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Old 02-18-2014, 11:49 AM   #1
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Question Is there a risk of hybridization?

Hello everyone!
I have a question that has been bothering me. So far, the two people I thought might be the best to ask have both seemed to think I'm crazy for worrying about it.

Here's the situation:
I have a border that I'm re-doing. I've ripped out my roses and the other non-native plants and this year I'm starting over with natives. As a result, this year my border is likely going to seem pretty empty and barren. I'm growing the plants that will go in there from seed. Being mostly perennials, they certainly aren't going to put on much of a show this year. One of the perennials that is already there is salvia azurea. I love this plant. Currently, there are only a handful of them planted but I intend to add many more this year. Since I expect the bed to look rather puny, I decided for this first year I'd fill up some empty space with some non-natives. In particular, I'm planning to add a dwarf fern-leaf dill and a purple basil; both are for the pollinators. (Well, the purple color of the basil is for me! I thought it would look nice). The other plant I want to add is an annual salvia, 'Lady in Red.' It's supposed to be a hummingbird magnet and I thought the red blooms would really "pop" in that bed. I thought I'd feel slightly less guilty about adding the non-natives if at least they were good food sources for the pollinators and the hummingbirds. One year when I had about an 18-inch square patch of dill, I had a bunch of swallowtail caterpillars. That prompted me to plant zizia aurea for a native food source for them. But I thought the dill might be useful this year while my baby plants get established.

My concern is this: can the salvia coccinea hybridize with my native salvia azurea? If they are likely to, then I don't want to add the salvia coccinea. If it isn't an issue, then I would like to go ahead with planting both. Using Google, I could find nothing addressing this issue.

Your help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:46 PM   #2
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They probably will Hybridize: That's not necessarily a bad thing because as you know when you save seeds from Hybridized tomatoes you generally get cherry tomatoes.

So I guess I'm giving the green light on the Saliva hybrids but there's a but...Isn't there always?

It sounds like you know your hedgerow will be kind of thin this year so why not go with some tried and true natives? Some big plants like cup plant and Joe pye weed?

While we all know hummers like their red flowers don't they like insects when raising their young?

I'm no Hummer expert but putting up nectar feeders bring in the hummers but they like a yard with bugs to build their nest?

Cup plant also acts as a natural water source for your wild-life and will provide some fill till the perennials fill in.

As far as the purple leaf basil for a pollinator it sounds fine but probably won't attract any more bees than say bee balm; Also by the time it flowers it's use as a pesto ingredient is ruined.

I just plant the Genovese basil for use in my Pesto. Two weeks before frost I stop harvesting the leaves and let it bloom[bolt] for a late season nectar supply.

If you like Asian Dishes the sweet basil is the one to use and it has the same requirements as other basils.

I use the Mammoth Dill: It has a tendency to flop over before the seeds mature but the seeds are tasty and lots of growth for the swallowtails.

Another plant that the swallowtails like is fennel or the one that forms a bulb is called finnochocio; You can dash up your salads with the bulb and use the seeds for seasoning meat.
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:13 PM   #3
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I've had many species of Salvia in my gardens native and non-native, including S. azurea, and have never found any of them to hybridize and self seed like the Monarda and Phlox. That being said I'd err on the side of caution and not plant the S. coccinea. There are so many other fast growing native perennials that will flower in their first year you can try.
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:21 PM   #4
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Myself, I'd fill the voids with birdbaths, toad houses, decorative statues, upright structures, a rock path winding through, a tiny bench and table if it's large enough. Since you are planning on a bed entirely NATIVE.....I sure wouldn't take the chance of adding nonnatives that MIGHT cross. Perhaps you'd like to plant underground veggies and edge it in lettuce. Peas and legumes fill in spaces real nice PLUS you have the addition of nibbling upon their pods as you keep things weeded. They also draw nitrogen for the natives to use!

I created a bed a while back (Sorry Non natives) BUT if you'd like to see how I filled in the voids take a look at post #23 here: Hosta - floral bed
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:16 PM   #5
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Thank you SpruceTree, Havalotta, and Linrose. I really appreciate the time you took to answer.

I see I wasn't terribly clear (didn't want to write a book-length post) and anyway why can't you read minds? The border I'm worrying about is in my front yard (55' x 6') and it's not the kind of location that you'd plant silphium and the like, especially since I don't want my brand new neighbors to feel like we're unfriendly. (That grows in the back garden!) Until this past October, the border had roses, hardy geraniums (not the native g. maculatum), nepeta, and daylilies. I had started adding some natives to it in the past 2 years so it had a few of those, as well.

I will be filling that border with natives. In late October I planted dormant bare-root baptisia minor and ceanothus americanus for the backbone of the border. I've got many containers of winter sown native seed (82 kinds! The surplus will go to the garden in back.) waiting for the right temps to germinate. While some perennials will bloom this year (the s. azurea should, among others), you all know how this first year will be light compared to subsequent years. I was hoping to pad that a bit with some non-native annuals that still had some clear benefit to the pollinators. I've never grown stuff just for hummers and never had hummingbird feeders but I see the birds in my garden from time to time. I thought the red salvia would be something I'd enjoy and that the hummers could use. Similarly, the basil isn't to eat. If I plant it, I'll enjoy its pretty color while letting it go to flower for pollinators. I hate dill and I plant that only for the pollinators and for the swallowtails. With both the basil and the dill being dwarf varieties, I was hoping they wouldn't stick out a whole lot. I'm rather worried this bed is going to look like it has the floral equivalent of mange this coming year. Of course, if I just stick with only adding winter-sown babies, that eliminates most of the mange worries. I think I'm going to have to just enjoy the s. coccinea at my mother's house instead!

Thanks again for your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
I hate dill and I plant that only for the pollinators and swallowtails.
I'm rather worried this bed is going to look like it has the floral equivalent of mange this coming year.
Then I wouldn't be planting any dill.
I don't know about the dwarfs but DILL spits seeds everywhere so if you are NOT wanting to weed it out as in like forever in the upcoming years..... I definitely would NOT tuck that one in! Dill ALSO looks like that mange you're trying to avoid once it spits those seeds and starts to turn ugly brown, wispy and straggly!!!!

Sooo... Being so long and narrow would this be a curbside strip you're planting, against your home or drive or someplace other???
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Missouri Native View Post
I will be filling that border with natives. In late October I planted dormant bare-root baptisia minor and ceanothus americanus for the backbone of the border. I've got many containers of winter sown native seed (82 kinds! The surplus will go to the garden in back.) waiting for the right temps to germinate.
That sounds awesome!

I'd love to hear more about what you sowed, any tips, and photos! Maybe in another thread if you don't want to get off topic here.

I don't know the answer to your original question...but is the non-native salvia an annual? I'm guessing if it is an annual and dies out before your native perennial blooms there'd be no chance of it. Now, I hope I didn't just reveal how little I know about the Salvias...(that is why I didn't respond originally).
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linrose View Post
I've had many species of Salvia in my gardens native and non-native, including S. azurea, and have never found any of them to hybridize and self seed like the Monarda and Phlox. That being said I'd err on the side of caution and not plant the S. coccinea. There are so many other fast growing native perennials that will flower in their first year you can try.
hello Linrose, Can you recommend some perennials that are easy to grow from seed direct sowed in the garden? I have tried a few but I have never had much success.....thank you!
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:55 PM   #9
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MissouriNative, what about trying some of these annuals:

Partridge Pea (a host plant for sulphur butterflies)
Plants Profile for Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea)

Lemon Beebalm (one of my favorite annual nectar plants)
Plants Profile for Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm)

Mexican Hat
https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=RACO3
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:07 PM   #10
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KCHD, thank you for your suggestions. The partridge pea is one of the 82 natives I have winter sown for inclusion into that bed! It's also in a prairie seed mix I'm using (see below). If I don't use it in the border, it will definitely be growing in my main garden. I have sown two other native annuals that I hope will sprout. They will give me guaranteed blooms as annuals, but unfortunately they are both pink! I have monarda fistulosa but I've never considered the annual you suggest and I should have. It's a reflex: I normally disregard annuals because I hate planting stuff. With perennials, I plant once and then have years of blooms. (I never count on a lot of success with annuals reseeding themselves). So, it was a bad habit that did it this time. I'm hoping the 2 annuals I did sow will reseed and effectively act as perennials for me. I'll have to look into that monarda, too. Great suggestion!

Dapjwy, I'd feel better writing about it once I'm successful, so that will be a while. That said, I've winter sown before with great success but I'm doing it a bit differently this year so there is still an element of the unknown about it. Many people winter sow into milk jugs. I tried that for the first time this year and I hate it already. What a nuisance! It does have two advantages: 1) it's a free mini-greenhouse container and 2) it provides plenty of vertical growing room for plants that don't get put into the ground as quickly as they ideally should. What I've done is get cheap Sterilite shoe boxes for $0.88 apiece, drilled 3 holes into each, and filled them 3-4 inches deep with my soil-less potting mix. You could use any containers that would fit into a tub or you could simply fill the tub and then divide it in some way. Some of my shoe boxes have only 1 type of seed in them; others I've divided by placing a mini-blind strip across the top, on its side, pressed into the soil slightly. Those then have 2 kinds of seed for things I don't think I'll want a lot of (or for which I do not have a lot of seed). Three of those shoe boxes fit into a rectangular Sterilite tub like you might put under a bed. All of these, by the way are clear. I drill some holes in that, too, put the shoe boxes in, and put on the clear top. Done! (The holes are drilled for 2 reasons: 1) if you open the containers to rain, you want them to be able to drain and 2) it allows you to bottom water without disturbing the seed or delicate tiny seedlings). The shoe boxes are about 1.5 inches shorter than the tubs, so there is a bit of extra head room for the seedlings. I don't fill my shoe boxes completely full of soil, so between the couple inches there and the extra in the tub, the seedlings have a fair amount of head room before the lids need to be removed. The light gets in through the clear lids but the soil shouldn't dry out. For some plants where I know I want a ton of them, I filled the entire tub with soil and planted one type of seed throughout the entire tub. The plan is to plant "hunks" of the seedlings when it's time. A shoe box's worth of seedlings, divided into one inch squares yields 112 "hunks" of seedlings that can be planted or 28 2-inch-square hunks. That's also something that will be new for me. In years past, I laboriously teased apart all the seedlings and potted them up to grow on for a while before putting them into the garden. Potting up took a tremendous amount of time and by the time I got done I had a lot less enthusiasm about then planting them in the garden! So, this time it's straight into the garden for most of them. I'm nervous about it but veterans of this method swear by it. For a few that I am really anxious about or don't have a lot of, I will still pot those up and grow those on a bit before planting in the garden. I also have a new berm that needs to be planted so it won't erode away. My original intent was to sprinkle one of Prairie Moon's seed mixes all over it but then I realized I was going to lose a lot of the seeds since it's not a flat area. So instead I've sown that seed mix in tubs and I'll be planting "hunks" of prairie on my new berm. Whatever plants I don't use in the border will go into the berm. I don't know why, but it just tickles me to no end when I think of my "prairie in a tub." I will try to remember to take some pictures to share with you all as the seedlings sprout and as I plant the berm and border.

You did give me an idea, though, Dapjwy: while the two different salvias will overlap in bloom times about mid-summer, there's no reason I couldn't give the annuals a haircut about the time my native perennials start blooming. That would allow me to get the best of both salvias, so to speak-- just not at the same time. The annual salvias would recover from their "haircuts" and resume blooming once my natives were done. I can live with that! So thanks for the idea!

Havalotta you asked about the area I'm planting, trying to figure out what it is. It is a bed (7-ft wide, not 6 as I said) running the length of one side of my front yard, bordering the neighbor's. Originally, the neighbor had a chain link fence (yes, in the front yard) and I didn't like looking at it. I had the idea to hide it with a hedge of roses (I was really into roses then). She liked the roses and ripped out the fence so she could enjoy them. Irony! That neighbor is now gone and my love of roses has been supplanted by a strong belief that natives need to be the priority. So I'm re-doing that border with the natives. My rose beds in the back are becoming beds of natives that happen to have a few surviving roses in them. I don't use fungicides, herbicides (except in limited, extreme circumstances like Johnson grass), or pesticides in my yard and the midwestern humidity produces monster cases of black spot that take a huge toll on the roses. Most eventually succumb to it and when they do, they are not replaced by new roses.

Sorry I ended up writing that book I said I didn't want to inflict upon you all!
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