Sunday, July 15, 2012

Salpiglossis sinuata (Painted Tongue)

Salpiglossis sinuata
Back in January of this year, Commercial Horticulture Educator, Steve Bogash, cleaned out his back store of leftover seeds from various trials over the years. There were tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and various annual seeds left from his days of doing cut flower trials. When the MG greenhouse team started seeds in March, we sorted through the packets and planted them. One of the cut flower trial seeds was labeled Salpiglossis. Our team had never heard of it, but we liked the name and sowed a flat anyway. Steve mentioned that they didn't do very well in his trials as a potential for the cut flower trade.  They were dated for planting in 2006, so we weren't sure about viability, but they germinated well - I remember because they were a pain in the butt to thin to one plant per cell.

Salpiglossis sinuata
They didn't sell very well at the various plant sales in May, probably because I knew so little about them, so there were several leftover that wound up in my containers and an annual bed. They started blooming about a week ago with this incredibly rich blue color.

They apparently come in lots of different colors

Salpiglossis sinuata
 Painted Tongue is native to Chile and a member of the Solanaceae family, which makes it a cousin to tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant, as well as petunias. The name comes from two Greek words, "salpinx" meaning trumpet and "glossa" meaning tongue.

Salpiglossis sinuata

Apparently Steve's experience was duplicated in Colorado, where this assessment of its use as a cut flower was made, "very beautiful flowers but unfortunately faded quickly and stems were too short for fresh cuts."

Maybe not so good for the cut flower trade, but If I can successfully save seed, they may wind up with a permanent place in my gardens.

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