Salvia dombeyi: A tall slender, tender scandent plant from Peru, approx 2-3m H.with very long red tubular flowers in winter for a protected position.
Salvia dombeyi is almost has a climbing habit.
Flowers: The cherry or scarlet red flowers are long and tubular, hanging down approx 10cm. The large thin hood is covered with soft red hairs as is the tube. The lower lobes are smooth and straight with the middle lobe being slightly extended. These appear in a clusters at the end of long thin stems.
Only a few flowers open at a time with others remain in bud, allowing for a long flowering time. These occur in autumn into winter. Flowers can only be pollinated by birds – Eastern Spinebills and other honey eaters with long beaks.
Calyces: are about 4cm long ,crimson/ currant coloured, almost like a tube. Lobes are very pointed, smooth and ribbed.
Leaves: are grass green, thin textured, elongated heart shaped with fine hairs on both sides and small crenations around the margins. Stems are thin, green and hairy, almost scandent.
Salvia dombeyi is notoriously hard to grow, to keep through summer. Coming from high up in the mountains of Peru, it grows in the mists – hating hot and dry summers and hating cold an wet winters!Nor does it like hot humid weather.
Best to find a sunny sheltered semi shaded position where it can climb through a lattice, or a small tree with plenty of air.
It is prone to spider mite and white fly if too dry or hot.
It doesn’t readily produce new shoots if pruned. It does need regular feeding to keep healthy.
Propagation: usually by tip cuttings when there are 2 or more stems.