Salvia hirtella

Salvia hirtella

Salvia hirtella : is an evergreen  perennial 30-60cm H, with a sprawling ground habit showing  vermilion red flowers in summer.

Salvia hirtella
Salvia hirtella

Salvia hirtella can be a groundcover for a sunny area.

Flowers : are tubular, a red vermilion colour, grouped in verticils,  along the upright flowering stem, which can reach 20 -30cmlong. The hood looks long and narrow  due to  the stamens  and stigma being well exserted. The bottom lobes  looks smaller, but is curled back to allow small birds  and insects to penetrate  more easily inside the corolla.

Calyces: are green, ribbed and very hairy often with sticky glands at the end to catch moisture and to stick to passing insects. These hairs  are often coloured purple or red giving the whole flower a different colour dimension.

Leaves: are small lanceolate in shape and a nice midgreen colour. The surfaces are smooth and shiny, the midrib shows prominently and has  small rounded crenations around the edges.

Salvia hirtella is a very interesting plant. Although the stems can grow to 30cm long, they often fall down and root where they touch, so most of the time this Salvia grows as a groundcover.

Flowering late spring, through the summer into autumn, the fascinating vermilion colour of the flowers makes a great show as the flower stems always stand upright well above the foliage to catch passing insects.

As a ground cover it can form a good dense patch if regularly tip pruned and not competing with other plants. It can also be planted behind other small plants to climb up or through that plant so the flowers are seen and not the bare stems.

S. hirtella should be grown in a sunny protected area, to remain dense. Whilst not liking the hot dry summers, it can tolerate cold winters and light frosts, but need protection from surrounding shrubs or buildings.

After most of the flowering has finished, cut back any dead or untidy stems, feed and mulch well for protection  during the hot dry summers.

Propagation: is usually by tip cutting taken in spring from new growth

Not always available


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