Salvia stepposa: a herbaceous perennial, 40-60cm, with a panicle of mauve flowers in spring, continuing until late summer.
Salvia stepposa is a very attractive bicoloured variety for a mixed border.
Flowers: a falcate type flower with a large mauve or purple hood with a pale mauve stigma protruding out from the end of the hood. The white tube then graduates to the 2 side lobes and the middle lobe being white with purple tips. A large white beeline is shown on the middle lobe with mauve markings to guide insects into the corolla.
Flowers appear in spring and continue until late summer on green stems that produce multiple side stems, forming a gorgeous panicle of mauve froth. Flowers are held in a whorl of 4-6 flowers regularly spaced along the flower stem. All stems are held well above the foliage to attract passing insects.
Calyces: are small and green, ribbed with pointed lobes which occasionally having coloured tips. Although some fall off after the flowers have finished, but often the calyces will remain attached to the stem until cut down in late autumn.
Leaves: are a bright green with small petioles, long and wide, a pointed apex, forming a basal rosette with leaves pointing out and upwards rather than lying flat against the ground. Leaves are slightly textured, being able to channel any moisture down the veins towards the roots.
Salvia stepposa provide a lovely mauve/ purple addition to a mixed border or an edging along a pathway. A stunning picture when massed planted at the base of a hedge or larger darker green shrubs.
Plant in a sunny well drained position with other pale pink, crimson, white or purple perennials and small shrubs.
Once established, they prove hardy in the hot summers, but need mulch to keep the root area cool during the dry season.
When the summer season is drawing to a close and the flowers are mainly finished, then collect any seed and cut down the flower stems. Clean up the leaves, clearing away any debris and mulch the crown to keep warm during a cold winter.
As the leaves are appearing in late winter or early spring, feed well, apply compost around the clump and mulch around the leaves and roots to keep them cool during the summer season.
Propagation: either by dividing the clumps or taking slips from side shoots in early summer, when they begin to produce new growth. But most usually sow seed in early spring.
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