KC Gardens

More on the mystery plant

QUESTION:

Dennis and Carole – I appreciate both of your expert opinions. Maybe I should have been a little more specific in my question. This plant has shown up in three places in my vegetable garden as if it was a weed. I didn’t plant it and have never planted a pink salvia. I have perennial salvia in a couple of different places. So I guess the real question is, how the heck did it get in my yard if I’ve never had this plant? It seems to be placed totally at random like a weed would be. Thanks for all the expertise you have added to my gardening experience over the years. This is my favorite gardening blog. - Lori

ANSWER:

Seeds can be "planted" by wind, water, insects and animals (feathered, furry and, of course, human). On the human side, we can inadvertently import seeds in compost, manure and mulch. If in the composting process organic matter does not reach the temperature necessary to kill seeds, the seeds could survive and wander to another garden. Did you by chance add purchased or free organic matter to your veggie garden? Besides that the only way I can imagine is that a vegetable seed packet contained a few of the salvia seeds.

Happenstance in the garden is sometimes a good thing, and always interesting. All in all, it is a pretty plant, and as Dennis said attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. If you like the looks, you could save some seed for next year. As the flower starts to fade, wrap some cheesecloth around it, so that you can capture the seed and decide where you want to plant it in the spring. Otherwise, pull the plants before before they go to seed, or you will likely have more in your vegetable garden next year. Hope this helps. Happy gardening.

Carole-Johnson County Extension Master Gardener

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