Marie Selby Botanical Garden Logo

Our Favorite Annual Plants

New colors and plants are blossoming at the Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus! Our gardens horticulturists have just updated the annual plantings throughout the Gardens and are delighted to share their favorites, as well as some care tips for your own garden.

Corinn Smells Flowers

Gardens Horticulturist

Salvia haematodes ‘Mystic Spires Blue’ is by far my favorite annual this year. You can find this plant blooming down the bayfront and buzzing with bees all year round. It can be grown as a perennial in Florida, and blooms throughout our hot summers with ease!

The bees and butterflies will thank you for planting this pollinator-friendly beauty. Mystic spires performs best in full sun, but can take part shade as well. Deadheading the spent blooms will prolong the plants longevity and promote new flowers to spike. This Salvia also makes a great cut flower, so you can enjoy its beauty from inside your home too! 


Gardens Horticulturist

I am loving the Plectranthus (Mona Lavender) this year in the garden. You can find this beautiful perennial planted in shady, cool spots beneath the tree canopies. If you’re out hunting for a peek of it, you can visit the Plectranthus at the Downtown Sarasota campus behind the pergola and close to the koi pond.  The gorgeous and unusual silver leaves and bright purple spikes will surely catch your attention.

For those gardeners who would like to host it in their own gardens, just remember that it likes dappled shade and has medium water needs. Happy growing!


Nathan Burnaman
Gardens Horticulturist

Gaura lindheimeri is a great Florida friendly way to get some color in the garden.

Native to southern Texas and Louisiana, this plant is extremely drought tolerant thanks to a deep underground rhizome.  With several varieties available in pinks and whites, it’s feathery texture adds a nice interest to any sunny area, without requiring much water. Oh and the bees love it!


Gardens Horticulturist

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ is a criminally underrated annual that should be planted far more often than it is. It ticks all the boxes: colorful, fragrant, and pollinator friendly.

True blue is nearly impossible to find in the landscape, but this salvia delivers with deep, vibrant, blue flowers nestled in pitch black calyces.

When crushed, the leaves are aromatic–whether that’s a good thing or not is still up for debate. The smell is polarizing; some people love it, some people hate it. Depending on who you ask it smells like tomato, anise, or just plain musty. Most importantly, however, the bees go buck wild for ‘Black and Blue’ salvia. If you look cloesly you’re guaranteed to see fuzzy little honey bee booties poking out of the flowers.

Resize Fonts