Salvia meilliensis

Salvia meilliensis : is a small clumping herbaceous Asian Salvia15-20cmH with masses of bright yellow flowers in late spring/ summer.

Salvia meilliensis
Salvia meilliensis

Salvia meilliensis is a small winter dormant Asian  clumping Salvia.

Flowers: are an open falcate type, pale to butter yellow in colour, with a straight hood and almost hairless. Most of the flowers are facing upwards with all the anthers and stigma in full access to bees and other insects.

The 2 side lobes are shorter than the middle lobe, but are either curled right back  or act in unison with the middle lobe, making it seem much wider and broader, which would be used by insects as a landing strip. As the anthers and stigma  are out in the open, any visiting insects would easily brush past the anthers and possibly fertilise the stigma in the one visit or on another flower.

As the flower is very open, it certainly wouldn’t be hard for insects to delve further into the flower to access any nectar. The only beeline is a pale green area showing from the tube. This openness of the flower with the male and female parts clearly visible gives the look of being spiky

Flowers are in crowded whorls of 6-8 flowers, held in regular verticillatas along a coloured stem, reaching 10, 15 -20cmlong.
Many stems of flowers are seen in late spring, early summer, making a beautiful display . All flower stems are held way above the foliage to attract any passing insects.

Calyces: are a bright green, with a reddish base, connected  to the flower stem by a short pedicel. Lobes are fairly hairless, ribbed with each lobe slightly curved outward with a rounded tip.
Calyces remain on the stem after the flowers have finished, turning brown and shrivelled if not pollinated.

Leaves: are numerous, forming the basal growth around the crown. Broad bright green  cordate shaped, slightly undulating, veins clearly visible,  with small crenations around the edges. Leaves slightly hairy with small clear hairs and a slightly fissured texture.

Salvia meilliensis comes from the forest floor in a woodland setting or near rocky outcrops.  Although it needs open space to access passing insects, it does well planted en masse under a deciduous tree  or along a garden path.

Needing dappled sun, or dappled shade, it grows well with other similar woodland species, enjoying a lot of compost or rotting autumn leaves, needing to keep moist during the dry summer season, especially if grown in a pot.

Although it can grow in a sunny protected position, it does not like hot dry conditions, thus requiring the coot dappled shade of a deciduous tree, or if grown in a pot, then in a  position out of any  hot dry winds or afternoon sun.

Unfortunately this plant can be short lived, especially as it matures and puts on a magnificent display of flowers, which may expend all it’s energy, which may cause the plant to suddenly decline.

When the flowers have finished, and  autumn is approaching, the leaves are beginning to look tatty, then begin cleaning up the plant, by clearing away any debris, cut off old leaves, mulch the crowns to keep warm in the cold winter months and mark with a small stake so the plants don’t accidentally get dug up or trodden upon.
In late winter/ early spring , before the leaves begin to appear, feed well, mulch well with compost and  watch for snails.

Propagation:I Either take slips of new growth during the spring and summer in the first year of growth or divide the clump carefully, taking slips at the same time. Seed occasionally is available, sown in the warmer months.

Note: Occasionally available

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