Salvia dolomitica

Salvia dolomitica

Salvia dolomitica: A small tough, hardy shrubby perennial 1m H with pale pink flowers in spring and summer and grey leaves.

Salvia dolomitica
Salvia dolomitica

Salvia dolomitica comes from Sth Africa, pale pink flowers with aromatic grey leaves.

Flowers: are a pale pink to lilac, falcate type with a large narrow lilac coloured hood with a faint stripe down the middle. This should correspond to the white  and purple markings on the lower lip  to guide the bees and insects into  the flower. The long purple stigma is elongated from the tip of the hood.

The bottom middle lobe is extended with a large split in the middle, so it looks like separate lobes. The other 2 small side lobes are the same colour pale pink. The beeline markings on the lobe act as beacons for bees and other pollinating insects.

Flowers appear in clusters at the top of the flower stem, held above the foliage to attract passing insects.   These appear late spring through summer and into autumn. The profuse flowering  gives a pale pink airy feeling to the bush – a lovely sight.

Calyces: The pale green calyces colour quickly to a darker pink . These are  vase shaped but with distinct lobes, 3 at the top and 2 below. They are opened wide  allowing  the flower to expand to encourage insects to enter the flower.
These remain on the stem long after the flower has finished, colouring up to a lovely burnished colour. These will remain all thorough the summer season until finally dropping off during autumn and winter if not already cut off.

Leaves: are silver grey, thin textured but leathery, slightly wavy, entire edges, lanceolate shaped with a pointed  tip.The underside show the veins clearly. Leaves appear all down the stem to the ground. These have a distinct  medicinal / lemony aroma .

Salvia dolomitica  has a perennial shrubby habit, growing up 1m H and wide, forming a good clump. A lovely grey shrub to use as a contrast  or as a  focal point. Ideal in a grey themed garden. Very bee and insect friendly.

Plant with other small shrubs and perennials that like a full sun position with alkaline soil and good drainage.
Grow with other darker pinks, whites and purples or even yellows, all to add a good contrast in colour.

As the name implies, it comes from an area high in dolomite / calcium.
A tough hardy plant for those hot spots in the garden. A sprinkle of calcium annually will help to keep it healthy or plant in alkaline soil. This tough shrub tolerates the hot dry summers well, cold winters and  frosts.

At the end of summer/ autumn after the flowers have finished, it’s time to tidy the clump. Clear away old leaves, dead or twiggy stems, leaving all new growth to replenish the clump. It’s time to look at how and where the clump is gradually expanding. Dig out any unwanted stems to pot up for new plants.

Propagation: is usually by tip cuttings of new growth. Old growth doesn’t propagate well. Very bee and insect friendly.

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