Salvia gravida

This species flowers in winter. It has wonderfully scented large hairy leaves and when laden with its trusses of cerise flowers, these hang like bunches of grapes. It grows to about 2 or 3 m, being another of the large winter-flowering shrubby salvias. It will grow in part-shade. It needs support from cradle stakes as its brittle stems are vulnerable to damage from winter wind and rain. Another option is to grow it nearby a shrub or small tree that it can lean into. It needs to be pruned hard in late winter and cut back again in late spring in an attempt to rein in its height. A good underplanting can be the quirky bromeliad Aechmea gamosepala, in bloom at the same time with matching-coloured flower spikes.

Postscript: I eventually removed this plant from my garden. I just couldn't find a spot where its gangly stems could be disguised, and it also was extremely floppy. I still miss its sumptuous winter flowers ...

Flowers in May, June, July, August.

 

See my special booklet ...