Salvia dolicantha: a herbaceous perennial 20-30cm from China with pale lilac flowers in spring.
Salvia dolicantha grows best in a woodland type garden.
Flowers: are large stocky purple flowers, falcate shaped and covered in fine hairs. The hood is small, purple/ mauve, sometimes almost magenta, also covered with fine hairs.
The the lower lobes are also small, being a mauve/ purple colour. This can be either reflexed down or stay up to act as a landing place for an insect. Fine marbled markings on the middle lobe act as a beeline to attract insects to crawl further inside the flower. The 2 side lobes are reflexed back to really open up the throat for an insect.
As the insect crawls into the flower tube it brushes against the 2 anthers and stigma hanging down, positioned purposely to knock against the insect.
Flowers are seen in spring and early summer.
Calyces: are small, stumpy/ blunt, slightly purple coloured with sticky glandular hairs. Appearing in whorls of 4-6 flowers around a few long branching hairy stems, but often seen in pairs in late spring, early summer. Calyces will drop off if not pollinated.
Leaves: are large and green, long, oval and thick textured with small crenations along the margins on long pedicels/ stems. The leaves are covered with lots of fine hairs on top, giving them a soft feel and white tomentose hairs beneath.
As Salvia dolicantha is an herbaceous perennial, the first leaves begins to appear in late winter early spring, soon developing those long large leaves to form a rosette base before one or two flower stems appear.
Plant this Salvia either out into the garden in sheltered semi shaded areas in a woodland setting or grow it in a large pot under a deciduous tree – (so you know where it is, you can control any snails/ slugs and you don’t accidentally dig it up when in it’s dormant state.)
Propagation: is by seed or offshoots taken in spring/ summer, after all the leaves have formed and new shoots are beginning to appear. Very Bee friendly
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