Salvia ‘Desley’: A medium tender shrub 1-1.2m H with purple plum coloured flowers in spring through winter. Enjoys a dappled shade position.
Salvia ‘Desley‘ is a perennial cross of S.splendens.
Flowers: are a gorgeous purple plum coloured tubular flower with a darker purple calyx ( showing the S.splendens parent influence).
The hood is extended with the bottom lobes turned down and fluted out to open the throat to allow small birds with long beaks to penetrate the flower. This also allows bees better access into the inside of the flower.
Flowers are held in small whorls of 2-4 flowers,facing downwards appearing regularly along a dark flower stem.
These appear in clusters at the end of the leafy stems in spring and again in autumn going into winter. Flowers are held above the foliage to attract passing birds and insects. Very attractive to small honeyeater birds.
Calyces: are a darker plum purple colour. When closed, the calyx is flattened showing the fused lobes. Each pointed lobe is slightly ribbed, falling off soon after the flowering has finished.
Being such a dark colour, they are often dried and used in various crafts as the colour remains long after the flower has finished.
Leaves: are dark green, a broad cordate shape with a distinctive vein pattern showing a S.splendens parentage. A thin smooth texture with small acute crenations along the margins. Most stems are well clothed, with large leaves on new shoots.
Salvia ‘Desley’ can flower during the colder months to make a great show of flowers, but needs protection from Frost – under trees, by warm brick walls or among other hardy shrubs or in a pot that can be moved.
Grows easily, but hates hot dry positions, does well in a sunny sheltered position or a semi shaded spot. It does need regular tip pruning to prevent the shrub from becoming spindly and woody. Don’t prune too hard, just gradually take down the stems when new growth appears.
Propagation: Easily propagated from tip cuttings from new growth.