This is a big salvia, up to 3 or 4m. It has flowers like velvet magenta feathers. It has a rather rangy shape with long stems going everywhere, so it's best grown through another shrub (or against a post) for support and to hide its lack of shape. It looks good with purple or silver-leaved plants, blue or pink flowers or the magenta flowers of Ruellia macrantha (Christmas pride) or the magenta and blue spikes of bromeliad Aechmea gamosepala. It flowers from autumn to early winter. It can cope with a little shade though is most floriferous in a sunny spot. Cut it back very hard in late winter and again in early summer, to try to control its size. It can self-seed to some extent, in my experience.
Postscript: I eventually took this out because of its tall, ungainly stems, which fell on top of other plants. I still enjoy seeing it in the gardens of my friends who have more space.
Flowers in April, May, June.
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