Salvia Van Houttei

This shrubby salvia is reported to be a cultivar of Salvia splendens and is a very valuable plant, which flowers almost all year in a warm temperate climate. It has relatively large, tubular maroon flowers, held in a dark calyx. The plant grows to about 1m tall and as wide, and tolerates some shade. Sometimes it self-seeds, giving rise to slight variations in colour. It is quite frost sensitive; in colder areas prone to frost it would be best grown with overhead shelter from tall trees. As it flowers almost continuously (seeming to have a rest in mid-summer in my garden), it can be pruned progressively, by removing one woody stem on a regular basis through the year. Alternatively, it can be hard-pruned along with most of the shrubby salvias in late winter: it will quickly regrow. It looks particularly effective with blue flowers, such as Agapanthus cultivars, annual browallia (Browallia americana) and perennial asters; silver or plum foliage also combine well with the hue of its blooms. It can be grown in a large pot. It can get quite woody after a few years - replace with a cutting occasionally.

Recently, I acquired a form of this plant with a scattering of yellow spots on its leaves. It grows quite well in shade and can look effective grown nearby yellow Abutilon or yellow-flowered bromeliads. There is also a variant named 'Alan's Maroon' with more clustered flowers of a more intense and vibrant colour, which is always in bloom.

Flowers in February, March, April, May, June, July, August, October, November, December.

 Out now in my Sydney Garden.

 

See my special booklet ...