Plants in Focus #6
In this edition we will look at another Salvia which is a great long flowering hardy plant.
Salvia eigii is a beautiful herbaceous perennial which is native to Mediterranean woodlands and Shrub lands in Israel. It grows in a clump with leaves in a rosette formation to about 30-50cm high and 60-100cm wide. The flower stalk will grow to about 100cm high and has branching inflorescences.
The flowers grow in whorls on the branching inflorescences which are about 20-30cm long. The flowers have a white lip and the hood is a light mauve colour on mine. Although literature describes it as having a pink lower lip and purple hood and ruby coloured calyx. Flowering time is from winter through to spring. Although mine can still have flowers into mid summer.
Close up of flowers below show their colour. Purple hood may be more apparent when flowers are new. Always remember that soils can play a big part in flower colour as well.
The leaves are a dark green colour and can grow quite large, even up to 30cm long and 20cm wide. They are entire leaves and the margin is dentate or serrate and the arrangement is opposite(two leaves per node).
Salvia eigii is a drought and frost tolerant plant which makes it desirable for many situations. Excellent by its self in mixed planting or planted en mass in groups of 3 or 5 would make it look stunning. Easily grown in full sun or even dappled or light shade. Below you can see how the leaves are arranged opposite each other at each node.
It was named after Alexander Eig 1894-1938 who was a botanist at the Hebrew University in Israel and one of the first plant researchers in that country. Born in Schedrin near Minsk in Belarus and died in Jerusalem from Cancer. He immigrated to Palestine when he was 15. This is an excellent Salvia to provide a splash of colour in those winter months when not much is flowering, and even as we move into the warmer months, it still continues to flower. All that is needed to keep it tidy is to prune the spent flower stems right back to its base. See below the many branched inflorescences.