Suncrest 'Bright Eyes' is a breathtaking sage plant. The white eyes peeking out of the scarlet blooms are truly magnificent. This Sage is just as wonderfully fragrant as its forebears, but with an amazingly improved display. The florets are no longer petite packets of color--on 'Bright Eyes' they open up to striking scarlet blooms!
'Bright Eyes' is part of the Suncrest series of Sage plants. Bred by Nevin Smith at Suncrest nurseries, these plants are an interspecific cross between Salvia Greggi and Salvia Macrophylla. This pairing creates bigger, brighter blooms on plants with dense habits and large foliage. These hybrids enjoy the natural health and vigor of the hybridization process, while producing the most beautiful blooms you will see on any Sage. This series excels in the landscape, especially in the South.
The bright-eyed show continues for quite a while, starting in late spring and blooming on in to the fall. This autumn sage blooms continuously, never flagging. The ruby red blooms are very large for sage blossoms, but the sturdy, dark red stems bear row after row of these blooms gracefully.
This bushy beauty grows about 15 inches high and wide, making it a nice size for beds or the middle of the border. The relatively small size and low water needs of 'Bright Eyes' also make it a good choice for a dryland rock garden. If you prefer a tidy habit, shear this Sage midseason. Shearing will also encourage more blooming.
Plant 'Suncrest Bright Eyes' in average, well-drained soil with full sun exposure. You can let the soil dry out a bit between waterings--too dry is better than too wet. Supply the right conditions, and this sage is a dream to grow, being quite tolerant of both heat and drought. Confirmed hardy in Zones 7 to 11; hardiness testing is still underway in northern zones.
Plant in sun or shade; the more sun, the denser the foliage, flower and fruit. Sambucus is not fussy about soil, but does best in a moisture-retentive loam enriched with organic matter.
Heat and drought tolerant once established, Salvia is relatively problem-free. Cut back vigorous growth in early summer to assure bushiness; and cut back blooms when spent to encourage a second bloom. Divide plants every 3 to 4 years, as necessary. A winter mulch is beneficial.
Tips for gardening in particularly hot, dry climates: