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Phlomis - Growing Guide
Phlomis are sage like herbaceous perennials or evergreen shrubs and subshrubs. They are grown for their leaves/foliage and for their dead nettle like, hooded, flowers borne in upright whorls on tall erect stems. The foliage is typically light to grey-green and hairy.
They are all reasonably hardy border shrubs but, as they originate in the wild in Mediterranean countries, these shrubs do need shelter and protection from cold winds. In very cold winters there may be some dieback to prune out of the older more mature plants.
Shrubby forms benefit from a light annual pruning to stop the plants getting ‘leggy’ and because they flower best form new growth shoots. All shrubby forms are easily propagated from softwood cuttings. Herbaceous perennial forms are best dug and divided in early spring.
1. Evergreen shrubs
P. fruiticosa, the Jerusalem sage, grows to around 3ft in height as a mound forming evergreen shrub. Its upright shoots and wrinkled grey-green leaves are sage like and very woolly underneath. In early and mid-summer it has whorls of golden yellow flowers.
P. italica is also an upright evergreen shrub with lance shaped grey woolly leaves. It also grows to around 3ft but does not spread as much. The flowers appear in midsummer and are lilac-pink.
P. purpurea ‘Alba’ is a smaller evergreen shrub growing to only about 2ft with a similar spread. The leaves are leathery and grey green with hairs and ‘wool’ underneath. The flowers in summer are pure white.
2. Herbaceous forms
P. russeliana is an erect hairy perennial that dies down after each season. It has hooded, pale yellow flowers in ascending whorls on long stalks from late spring to early autumn and makes an impressive display. This species grows to around 3ft with a near similar spread.
P. tuberosa grows to a similar size with violet whorls of flowers.