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Salvia arenaria

Salvia arenaria: is a delicate small subshrub that needs protection from frost and summer heat, best grown in semi shade, growing to 30cmH.

Autumn / winter is the flowering time for the delicate shrubby Salvia arenaria.

Flowers: are small, red and  semi tubular with the little white stigmas curling over the hood. Calyces are bright green, ribbed and almost translucent in colour. This is one of the few Salvias where the green bracts remain on the plant for some time. The flowers appear in autumn / winter on a green flowering stem which is held above the foliage to catch passing insects.

As this plant begins to flowers in autumn, bees and moths are more readily seen on the flowers.

Leaves: are a dark green elliptical /  lanceolate shape, with soft crenulations along the edge. Veins are well indented and the underside is a beautiful maroon colour, extending to the leaf petiole.

Coming originally from a protected forest floor, Salvia arenaria grows best in a semi shaded position. This delicate Salvia can be grown either in a pot or at the front of a bed with other plants liking those shady conditions.

The lovely dark colouring of the leaves goes well with other bright green or yellowish green coloured plants. S. arenaria is often used as a contrasting plant in a colourful planting scheme.

Although flowering in the cold of autumn / winter, this is a delicate shrub that needs protection from frost. Mulch well to keep the root area cool during the hot summer heat.

Pruning: is really only to trim and neaten the shape of the plant when flowering has finished. Any dead or twiggy stems need to be removed. Feed and mulch well for protection from frost and dry summers.

Propagation: tip cuttings are easily struck in spring / summer.

Another variety: arenaria var mamelopolis is very similar in growth, but has cerise flowers and darker leaves.

Not usually available.