Salvia ‘Crimson & Black’ (greggii): is a small upright subshrub to 60cm H. with bright red flowers and black calyces, flowering all year.
Salvia ‘Crimson & Black’ was an early hybrid to show these colours of bright red flowers and a black calyx.
Flowers: are bright crimson with a furry hood , the bottom lobe is flat and wide with a slight split, often the sides are folded back, but the whole flower is the one colour.
There is a faint paler area around the throat acting as a beeline to guide the insects further into the flower. Flowers are grouped in pairs at the top of the dark coloured flowering stem, being held above the foliage to attract passing insects.
Flowers begin in spring, coming into flower after being trimmed at the end of autumn. These will continue throughout summer and autumn when they will need trimming again. Very attractive to bees and other insects.
Calyces: are a dark purple black. Very heavily ribbed with long pointed lobes. The purple black bracts fall off as each pair of flowers emerge. The colour of calyces contrast so well with the bright red flowers, making the plant very attractive.
Leaves: are typically narrow greggii type leaves with more or less entire edges, a grass green colour, shiny with the midrib showing. Stems are well clothed most of their length.
The plant mainly grows from one stem rather than many stems as with microphylla varieties.
Salvia ‘Crimson & Black’ makes a good choice for an upright open shrub for the front of the border. Branches can become brittle, but if trimmed regularly and planted in amongst other small shrubs and perennials, it will thrive very well.
Plant this gorgeous red shrub with other vibrant purples, whites, dark blues and butter yellow perennials to show off the contrasting colour combinations. A very attractive addition to the garden with the dark calyces showing off the red flowers.
Pruning: At the end of autumn when the plant is looking a bit straggly, it’s time to trim back. Cut off all flower stems, taking out any dead or twiggy stems, cutting back by half, down to a good green bud.
Feed and mulch to keep the root area warm in winter. In spring when the flowers begin to appear, feed and mulch again to keep the root area cool during the hot summer months
Propagation: is usually by tip cuttings, taken at any time of year.
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