Salvia 'Pink Icicles'(involucrata )

Salvia involucrata ‘Pink Icicles’

Salvia involucrata ‘Pink Icicles’: is a tall open bushy shrub 2-3mH with angular arching branches  and pale pink brushes of flowers in winter.

Salvia involucrata 'Pink Icicles'
Salvia involucrata ‘Pink Icicles’

Salvia involucrata ‘Pink Icicles’ is a very attractive winter flowering shrub.

Flowers: are tubular, a pale pink colour with a small furry hood and a bottom lobe which is curled back and beneath. There is a small white beeline at the throat to attract bees and insects, but the major pollinators of these long flowers are small honeyeaters with long beaks. Flowering begins in autumn, continuing through winter into spring.

Calyces and Involucrote: The calyces are a lovely cerise pink, ribbed with pointed lobes. The flowers are gathered in whorls of eight  with 4 flowers opening and 4 remaining in bud, so the flowering is staggered which allows the flowering to continue over a long period of time.
As the stems  do not arch as much as the parent, but are more angular, the flowers are clustered  all around the stem.

All involucrata hybrids have an involucrote, some large, some only very small.  An involucrote is a knob of bracts ( the same colour as the corollas) full of more flowers. S. ‘Pink Icicles’ has a large pointed knob. The small coloured bracts falloff as each whorl of flowers opens. In this way the flower head is a lot smaller than the parent extending to only  10-15cm long.

Leaves: are a bright midgreen colour, broad lanceolate to cordate in shape with a long tapered tip. The upper surface is smooth with only the pink midrib showing clearly. Petioles are  long and tinged pink.

Salvia involucrata ‘Pink Icicles’ is a very attractive winter flowering Salvia to have in any garden. The soft pink colour of the flowers lifts and brightens up any gloomy corners of the garden on dull winter days.

This pink Salvia can be used to blend and contrast with most other colours of pink, white, purples and blue shrubs.Plant with other large shrubs either at the back of the bed or within the centre of a large bed with a lawn area.
Being frost tender the growth of the other large shrubs will help to protect it from the ravages of frost during winter.

Mature shrubs will flower freely on long stems reaching for the sky, which the birds will enjoy, hanging off the brush of flowers. Little Eastern Spinebills will be  seen flitting through it’s branches.

Pruning:  When most of the flowers have finished in spring, then is the time to prune these shrubs. DON’T cut down to the ground. The plant may go into shock and die. Rather, cut the stems down to eye or waist  level and wait until new shoots appear. If cuttings are not wanted, then cut out the old canes and any dead or multi branched stems, keeping any new canes. New shoots should appear  if canes are taken down to 2-3 nodes, but they will NOT shoot from the first node.

Propagation: usually by tip cuttings from new growth  in spring and summer, about 10-20cm long that is semi hardened  so it won’t wilt too easily. Cuttings must be made through or just below the node as the stems are hollow and kept in a semi shaded area until rooted.

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