Salvia keerlii

Salvia keerlii

Salvia keerlii: is a small shrub 80-90cmH for a sunny position with aromatic leaves and small blue/ lilac and white flowers  in summer.

Salvia keerlii
Salvia keerlii

Salvia keerlii is a small shrub for a sunny position but protected from wind .

Flowers: are small with a falcate type flower. A white  woolly hood stands erect while the lower lobes being a blue to lilac colour are reflexed down to open the throat area. A white beeline is clearly seen at the throat extending down the middle lobe, to guide the  bees and insects further into the flower.

Flowers are held in whorls of 4-8 flowers in layers so that 2-4 flowers will be open and 4 are yet to open. (A way of extending the flowering time.) These are held in clusters at the top of the flowering stem  which are seen above the foliage to attract passing insects. The main flowers period is in late spring and into summer occasionally   into  autumn.

Calyces:  are woolly with masses of soft hairs, primarily green with some colouring on the exposed sides. Calyces are ribbed but the lobes are blunt. These fall off if the flowers are not pollinated leaving an empty flower stem. If the flowers  are pollinated they become straw coloured  as the small black seeds swell, remaining until cut down in autumn.

Leaves: are nicely aromatic with small heart shaped leaves, grass green in colour often seen with a blue tinge. Rugose above with pale tomentose hairs beneath and small rounded crenulations around the edges. Stems are thin and often woody.

Salvia keerlii is a great small shrub for a hot sunny border. Plant at the front of the garden bed or at the back of a low groundcover. Perfect for a gravel garden or even  a rockery.

Grow with other  small shrubs and perennials that enjoy similar growing conditions in a full sun position. Other pale pink or blue flowered perennials blend well with this small shrub.

At the end of summer when most of the flowers have finished, then it’s time to tidy the plant by cutting off any spent flowering stems, any dead or twiggy branches. Cut down by half or down to a good green bud to encourage good new growth during winter.

Feed and mulch well to keep the root area warm during  the cold months and in spring, feed again and top up mulch to keep the root area cool during the hot dry summer season.

Propagation:  is usually from tip cuttings taken from new growth either in the cooler months or the new spring growth.

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