Salvia coccinea ‘Alba’: An upright open shrub 60-80cm H, enjoying a sunny / semi shaded position with pure white flowers during spring and summer.
Salvia coccinea ‘Alba’ can be grown either as an annual or a perennial if protected from cold weather. Sometimes known as ‘Snow Nymph’
Flowers: are the same as the parent, but pure white with the stamens exerted through the hood. The 2 side lobes are often on display, with the middle lobe being exerted, flared and slightly split. All to be used as a landing point for bees and insects. Often the 2 side lobes are bent backwards to open the throat area for small birds with long beaks.
Flowering for most of the year if in a sheltered sunny position. a useful plant in a semi shaded position.
Flowers appear in whorls of 6-8 flowers with 4 open and the others to open later, which extends the flowering period.
Calyces: are a bright green, nicely ribbed with pointed lobes. The green colour shows off the white colour of the flower nicely.
These whorls appear in a verticillata formation along a long green slightly hairy square flowering stem. The small wide green bracts fall away after the flowers begin to emerge in the whorl.
Leaves: are a mid green, broad cordate ( heart shaped), slightly hairy on both sides of the leaf with small rounded crenations along the margins.. Stems are green, square and thin.
Salvia coccinea ‘Alba’ is really a lovely plant to have in the garden, showing pure and white. Brightening up any dark corner
These flowers can act as a foil for other vivid coloured flowers, helping them to calm down. Being white, they are perfect for a white themed garden, but do equally well with other pinks, mauves, blues, reds and yellow perennials.
As most of the S. coccinea ‘s can tolerate semi shade, it is very useful for under deciduous trees, shrubs or in a woodland setting.
Although frost tender they are quite tolerant of dry dappled shade areas, but enjoy extra water during the hot dry summer months, but need good drainage during the wetter winter months.
At the end of autumn, it’s time to clean up the plants by collecting any seed and cutting off all seed heads, cleaning out any dead or twiggy stems and cutting back to good green buds or new growth.
Feed in spring and mulch well to keep the root area cool during summer.
Propagation: is easy from tip cuttings, taken from new growth. The best way to ensure the purity of the flower colour is by cuttings, but if this is the only S. coccinea ‘Alba’ in the garden, then seed should come true.
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