Salvia confertiflora

Salvia confertiflora:

Salvia confertiflora: an  upright shrub for full sun to 1.5-2m H with spikes of orange flowers in late winter/ spring.
Salvia confertiflora
Salvia confertiflora

Salvia confertiflora has interesting spikes of orange flowers.

Flowers: are very unusual, they are extremely small, a velvety orange arranged along a long spike of a flowering stem. The corolla is very small, but tubular with a small velvety hood and very small side lobes and bottom lobe.
These can only be visited by bees and insects that can crawl inside the flower. Small Honey eater birds with long beaks like to try to find the nectar.These spikes stand well above the branches during the winter /spring months to attract the passing insects and birds.
These flowers are beautifully silhouetted against the blue sky on a sunny morning.

Calyces: begins as green but  colour to a rusty red/ orange colour. Each lobe is small, velvety with soft hairs, blunt and sparsely ribbed .

Leaves:  are a broad lanceolate, grass green, deeply fissured giving them that rough textured look with prominent crenations along the edges.
The leaf petiole is coloured orange red, quite thick and short. Most of the leaves appear at the top half of the stem if the plant is crowded among other shrubs, but stems will be well clothed if planted with space.

Salvia confertiflora is a lovely upright shrub for a sunny position.  Tough, hardy for summer and frost tolerant. If given good soil, it will branch out to a nice broad shrub which can be placed between other shrubs to good effect. Good drainage and not over watered should see flowers appear during the winter through to the summer months.

Plant with other broad leaf plants with contrasting or interesting  coloured leaves to give that wow effect. Those flower spikes certainly add to the overall height of a small garden.
Plant in the center of the bed of behind other small shrubs.

Pruning: Early summer, after the main flowering flush has finished, it’s time to tidy the shrub. Cut off all spent flowering spikes. Cut the stems down to a good green bud to encourage new shoots. If the main stem is cut down to low, it may not recover. Try and keep some growth to prevent any loss, then gradually prune down to the new shoots to invigorate the shrub.

When finished tidying up the shrub,  feed well and mulch to keep the roots cool over the summer months.

Propagation: is by tip cuttings taken from new growth and any time of the year.

 

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