Plant Focus: Salvia ‘Caradonna’

This is definitely one of my “go to” plants when preparing planting plans as it is so reliable, well behaved, trouble free and long flowering.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ is a stocky deciduous perennial, growing to around 450-500mm high. New shoots and grey green aromatic leaves appear from the base of the plant very early in the year. Upright spikes of dark inky purple flowers appear from May/June through to July/August, followed by smaller flowering spikelets – and it will flower again fully – and well into Autumn – if cut back after the first flush of flowers has finished.

Where to use Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’

It is very undemanding – it is best in full sun, but tolerates light shade, can be grown in any soil, appreciates a mulch in Spring (but this is not essential) and is remarkably drought resistant once established (indeed it prefers a well drained soil). So, it is ideally suited to our ever hotter, drier summers, and looks good in Mediterranean and Cottage planting schemes, particularly during the first half of the Summer.

It is often recommended for underplanting roses, but I like using it in blocks as part of a lower border, where it associates well with the pinks, whites and deep burgundy colours of the shrubby Salvias, ground cover roses, and ball forming Pittosporums.

One of the great all-rounders of the plant world.

Image credits: Averater, Averater, F. D. Richards, Averater.

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