Mealycup or Mealy Sage
Salvia farinacea Cathedral™ ‘Blue Bicolor’
Salvia farinacea Benth. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Salvia. It was named and described by George Bentham in Labiatarum Genera et Species in 1833.
The Salvia genus was described by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 974 accepted species of Salvia.
I think there are seven cultivars in the Salvia Cathedral™ series but I have not figured out who holds the patent. Dave’s Garden only has information about the cultivar Cathedral™ ‘Sky Blue’ and says it was hybridized by Jones and registered or introduced in 2008.
I picked up three Salvia farinacea Cathedral™ ‘Blue Bicolor’ from Lowe’s on June 10, 2018, and put them in the bed on the south side of the house. I really like Salvia and can always make room for a species or cultivar I don’t have. My first experience with Salvia farinacea was when I bought a packet of ‘Blue Bedder’ from the Dollar General store in Leland, Mississippi.
The tag with the plants didn’t say what cultivar they were so I had to check online. There are seven cultivars in the series including ‘Lavender’, ‘White’, ‘Blue Bicolor’, ‘Deep Blue’, ‘Purple’, ‘Shining Seas’, and ‘Sky Blue’. I think, although not 100% sure, the three I bought are ‘Blue Bicolor’.
Origin: Species native to Mexico, New Mexico, and Texas
Zones: USDA Zones 9a-11 (20-40° F)
Size: 12-18” or so tall
Spacing: Plants should be spaced 12” or so apart.
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Average, well-drained, slightly damp
Water: Prefers regular watering
How “reliably” winter hardy is Salvia farinacea? That is a good question. When I had the cultivar ‘Blue Bedder’ in Mississippi, they returned the next spring but that was in zone 9. Salvia farinacea is considered perennial in USDA zones 7b-11, although there are reports of it returning as cold as 4b-5a. They are reliably self-sowing, so maybe in cooler zones, they come up from seed like my Salvia coccinea. Information online about the Cathedral™ Series, what little there is, says they are only hardy in USDA zones 9a-11.
Growing most Salvia species are quite easy. Most are fairly drought tolerant once established, but they do appreciate regular watering. Salvia farinacea prefer fairly moist soil for them to perform their best.
While some species of Salvia don’t really need deadheading, the species whose flowers are on “spikes” do need to be deadheaded for continual flowering. Otherwise, they will produce seeds and the only flowers you will have will be from new stems. Deadheading also keeps the plants looking tidy.
This is my first experience with the Salvia farinacea Cathedral™ ‘Blue Bicolor’ so I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. There is barely any information online about this cultivar or the series, so the links below are for the genus, species, maybe the series or a different “color” in the series.