Friday, February 15, 2013
Unusual Perennial Salvia: Purple Rain
This is the florescence of Purple Rain salvia. At first glance, most gardeners would not readily identify it as a salvia. Salvia bring us many nice shades of blue and purple and Purple Rain is aptly named. Unlike many salvias it is not bothered by insects chomping on its leaves. This may be because of the hairy velvety substance of the leaves of this salvia. Like many salvias, its leaves form a basal rosette. The leaves continue up the flowering stalks. The flowering stalks respond very well to dead-heading and it will send up axial branching flowers stalks as well as additional terminal flowering stalks.
It blooms late June through early September. With the flower stalks it can reach up to two feet tall when planted in full sun with adequate moisture. The flower is a series of 1 1/2" pom pom groupings stacked on a stalk held above its grey blue leaves. It can be propagated from tip cuttings, but most easily from division. Hardiness is zone 3 to zone 8.
This unusual salvia is not regularly seen in garden centers, but worth the hunt!