Salvia semiatrata

This is a beautiful plant, with eye-catching lavender flowers with dark violet markings, set in dusky magenta calyces. It comes from Mexico. It can grow 1-2 m tall (usually only 1m in cultivation) and is quite wide and sprawly, so it needs to be trimmed to shape every so often. If it gets very overgrown and woody, try cutting it back almost to the ground in early winter: this can revamp it. The small leaves are attractively textured and velvety. It flowers best in a sunny position with good drainage, although is said to cope with a little shade. It doesn't like very cold weather so is not really suited to inland gardens. It blooms mainly in autumn, with sometimes a smaller flush in spring. Companion plantings include pink, purple and blue flowers.

Flowers in April, May, June.

 

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