Salvia deserta

Salvia deserta

Salvia deserta:  a herbaceous perennial 60cm H with clear mauve flowers from  the Middle East & Mediterranean.

Salvia deserta
Salvia deserta

Salvia deserta produces multiple stems of clear mauve flowers.

Flowers: are  a clear pale purple/ mauve, an open medium falcate type flower. The whole flower is the same colour with a small white beeline patch around the throat area that has particular purple markings, to induce the bees  and insects into the flower.
Flowers appear on  multiple upright flower stems in small whorls of 4-6 flowers, in late spring through till autumn. These are held well above the foliage to attract passing insects.

Calyces: are initially green, but become a  red brown colour on the exposed sides, but don’t influence the mauve/ purple colour of the flower.
These remain on the stem after the flower has finished, becoming straw coloured as they dry.

Leaves: are grass green, a broad oval/ oblong shape, veins indented. The surface is fissured to allow any moisture to run down the veins and stems to the roots with small crenations along the edges and a pointed apex.
With long petiole stems, these form large tight rosette type growths at the base, making a good clump. New basal growths are seen in late summer often giving another flowering.

Salvia deserta is a  good border plant either as a formal border or within an informal border planting.. Mass planted, they act as a good backdrop behind a low ground cover.
Plant with other small shrubs and perennials  with colours of purples, pinks, reds and yellows, colours that are complimentary.
Liking a sunny position, hardy in our summer dry heat , but disappears for the winter cold. Very bee and insect friendly.

In autumn, when flowering has finished, it’s time to clean up by firstly collecting  any seed, to be stored until ready to sow. Cut down any flowering stems, clear away old leaves and feed, mulch the crown and place a marker – so the ground isn’t accidentally dug up or trodden upon. Mulching keep the crown warm during the cold months of winter.
When the new shoots appear in spring, feed and mulch again to keep the root area cool in the hot dry summer months.

Propagation: is usually  by basal growths taken either just as the plant is emerging or new growths in summer or by seed sown in late winter/ early spring so they are ready to be planted in summer.
Not readily available

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