Salvia ‘Yamagata’ (koyamae): is a small herbaceous perennial 20-30cmH with yellow green leaves and pale lemon flowers in spring and autumn.
Salvia ‘Yamagata’ is only a small bushy plant with very pale lemon flowers
Flowers: are very pale yellow, a falcate type flower with a straight hood and distinctly ribbed showing each lobe fused together. A purple stigma clearly protrudes from the center of the two lobes.
The bottom lobes are fanned out and slightly reflexed to open the throat area allowing bees and insect clear access to go further into the flower and brushing against the anthers, full of pollen.
The 2 side lobes are fanned out and quite wide with the middle lobe nestled between. These lobes act as a landing place for bees and insects.
Flowers are in whorls of 4-6 flowers with 2-3 being either side of the green slightly hairy square flower stems. These are clustered along the flower stem, reaching almost 12 cm long, all held above the foliage to attract passing insects.
Most plants will produce one or two flower stems in late spring with the first flush of flowers but can also flower again in autumn, just before the plant is about to go down for winter.
Calyces: are green, clearly ribbed and almost waxy with pointed lobes. A small thin bract still remains beneath the whorl of flowers until all flowers are finished. Calyces remain green even when the flowers have finished, remaining on the stem until cut down for winter.
Leaves: are a broad cordate shape, grass green, but often becoming a yellow green colour with sawthooth crenations around the edges. Leaves appear in pairs cushioning the flower stems, almost as a frill at the bottom.
Salvia ‘Yamagata’ is small enough to either keep in a pot to be moved around or planted at the front of the bed where it won’t be lost.
If kept in a pot, then this can be placed in a sunny protected position or at least dappled sun/ shade on a patio or verandah or under a tree.
This is where this small Salvia can be planted en masse bed to have a wonderful effect around the trunk of a lightly branched deciduous tree.
As ‘Yamagata’ is a woodland plant, it should be paired with other small shrubs and perennials that enjoy similar growing conditions at the foot of deciduous trees in dappled shade with sun filtering through.
In autumn, just before the plant is ready to go down, it usually sends up a few flower stems to brighten up the patch of leaves. when they have finished, cut off these flower stems, tidy the plant and prepare the area for winter.
Mark each plant well or at least the area if grown en masse so they are not accidentally dug up or trodden upon. Mulch well with either a good layer of leaf mulch or sugar cane to keep the crown warm during the cold winter months.
In spring, when the new shoots are appearing, feed and watch for slugs and snails, top up mulch to keep the root area cool during the hot dry summer season. This can also be done if growing in a pot. Provide a thin layer of gravel which helps prevent snails and slugs from eating new shoots.
Propagation: usually from tip cuttings from new shoots appearing in spring and summer.
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