscapes, LLC. She designs and helps people to create their own personal outdoor oasis and loves to write about her gardening failures and successes.
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8 Responses to Amistad-Salvia on Steroids

  1. Wow! I love them all, especially, the fuzzy flowers of Mexican Sage.


  2. Thank you for showing the Salvias in your garden. The Amistad definitely caught me eye in the catalog, and you’re nudging me towards ordering it. Such lovely photos! Best wishes, WG


  3. Suzanne says:

    In Houma, LA one amistand I have is 6 feet tall about 8 feet across. A cutting I sprouted in April 2015 is now the same size. Real hardy, easy care. I found when we had a 10 day dry run, it flowered heavier. That was a pleasant surprise. This is a wonderful addition to your hpgarden.


  4. Pingback: 2015 In Review | The Garden Diaries

  5. LEO ONEIL says:

    The amistad salvia bloomed for 12 straight months in Houston, TX. Still full of blooms (April 8, 2016) but has gotten leggy with no branches near the ground. Any pruning suggestions?


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