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Salvia mexicana Byron Flint

Salvia mexicana ‘Byron Flint’: is a medium to tall bushy shrub 1.5-2.5mH with purple flowers and mottled calyces, flowering in autumn and winter.

Salvia mexicana 'Byron Flint'
Salvia mexicana ‘Byron Flint’

Salvia mexicana ‘Byron Flint’: is very similar to S. ‘Bill Whitehead’ but found in different areas.

Flowers: are tubular and a blue purple colour. Although the tube is paler, the hood is straight, covered with purple hairs with a pale stripe down along the top, which corresponds with the beeline on the bottom lobe leading to the throat.

The 2 side lobes can be either tucked in behind the middle lobe or fused with the middle lobe and curled back to open the flower. The middle lobe is wider with 2 white stripes as a beeline, guiding the birds and insects further into the flower.

Flowers are held in whorls of 4 flowers at short intervals on a flower stem of  15-20cm long. All flower heads are held above the foliage to attract passing small Honeyeaters and pollinating insects.

Although short, the main flowering period is in autumn, extending into winter.

Calyces: are a mottled dark brown/purple. Primarily green, the ribs are coloured and are most of the exposed sides. Each lobe is pointed and slightly flared. These will fall off after the flower has finished, leaving a green flower stem.

Leaves: are a bright green, ovate with the typical mexicana veinage, shiny on the top with small crenations around the edges. Most of the stems are well clothed.

Salvia mexicana ‘Byron Flint‘: is a taller, more upright shrub than S. ‘Bill Whitehead’ with a few differences in the flower structure.

As this Salvia is frost tender, it will need protection from frost and harsh winds by planting in among a shrubby border in a sunny protected area or in dappled shade created by tall deciduous trees. Once established this Salvia should be fairly cold hardy and hardy enough for the hot dry summer season, provided it is well mulched.

Plant with other crimson, pale pink coloured shrubs to highlight the purple flowers.

When the main flowering period is finished, trim off all the flower stems, cut out any dead or twiggy stems and trim to shape. Feed and mulch to keep the root area warm during the colder months. In spring, feed again and top up mulch to keep the root area cool during the hot dry months of summer.

Propagation: usually by tip cuttings taken at any time of year, but best  taken from  new growth.

Note: Not readily available.