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

Flower Season
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Fall
Mature Size
4' 3'
Height: 2' - 4'
Spread: 2' - 3'
Award Winner
  • Details



    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
    14 - 18 Inches
    24 - 36 Inches
    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
  • 17 Reviews

    Browse reviews from people who have grown this plant.
    • 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
      , 6 weeks ago
    • It's a favorite in our garden. Easy to grow and butterflies and bees love it!

      , Illinois
      , United States
      , 14 weeks 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
      , 24 weeks 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
      , 37 weeks 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
      , 1 year ago
    • These are one of my top favorites! I planted a few as thrillers in a some of my large containers. My containers were super growers this year for some reason so they started to get so big that I decided to move them to my beds. They really took off. They are in my front garden which gets a lot of full sun especially in the afternoon. I was pretty generous with watering them. They are huge and full of pollinators and beautiful blooms. It’s October and they’re going strong. They make a huge gorgeous impact in my garden.

      , Pennsylvania
      , United States
      , 1 year ago
    • Love love love ❤️. These are gorgeous!! My favorite salvia for sure!

      Heather Willmon
      , Alabama
      , United States
      , 1 year ago
    • There are salvias — and then there is this beautiful performer. Non-stop flowering in deep blue until frost here in NC. Pollinator treat. I am delighted to find a perennial that requires no dead-heading and can handle the heat and humidity of our 5 month summer. Yup, I am back to add a few more of these to my gardens. I suggest you add a few smaller perennials in front of these in your garden design.

      Joan McAndrews
      , North Carolina
      , United States
      , 2 years ago
    • I planted these in raised deck containers in early summer (to replace a different salvia that underperformed.) They quickly grew to catch up and surpass the other plants in the pots. Definitely a pollinator magnet, always in bloom. They grew to about 3’. Eventually a few stems split, but I expected that due to how exposed my containers are to high wind. The stems are very strong and become woody at the base by the end of the season. Despite splitting, the branches did not wilt. I staked them up and the plants didn’t miss a beat. I used a liquid fertilizer once a week. This plant will be in my yard next season for sure, but more of them. I plan on pruning to develop better side branching.

      Lisa G.
      , Pennsylvania
      , United States
      , 2 years ago
    • This plant is crazy good! The size and the amount of blooms is truly wonderful. This will be a must in our garden for as long as we can find it each year. Wonderful color, fun structure, pollinator magnet - truly a proven winner!

      , New York
      , United States
      , 2 years ago
  • 2 Awards

    Award Year Award Plant Trial
    2018 Top Performer Penn State
    2018 Best Polliinator-Friendly Perennial Dallas Arboretum
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  • 7 Recipes

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