Salvia ‘Mulberry Jam’ – an Annual Sage Plant that Delivers the Wow!

March 23, 2024

I cannot rave enough about the annual sage called Salvia ‘Mulberry Jam.’ (I refer to it as annual since it is only hardy to zone 8 and we are in New England – it might be perennial for you).

We planted several small plants in the gardens at CMBG in mid-May. Since that time, we have had a somewhat wet and, at times, chilly late spring into early summer. It was just this past week that we finally received hot, dry weather. Mulberry Jam has weathered the storms and continued until the sunshine.

A garden bed with salvia 'wendy's wish' and various foliage plants, featuring an informational plant label in the foreground.
Saliva ‘Mulberry jam’ gives an airy splash of magenta color – planted alongside coleus and hibiscus. Image from Domoney Ltd.

The flower buds start out as a deep reddish purple. As they open, the flowers become a nice, deep pink. Like all salvias, it has a slightly different colored calyx. The calyx keeps the deep reddish-purple color.

The spikes are upright to around 4′ in height. So far, the plants have been pest and disease-resistant. It is listed as being hardy to zone 8 or 9, so we will see how long it will last on the Maine coast this fall. The plant was originally bred by Betsy Clebsch from her garden near San Francisco.

A hummingbird feeding on pink flowers with a blurred green background.
Adult male Ruby-thrtoated Hummingbird feeding on salvia involucrata x ‘Mulberry Jam’. Image from BudOhio.
Vibrant pink flowers blooming amidst green foliage.
Salvia splendens Mulberry Jam in flower.

What to plant with Salvia involucrata ‘Mulberry Jam’:

We have combined mulberry jam salvia with clear-orange red hot pokers (kniphofia) and Verbena bonariensis. Around the base of the plant, there is variegated St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum var. ‘Variegatum’) to give it a pop at ground level.

Mulberry Jam at CMBG
Mulberry jam salvia in the gardens at Coastal Maine Botanic Garden. Image by Rodney Eason.

This fall, I hope to lift a few plants and winter them over in the greenhouse as propagation stock. Next year, I want to start the season with even larger plants.

If I had a complaint about Salvia’s ‘Mulberry Jam,’ it would be that I wish that I had planted more!


More Great Annual Plants for Your Garden:

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