Salvia flava var megalantha

Salvia flava var megalantha

Salvia flava var megalantha:  Syn bulleyana: A small herbaceous clumping plant 20-30cmH. originating from high in the Chinese Alps with yellow and brown flowers in spring & summer.
Salvia flava var mega
Salvia flava var mega

Salvia flava var megalantha was originally known as Salvia bulleyana.

Flowers: are a tubular falcate type. with a straight, short thick hood. The curved stigmas appear at the tip ( similar to a snake, ready to strike).
The whole flower is a beautiful butter yellow except the bottom middle lobe. Even the 2 side lobes are yellow, being fanned back to open the throat area. The middle lobe is a magnificent purplish brown colour with a slight split to increase it’s width.
This bottom lobe acts as the beeline, to attract passing insects, leading them straight into the throat.

Flowers appear in late spring and summer on sticky hairy stems 20-30cm numerous whorls of 2-6 flowers. Most flowers hang down, so the bee has to crawl up into the flower to get to the throat and down to the nectar.

Although the flowers appear on opposite sides of the stem, both often  appear facing the same direction – possibly so they both get pollinated one after the other.

Calyces :are a bright  green colour with clear hairs along the pronounced ribs. The tips of these fat calyces are often curled and coloured red. These drop off if not pollinated, but become fat with large dark round seed, but rarely sets seed as it is dependent  on  the correct pollinator to appearing at the right time.

Leaves: are small, rounded midgreen heart shaped leaves, with long clear hairs on both sides and small rounded crenations along the margins, all on  long petioles, forming a neat basal clump.

Salvia flava var megalantha  is a small clumping perennial, making it ideal to be grown in a pot or for a rockery situation . In either position, this plant should have a good potting soil mix that is well drained to prevent any rotting during the winter months.
Being in a pot , the snail can be monitored  when the leaves begin to appear and it’s not accidentally dug up while dormant.

As it dies down during the winter months, it needs to grow in a sunny protected position to be able to grow a good clump of leaves, produce good flowers, attract pollinating insects and  possibly set seed in what would normally be a short season of opportunity for this small plant .

In autumn when the flowering has finished and is beginning to die down, clear away old leaves and tidy the plant. It’s a good idea to place a layer of very fine gravel or shavings over the soil to deter snails and slugs from exploring the top.

In late winter, before the leaves begin to appear, check the drainage of the pot, feed and mulch the crown to keep the roots and crown  cool during the hot summer  months.

Propagation: If the clump is big enough, then take cuttings of small side shoots or sow any seed in early spring when the temps are beginning to warm up. Don’t sow in the hot months of summer.

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