Salvia carduacea: is an annual growing 20-30cmH.in the full sun on poor soil with blue thistle like flowers in spring and summer.
Salvia carduacea is known as the Thistle Sage, from it similarity to an ordinary thistle.
Flowers: are thistle like, small dense whorls of pale blue / lilac flowers of 6-8 flowers with exerted stamens. The stiff calyx structure is attached to a coloured rigid stem above the leaves. These are beautiful flowers with hoods that are upright and frilly, and the bottom lobe that is flares, split and frilly( to look like a thistle flower).
Flowers begin in spring/ summer and continue into autumn. Flowers are held well above the foliage to attract passing bees and other pollinating insects. A beautiful Salvia.
Calyces: are stiff pale green structures that look like prickly lobes that are fussed together under the whorl of flowers. Each lobe is very pointed with small barbed hairs along the margins.
Leaves: are a typical thistle like shape, silver /green/ grey, elongated, very lobed, long and prickly, all in a low rosette formation.
Salvia carduacea is a small Salvia with the spectacular flowers coming from California, is normally found on hard poor soil, in full sun with good drainage.
Plant this type of Salvia with other tough hardy perennials that thrive in the summer sun and heat. Perennial that are white, pale pink, vivid purples and bright yellows.
Although an annual, this is a tough plant for summer heat. As autumn advances, the plant begins to dies down , having set and sown the seed for spring.
Propagation: is usually by seed, sown in late winter on a heated bed or early spring. Tip cuttings can be made from new shoots at the base . These should be taken in late spring or early summer before the flower shoots begin and before the onset of autumn.
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