Salvia involucrata ‘Kingsholme Cherry‘ : is a tall erect bushy shrub to 4mH with bright pink brushes of flowers in winter and spring.
Salvia ‘Kingsholme Cherry’ originated in Qld, in a garden setting. It is very similar to ‘Pink Gruyere’, found in a garden here in Melbourne.
Flowers: are long, thin tubular shaped with a small white hood with pink hairs and small bottom lobes curled back beneath the tube. The whole corolla is a bright cerise colour except a white hood and the white beeline marking at the throat.
It is the white hood that acts to attract insects and small birds to the flowers, especially if grown in a shady position and the white beeline to guide the bird and insect into the flower.
Like most of the other tall involucrata varieties, flowering is in early winter, continuing till spring.
Calyces: are green, ribbed and very pointed lobes. Flowers are held in whorls of 8 flowers, 4 being open and 4 to open later. All held in clusters at the end of a long green flowering stem.
All involucrata hybrids have an involucrote, some large, some only very small. An involucrote is a knob of bracts ( usually the same colour as the corollas) full of more flowers. Salvia ‘Kingsholme Cherry’ has a very small green rounded knob. The small bracts fall off as each whorl of flowers opens.
Leaves: are large elongated cordate shaped with a tapering tip. A midgreen colour, smooth surfaces with very fine crenations around the edges. The pale green petiole and midrib are clearly seen.
S. ‘Kingsholme Cherry’ is a tall shrub that is best placed at the back of the border or in the middle of a large garden bed. As it is frost tender, it will need to be protected from harsh winds during summer and frost damage in the winter months.
Plant with other tall pink. crimson, blue or purple flowering shrubs that will give protection. As this Salvia is bushy, small birds are often seen flitting through the branches.
Pruning: After the main flowering period is over in late spring, it is best to prune ans shape the plant. Cut back any straggly stems and cut the main branches down by half. This will encourage new growth at the base and shoots from the prune. When the new growth is mature enough, then cut out the big old canes, leaving the new young canes to reinvigorate the shrub.
Propagation: usually by tip cuttings taken in early summer from new growth, but can be taken at most times of the year.
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