Salvia semiatrata - 9cm pot
First time offered for sale in NZ is this amazing beauty from the mountains of Mexico, that I've been privileged to have returned to my collection after 20+ years. This species forms an elegant shrubby bush with intriguing and attractive small emerald-green leaves, almost triangular in shape, quite thick and with a slightly pebbly texture. Multiple stems bear a long succession of the most stunning flower spikes - each flower is two-tone purple with a contrasting plum-magenta calyx, the lower lip of the flowers being quite dark purple, almost black, so the colour effect is amazing. The flowers are relatively small but the display goes on for much of the year, especially in warmer gardens where it flowers from spring right through into winter, so its a very showy species to have. It enjoys full sun or light shade and good drainage, is hardy to heat and light frosts. If you're in a colder area then I would try it in a pot for the first year or so, to gauge its hardiness in your particular microclimate. Pruning - cut back by about a third in early spring and tip prune to maintain shape the rest of the year. It is quite slow growing so you can expect it to reach around 70-90cm high and wide after several years. 9cm pot.