Salvia nipponica trisecta: is a small herbaceous perennial 10cmH with small trilobed leaves and pale lemon coloured flowers in autumn.
Salvia nipponica trisecta is one of the smallest varieties of the nipponica group.
Flowers: are a falcate type with a large straight bulbous hood which opens slightly to allow the pale yellow stigma to protrude downwards. This brushes against the pollinating insect when it’s trying to enter the corolla.
All lobes are the same pale yellow colour, the 2 side lobes are folded back to open up the throat area, making it easier for bees and other pollinating insects to enter. The middle lobe is longer, fairly straight, with a slight frill at the end to act as a landing place for insects. Although there are no markings around the throat area, the throat opening is wide with all the flower parts in full view to help in passing the pollen on to the back of the insect.
Flowering occurs in autumn, just before the plant is ready to “go down” for the winter. Flowers are held in whorls of 4 flowers on a small green flower stem, held above the foliage to attract passing insects.
Calyces: are green, slightly sticky with clear hairs. Ribs are well pronounced with pointed tips. These will remain on the stem after the flower is finished. These will fall with the rest of the plant when becoming dormant.
Leaves: are small, mid green, trilobed in shape with a few other small lobes, but all have elongated pointed tips. All stems are well clothed, making a neat clump of a plant.
Salvia nipponica trisecta is a gorgeous small plant to show off in a pot. Being small and neat, it makes a tidy mass of leaves in a pot.
If growing this small plant in the ground, it would be worthwhile to grow it en masse under a deciduous tree so it doesn’t get lost. It’s small stature making a perfect carpet like groundcover beneath a tree. This small plant is ideal as an edging plant along a pathway.
When dormant, winter flowering bulbs could be grown to take it’s place, but markers should be placed around the crowns so they are not accidentally dug up or trodden upon.
As this small plant comes from Japan, it would normally come from a woodland setting with dappled sun, a semi shaded position under deciduous trees., a position that would normally have sufficient leaf mould to keep the soil moist during summer.
When the flowers have finishes and the plant is “going down” for winter, cut off any flower stems, clear away old leaves and mulch the crown to keep warm during the cold winter months. Don’t for get to mark the crowns.
In late winter, early spring, before the leaves appear, feed well, mulch with rotted leaf mould to keep the root area cool during the hot dry months of summer. They do appreciate some summer watering during the driest months to keep them looking good.
Propagation: is easy with tip cuttings taken during the summer when the stems have elongated enough to take cuttings. Most cuttings root fairly easily.
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