Salvia disermas

Salvia disermas

Salvia disermas: A shrubby perennial from the Mediterranean, 60-80cm H,with white flowers in spring/summer and attractive grey leaves.

Salvia disermas
Salvia disermas

Salvia disermas is one of a number of varieties, all tough and hardy, enjoying a sunny position.

Flowers: are white, small and falcate shaped. Flowers appear in spring through summer into autumn. All parts of the corolla are white, with the bottom lobe cupped to act as a landing base for insects, as well as being able to hold a dollop of dew for those insects who visit on hot days.The space between the hood and bottom lobes is large, being wide open to allow bees to penetrate the flower easily. The white stigma is seen curling back, just outside the hood.

Flowers appear in whorls of 4-6 flowers in regular intervals  along a green flower stem, which is  slightly hairy and sticky. Often  flowers can  still  be seen in flower at the top of the stem while the lower flowers have faded, dried and produced seeds. Flowering stems occur well above the foliage to catch passing insects.

Calyces: are green/grey, usually covered with hairs. Often the exposed side becomes coloured slightly. Each lobe is hairy, ribbed with a blunt point at the tip. When the flowers from each whorl has finished , the calyces become straw coloured holding fertilized seeds inside, these will remain until cut off.

Leaves: are grey, slightly furry, fissured to direct any moisture down the stems towards the roots, veins indented, soft sharply angled lobes and nicely aromatic. The undersides are pale and furry. Most of the leaves  appear at the end of the stems, larger leaves lower down, graduating to smaller leaves at the tip around the flower stem.

Salvia disermas is a tough, hardy plant for full sun, tolerating frosts, but needing good drainage. Ideal for hot spots,  windy seaside areas.

Plant with other small grey leave shrubs and perennials. A perfect plant for a white themed garden, a good selection for a gravel garden, especially as it is bee and insect friendly. To set off the white flowers, it looks great with other strong colours of purples, dark blues and crimsons.

As it can get a bit leggy, it is best tip pruned throughout the spring and summer to keep it bushy. But after most of the flowers have finished in autumn, prune down to a good green shoot, to promote new growth in  during winter. Cut off all the old flower stems after seeds have been collected, cut out any dead or twiggy stems and generally clean up.
Feed , check the drainage for the wetter months and mulch well to keep the root area warm  in winter, feed again in spring as the flowers are appearing and top up mulch to keep the root area cool during the hot summer months.

Propagation: tip cuttings are easily taken from new growth taken at any time of year. As copious amounts of seed are produced, these can be sown in late winter/ early spring. ( see seed sowing notes)

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