Salvia × sylvestris 'Tänzerin'
We have this all over the garden; but predominantly in the Main Borders where it makes a lovely backdrop to many other plants. It is flowering now and will continue to flower throughout the summer. It is tough and has come through the last three winters unscathed. We cut it back hard in March just before the new growth begins and then do nothing else to it!
It is adored by bees and hoverflies and the public alike. Behind one clump we grow Kniphofia ‘Tawny King’ - the creamy apricot spikes with the lovely mauve purple spikes make a breathtaking display.
- Common name
- Wood sage 'Tänzerin'
- Height & spread
- 50-60cm tall x 40cm wide
- Clump-forming herbaceous perennial
- Well-drained fertile soil
- Full sun
- Hardy throughout the British Isles
Salvia, one of the largest plant genera of about 900 species, is a very diverse genus and includes annual, biennial, herbaceous perennial and shrub species. While two species are native to the British Isles, over 500 species can be found in the Americas with the rest being found throughout both temperate and subtropical regions worldwide. They naturally grow in sunny sites including dry meadows, rocky slopes, scrub, light woodland and moist grassland.
All salvias have aromatic foliage, though it is more noticeable in some species than others. The aromatic oils are produced to help prevent the foliage being eaten by animals and help to prevent desiccation in the hot sun where these plants naturally grow.
As with most Lamiaceae the stems of many salvia species are square in section with the leaves arranged in opposite pairs. The flowers, for which these species are most often grown, are brightly coloured in shades of red, white, blue or yellow.
While many salvia species have become popular in recent years, Salvia officinalis, common sage, has been long cultivated as a medicinal and culinary herb. It was probably introduced to Britain in the early Middle Ages, though some believe it was introduced by the Romans. The name salvia was used by Roman writer Pliny and derived from the Latin 'salvare', meaning to save or heal.
Salvia × sylvestris 'Tänzerin'
Salvia × sylvestris 'Tänzerin' is a hybrid of Salvia nemorosa and Salvia pratensis. It is a clump-forming, compact, erect, branched perennial bearing lance-shaped, scalloped, wrinkled, softly hairy, mid-green leaves. The large flowers are violet with reddish-purple bracts and calyces.
- Under glass grow in well-drained, loamless or loam-based potting compost in full light. Feed with a balanced liquid fertiliser monthly.
- Outdoors, grow in light, moderately fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil, in full sun or partial shade.
- Trim or lightly cut back shoots that spoil the symmetry. Deadhead regularly or cut back after the first flush of flowers to encourage a further set of blooms.
- Slugs and snails will attack young growth.
The RHS Floral Trials Sub-Committee awarded Salvia × sylvestris 'Tänzerin' an Award of Garden Merit and described it as follows:
'A compact, bushy, herbaceous perennial, 90cm tall and 100cm spread. Leaves to 8x4cm, lanceolate, midgreen, margin dentate. Flowering stems mid green with purplish streaks, fairly stout and brittle. Inflorescence 20cm long, a dense spike of whorled flowers. Flower 10x2mm, upper and lower lobes violet. Stigma violet, protruding 5mm from upper lip. Bracts 10x5mm, light purple. Bracts and calyx persistent. Flowering from 10 June.'