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Salvia elegans Purple

Salvia elegans ‘Purple’: A tall bushy plant to 3m H with arching stems of masses of narrow tubular cerise flowers, in late winter/ spring for a sunny protected position.

Salvia elegans 'Purple'
Salvia elegans ‘Purple’

Salvia elegans ‘Purple’: is suspected to be a form of Salvia iodantha. It is associated with S.elegans because of the long narrow flowers.

Flowers: are  pink/purple ,a thin tubular style flower in whorls of4-6 flowers, regularly spaced along very long  the square flowering stems. A small hood with the stamens exerted and the bottom lobes curled under. Flowers appear in late winter, early spring when the warm weather begins, much later than S.iodantha.

Often some flowers will be out while some are still in bud. Flower stems are held high above the foliage to catch passing birds and insects. Very attractive to birds with long small beaks that can probe into the tube. Bees and other insects try to crawl into the tube.

Calyces: A small green calyx  that can colour on the exposed side, ribbed with each small lobe slightly pointed. The stem remains after the flowers have fallen.

Leaves: are elliptical/lanceolate, dark green that can bronze up on exposed sides, a thin texture with pointed crenations along the margins.

S.elegans ‘Purple’: is an interesting plant as it is often confused with S. iodantha when in flower and is no relation to ‘Pineapple Sage’. We think it was named as such because of the long narrow tubular flowers, similar to S.elegans.

It is best grown in a sunny / semi shaded sheltered position as it is frost tender. The branches can be angular or arching so best plant at the back of the bed. A beautiful sight when in flower with the clusters of flowers appearing along the stems. Very attractive.

Plant with other tall spring flowering shrubs.

In summer when the flowering has finished, prune back to new shoots. Often big old canes need removing from the base, allowing new young growth to take their place. Clean out any old dead or twiggy growth.

When pruned, feed, and mulch well to keep the roots cool during the hot summer months, feed again in autumn before the buds appear.

Propagation: is usually by taking  new tip shoots when the flowering is almost complete or at any time of the year.