currently in Austin


Cardinal Velvet

Salvia Greggii

salvia greggii cardinal velvet

This cultivar of Salvia greggi behaves much the same as the species, but the flowers have a more intensely velvety look to them. The flower’s a little fuzzier which gives it a different texture and a deeper color.

This evergreen woody perennial grows to about 3′ tall and wide. It can take the full sun, but I’ve found that mine performs a bit better with some protection from the intensity of afternoon rays. It can grow in some shade as long as it gets sun part of the day.

It’s not picky about soil but does like good drainage. In heavy clay soil, do amend with compost to improve drainage.

Although it is a low water-use plant, it will definitely perform a little better if you water it once a week during the heat of the summer.

It flowers from spring right on through fall, with maybe a little break at the peak of summer heat. But once temperatures cool just a bit, the sun becomes less intense, and we get just a little bit of fall rain, ‘Cardinal Velvet’ comes roaring back to life.

It is listed as hardy to zone 8, so if we have a particularly harsh winter, you might lose this one if you can’t protect it.

All cultivars of Salvia greggii benefit from harsh pruning in late January and early February to fend off woodiness and encourage lush new growth.

Prune lighting again in May and in late August to encourage new flowers that bloom on new wood.

‘Cardinal Velvet’ looks great planted alone in an open space in your garden, but also looks fabulous when planted in masses, or as a short border around planting beds.