Salvia ‘Salsa Rose’

Salsa-Rose-00Most people think of salvia as a sun-loving plant, but we are having very positive results with the salvia planted underneath our Magnolia tree for two years straight. We see strong, vibrant color thriving in the shade where we would normally plant impatiens. The plants we’re referring to are from the Salsa series of salvia and if you are looking for an impatiens replacement, you should consider them.


Salvia ‘Salsa Rose’ is a fabulous addition to the series. The color is a soft rosy-pink, midway between ‘Salsa White’ and ‘Salsa Scarlet’. This series consists of dwarf varieties, so prepare to see great big blooms on fairly small plants. They grow only a little over a foot in height, so the look is strong vertical columns with a base of green. In a design, it’s like setting up toy soldiers on parade.


Salsa salvias are nectar-rich plants. They provide fuel for the beneficial insects we like to support, such as bees and butterflies, and their long florets also attract a lot of hummingbirds. For many gardeners this is an important selling point. These salvias are effective at building up the local ecosystem and encouraging diversity within it.

Salsa White, Purple and Scarlet

A lot of garden centers sell seed and supplies to birding enthusiasts, and Salsa salvias will engage those customers in the spring and summer. In the landscaping community, a garden that supports the local habitat is a good corporate citizen in the neighborhood—making it more valuable than simply a stand of color by the road.

Salsa Mix

Culturally, the Salsas love heat so bring them in to replace the early spring cool weather material. Plants benefit from good soil nutrition and regular watering to keep them going through the summer, so don’t place them where they’ll get roughed up—just as you would impatiens. Unlike impatiens, however, you can plant these in either sun or shade—we’ve been having great success in both locations.

Salvia is one of those classic bedding plants that is often overlooked. Pigeonholed, it’s been relegated to specific garden roles that get repeated year after year, garden after garden, without much change; in reality, this plant has a lot of unexplored potential.