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Rockin'® Playin' The Blues® Salvia longispicata x farinacea

Flower Season
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Fall
Mature Size
4' 3' 1.2m 91cm
Height: 2' - 4'
Spread: 2' - 3'
Height: 61cm - 1.2m
Spread: 61cm - 91cm
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  • Details

    24 - 48 Inches
    14 - 18 Inches
    24 - 36 Inches
    61cm - 1.2m
    36cm - 46cm
    61cm - 91cm


    Beautiful blue flowers all summer long.  As the flowers age, the calyx remains deep-blue after the actual flower falls off, giving the impression that the entire flower stalk remains in flower giving a greater floral presence in the garden.

    Award Winner
    Fragrant Foliage
    Continuous Bloom or Rebloomer
    Long Blooming
    Fall Interest
    Heat Tolerant
    Deadheading Not Necessary
    Drought Tolerant


    Plant Type: 
    Height Category: 
    Garden Height: 
    24 - 48 Inches 61cm - 1.2m
    14 - 18 Inches 36cm - 46cm
    24 - 36 Inches 61cm - 91cm
    Flower Colors: 
    Flower Colors: 
    Flower Shade: 
    Foliage Colors: 
    Foliage Shade: 
    Container Role: 

    Plant Needs

    Light Requirement: 
    Part Sun to Sun

    The optimum amount of sun or shade each plant needs to thrive: Full Sun (6+ hours), Part Sun (4-6 hours), Full Shade (up to 4 hours).

    Maintenance Category: 
    Bloom Time: 
    Planting To Hard Frost
    Hardiness Zones: 
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
    Water Category: 
    Soil Fertility Requirement: 
    Average Soil
    Cut Flower
    Mass Planting
    Specimen or Focal Point
    Uses Notes: 

    Great in beds, along walkways, and on patios.

    Maintenance Notes: 

    Playin' The Blues is a wonderful annual Salvia (except in frost free zones) compact and richly colored it is easy and trouble free. It is sterile so it will not set seed and that means it will just bloom, and bloom and bloom all season without stopping.

    You can easily trim to keep the shape or size where you want it, and it will branch out and become even thicker and more full of flowers.

    Regular watering and fertilizing will keep the plant at maximum color and growth but it is amazingly tough and once established in a pot or the garden will tolerate lower levels of food and water. However, severe drought will cause lower leaves to drop and if this happens give it a quick haircut removing the upper 1/3 of growth and once it back to normal watering it will fill back in.

    Playin' The Blues is a big attractor of bees! They love the sweet nectar in the flowers, so place it accordingly; a bit farther from seating areas if bees are a concern. It is always great to have a plant that will support our native bees!!

    Rockin'® Playin' The Blues® Salvia longispicata x farinacea 'Balsalmispim' USPP 29,604
  • 22 Reviews

    Browse reviews from people who have grown this plant.
    • I have 5 of these beautiful plants in the ground. This is year three for them and every year they come back better than before. All Salvias grow well in my zone 9b California garden, PWs playin' the blues are by far the show stoppers.

      , California
      , United States
      , 2 weeks ago
    • I have 5 of these beautiful plants in the ground. This is year three for them and every year they come back better than before. All Salvias grow well in my zone 9b California garden, PWs plain' the blues are by far the show stoppers.

      , California
      , United States
      , 2 weeks ago
    • I love these flowers and so many of the pollinators do to! I have several from the website and others I bought at nurseries. I'm heartbroken that we had a wind and rainstorm come thru and all of them collapsed with the bumblebees sleeping on them and not sure how many survived. From now on with these plants I'll be planting with square cages to keep them propped up. I don't care about the beauty they add to my home but the pollinators attraction and survival of them, so the presence of cages is minuscule. I have them planted in deep fabric pots and learned to not place them near birdbaths etc underneath or water too near the plants. I've had a couple drown by not realizing they can accidentally fall in. I'm just sharing my own learning experiences so others don't make the same mistakes. I'll be getting at least a half dozen next year and do a better job of protecting them from the elements when Mother Nature is in charge. I'm so sad right now.

      , Virginia
      , United States
      , 38 weeks ago
    • Absolutely stunning in my garden and a pollinators magnet. Planning on purchasing more next year.

      Lana Berkman
      , Florida
      , United States
      , 42 weeks ago
    • I probably have about 6 of these thru PW online and other plant selling locations. All planted in 10 and 15gal fabric pots only because of our underground critters getting to the roots like last years RPtB's and are also placed on top of 1/4" hardware cloth. Lordy, they are huuuuge and loving the pots. Yes I do have to water more often but it's easier in the fabric for me. Plus I can move them on my hand cart easily if I find any plant needing more or less sun. There's bumblebees galore but no butterflies except for an occasional one to fly thru and need a quick pick me up then they're off. I have some RPtB's in about 6-8hrs of sun and 3 others in about 3-4hrs. I'm in zone 7B Mid-Atlantic so the sun is brutal with the humidity. For my area the 3-4hrs are doing better and that's the hottest part of the day of sun exposure. I gave them LOTS of Bio tone and PW Slow Release fertilizer (I mean ALOT. Dirt, BT, slow release, dirt BT, slow release in layers) when planted and it's now August so I started supplementing with Alas ka fish fertilizer until the bees hibernate. If you go the fabric pot route, take my advice, one plant per pot in 10gal ones. But I do have one planted with Bubblegum Super Petunias and I think the RPtB's isn't getting enough room to root out or the sun is too intense so it could be a combo factor going on. It's in full sun in the longest part of the day morning till about 6pm. RPtB's just won't stop producing these amazing stalks of flowers. If you're looking for a stand alone Thriller plant, this is the one for you and the Bee's will thank you so much for it.

      , Virginia
      , United States
      , 44 weeks ago
    • I cannot say enough good things about this plant! I have several other varieties of salvia in my garden, but this one out performed all of them hands down! The bees and butterflies flocked to it, ignoring all the other plants in the garden. I'm in zone 7b and all of last years plants came back and so far are looking great. I'm hitting up my local nursery to buy 5 more for this years planting!!

      , North Carolina
      , United States
      , 1 year ago
    • It's a favorite in our garden. Easy to grow and butterflies and bees love it!

      , Illinois
      , United States
      , 1 year ago
    • One of my favorites in my garden! This salvia bloomed from the time I planted it until the first hard frost just a month ago. So roughly May-the end of October. Not only did it bloom ceaselessly, pollinators were all over it! Technically these should be perennial in my zone 7 garden, so I'm really looking forward to next spring to see how (if) they perform next growing season.

      Katherine Driscoll
      , Georgia
      , United States
      , 1 year ago
    • I bought 2 at my local nursery in NC this year. They grew quickly and became a huge attraction for the bees and butterflies. Question though, I'm on the edge of the hardiness zone so if they're treated as a perinneal, do u cut them back in the winter?

      Brandy Jacic
      , North Carolina
      , United States
      , 1 year ago
    • For balcony railing gardens, this salvia will give you great screening from bad views, attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and flower from planting until frost (and maybe even beyond). The bumblebees, in particular, loved it so much, they would hang out all day and even take naps on it! So busy eating and sleeping, they never cared if I was right there, even handling the plants as they ate. Because I’ve had mixed results with other salvias in the past, I made the mistake of planting two plants instead of just one in my rectangular railing planters. This was, by far, the most vigorous and successful salvia I’ve ever grown. One in each planter would have been more than enough. Existing spikes just kept on putting out more and more continuous flowers as new spikes also matured. It was really an incredible show that my neighbors complimented me on over and over again. Planted in full afternoon sun with Superbells as spillers, it wasn’t long until it grew, and grew, and grew, and grew, easily reaching 3 feet or more by summer’s end, with plenty of blooms throughout the fall. Plants required staking to survive some stronger winds and rain, but once propped up, they just kept on going, and even more damaged plants grew back in with vigor. If you are planting on a balcony with a roof or overhang, they can become heavy toward the front and cause the planters to tip forward. That’s why, next season, I’m going to try the “Unplugged So Blue” variety, which is shorter, instead. Rockin’ does almost TOO well for balcony railing planters. I’d definitely plant them again if I had a garden on the ground.

      Jersey Ray
      , New Jersey
      , United States
      , 2 years ago
  • 2 Awards

    Award Year Award Plant Trial
    2018 Top Performer Penn State
    2018 Best Polliinator-Friendly Perennial Dallas Arboretum
  • 3 More colors

  • 6 Recipes

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