Salvia viscosa

Salvia viscosa

Salvia viscosa: a herbaceous perennial, 40-60cmH, with rosette basal leaves and stems of maroon & white flowers in Spring.

Salvia viscosa
Salvia viscosa

Salvia viscosa is a gorgeous small perennial with beautifully marked flowers.

Flowers: are falcate shaped with a maroon hood and the 2 side lobes. The tube is white with maroon stripes, whilst the bottom middle lobe is white with maroon markings. These markings form the beeline, guiding the bee and insects further into the flower. The middle lobe is cupped, to hold a drop of dew and act as a landing place for small insects.

Flowers are held in whorls of 4-6 flowers, well spaced along a square green stem, 40-60 cm H, well above the foliage. Usually 1 or more stems arise centrally from the rosette of leaves in spring well above the foliage  to attract passing insects. These remain until autumn when they are likely to be cut down.

Calyces: are green, ribbed and hairy with pointed lobes. These will   usually drop off when the flower is finished but will remain and turn straw coloured if pollinated.

Leaves: are a dark green, long and wide with wavy lobed edges. Leaves have a  fissured texture to allow any moisture collected to run down the veins towards the roots.

Salvia viscosa is a great small clumping plant that can be planted as an edging to a path or mass planted within a mixed border or as a display planting in front of a hedge or taller shrubs.

Plant in a sunny well drained position. Once established, it is a  drought hardy plant for the summer heat. In some mild areas, the plant doesn’t actually go down for winter and seems  cold and hardy, tolerating a light frost.

At the end of autumn, when the plant seems to be going down for winter, collect any seed and cut off the flowering stems. Mulch well to protect the crown from a cold winter. In late winter, early spring, when the leaves are beginning to show, feed well, dig in compost and mulch again to keep the roots cool for the hot dry summers.

Propagation: usually by dividing a clump or by sowing seed in early spring. If taking cuttings, then take side slips in late spring when they begin to produce new shoots. Easy to grow.

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