Two new salvias that stood out in side by side trials with industry standards are these new 2015 introductions. The first is Salvia x sylvestris ‘Violet Riot’. This full sun salvia has an incredible number of flowers and a longer flowering period compared to everything else on the market. Hardiness is at least, Zone 4a to 8a. This was bred by our friend Hans Hansen and his staff at Walters Gardens.
Another equally superb new introduction, also from the Walters breeding program, is Salvia x sylvestris ‘Pink Dawn’. The heaviest flowering on both of these are in spring, but they all continue off and on through the summer. Hardiness is also Zone 4a-8a. Both also require full sun for at least 4 hours to perform well.
I live in the panhandle of Florida at the coast. You list 8a as the max. for the ‘Pink Dawn’ salvias, can it handle salty air? I can grow ‘Black and Blue’ and ‘Indigo Spires’ without any problems.
Great question, but we’re not sure. The species involved in Salvia x sylvestris are from mainland Europe, whereas S. ‘Black and Blue’ is from Argentina, and S. ‘Indigo Spires’ is a hybrid of Mexican species.