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Salvia involucrata

Salvia involucrata
rosebud salvia
Salvia involucrata
Leaf color in November

Common name rosebud salvia
Family lamiaceae
Life cycle perennial (Z8-10)
Flowers magenta (summer-fall)
Size 4-6'
Light sun
Cultural notes ordinary garden soil, not too dry

Shrubby salvia whose rounded buds open to fuzzy popping magenta tubular flowers, over a long season of bloom. The leaves are shaped like elongated hearts, and are generally lime green although they get a nice reddish tint in late fall. Grows quite tall and large around, although it can be kept more compact by cutting back in mid-spring, as well as cutting down to a foot from the ground in winter. That may also help with reducing damage from high winds – the stems are brittle and prone to breaking off at soil level when whipped around. Reports of hardiness vary from zone 7 to zone 9, but I'm fairly confident it will do OK in our zone 8b garden after it survived the bad freeze of January 2018.
One thing this salvia can't tolerate is drought – it was always among the first plants to wilt when hot dry weather arrived, and needed frequent supplemental water. When I decided in the heat of summer 2019 to not water the borders and see what would survive, this one was among the first to depart. It will be replaced with a perennial that's better suited for the extremes of Houston's summer.

rosebud salvia
Salvia involucrata
New growth from base after winter die-back
rosebud salvia
No dieback in the following mild winter – still blooming in early March
Salvia involucrata
The remnants of my drought-felled plant

This plant used to grow in our garden, but it slipped away...

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