Salvia gesneriiflora Tequila

This is one of the largest of all salvias and needs plenty of space. This particular form has a blackish calyx to each flower, which really enhances the large glowing red flowers. It flowers from late autumn to spring. It can grow to 4m tall, but if cut back by half in summer as well as pruning almost to the ground after its flowering period, it can be kept a bit lower. But it really isn't a plant for a small area. It mixes with other 'hot' colours of orange and yellow (such as dainty Justicia rizzinii, Lobelia laxiflora or Tagetes lemmonii) to create a vibrant combination, and if purple (such as Tibouchina) is mixed in it makes a really strong picture. It looks good nearby to autumn leaves and also with dark-coloured leaves such as Persicaria 'Red Dragon', which echo the dark calyces. It can also be grown with plants with red flowers of a different shape such as camellias or poinsettia, and its big heart-shaped leaves make a good background feature when it is not in bloom. It can cope with a degree of shade but flowers best in a sunny position. It can be afflicted by white fly at times: spray with white oil or a household fly spray to control these.

Flowers in May, June, July, August, September, October, November.