Salvia oxyphora

Recently asked what is your favourite Salvia I found myself stumped. There are just so many different species and they are very few that I don’t appreciate in one way or another.

Saying that in the top 10 this year has to be Salvia oxyphora. Its the first time I have grown it, its not nearly as tall as the plant I was allowed to take cuttings from which was easily 1.8 – 2 metres tall, however it is flowering and its gorgeous. What a show-off it is, big bright pink corolla (around 3-4cm long) that are covered in hairs, appear from terminal racemes that can reach up to 20cm.

It has large, lanceolate leaves that are glossy. They can be up to 20cm long and 7cm wide. They have distinct venation and and despite their smooth appearance they are covered in tiny white hairs.

Also referred to as the Bolivian Spearhead Sage, the word oxyphora being broken down to ‘oxy’ bearing, ‘phora’ sword. It is endemic to Bolvia, found in the foothills and low slopes of the Andes.

In the UK it is probably considered half-hardy and requires protection. I will take more cuttings to ensure I have plants for next year, but I think here on Hayling where I have good, free draining soil, very few hard frosts and temperatures rarely getting below -2 it will over winter, and reappear next year. Assuming it does so it will be interesting to see how well the plant in the garden does vs those that have been taken as cuttings and grown on in a frost free green house over the winter.

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