Salvia 'Costa Rican Blue'

Salvia ‘Costa Rican Blue’

Salvia ‘Costa Rican Blue’ :is an open tall shrub  from Costa Rica, 3m H with a brush of dark blue flowers and very dark calyces in spring & summer.
Salvia 'Costa Rican Blue'
Salvia ‘Costa Rican Blue’

 

 

Salvia ‘Costa Rican Blue’ is  one for birds and bees. Little Eastern Spinebills can be seen fluttering around these flowers.

Flowers: are tubular, dark blue in a brush of whorls along the stem. The colour is accentuated by the very dark almost black calyx.
The hood is large, almost the same length as the bottom lobes, with a faint pale stripe down the centre. The 2 side lobes are almost as long as the middle lobe which is slightly split and flared at the lip. The throat opening is large with a paler area around the opening to act as a beeline to allow birds with long beaks enter the flower.

The flowers often face in one direction – towards the light.  The flowers begin in a nodding position, but gradually straighten to a flower stem often  20cm long.. S ‘Costa Rican Blue’ can flower on and off most of the year, but late winter/ spring and summer is the main flowering period.

Calyces: begin as green, but quickly turn to a very dark blue, almost black with a white rim around the almost smooth pointed lobes. The pedicels are green as is the flowering stem.

Leaves: are a broad cordate shape, dark green, well veined and slightly hairy with serrated margins. Stems  become woody quickly below the main leaf area.

Coming from a tropical area,  Salvia  ‘Costa Rican Blue’ needs protection during the winter months from frosts and cold areas. Although they  grow well in the shade, they can also be grown in a sunny position provided that the roots are  covered with mulch, keeping the roots cool.

Plant in the middle of the bed, where the flowers can be seen, smaller plants can be grown beneath the branches. Grow with other brightly coloured shrubs of reds, cerise, crimson and yellows to provide contrast within the background.

Pruning: As the stems can become woody below the main leaf area, it is wise to regularly tip prune new shoots to keep the plant bushy. The stems can go in any direction – if they find an obstacle, they will go around it.
If the shrub has become woody then cut back the branches to at least 2-3  nodes, this also includes the main stem. Not all stems will shoot, but new shoots may appear from the base.

Propagation: is usually by tip cuttings that can be easily taken at any time of year.

 

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