Salvia involucrata ‘Romantic Rose’: is a tall shrub 3-4mH with arching branches and brushes of watermelon pink flowers in winter.
Salvia involucrata ‘Romantic Rose’ is a cross between S.involucrata and S.karwinskii.
Flowers: are tubular with a small furry hood , a fat pink tube and small lobes curled underneath. Just at the point of curling down, there is a prominent white beeline, guiding bees and insects further into the flower. Although bees and insects visit , small birds, like our honeyeaters with long thin beaks are the main pollinator of these type of flowers.
The difference between the involucrata spp parent and this hybrid is that the flower head is branched, with 2 small branchlets of flowers appearing at the bottom of the flower head.
Calyces and Involucrote: The calyces are a deeper 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.
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.’Romantic Rose’ has an elongated knob. The small coloured bracts falloff as each whorl of flowers opens.
Leaves: are mid green, a broad cordate shape or an elongated heart shape. These leaves are slightly furry, but smooth beneath.
Plant Salvia involucrata ‘Romantic Rose’ with other tall bushy shrubs in a sunny protected position or dappled shade. As this Salvia is frost tender, being snuggled between other shrubs, these will protect the plant from wind, frost and harsh temperatures.
This is a very large bushy shrub, growing well under tall trees or at the back of groups of smaller shrubs.
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, Leaving any new canes to regenerate the growth of the shrub. Shoots should appear on canes if taken down to 2-3 nodes, but they will NOT shoot from the first node.
As new growth can begin from the base area, often the clump can become too large in width. Dig out any unwanted new growth, keeping the clump neat and tidy.
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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