Phlomis russeliana is a justifiably popular plant due to its long flowering season and tolerance of drought. From late spring, right through to early autumn, whorls of hooded, soft yellow flowers appear at intervals on tall, erect stems with dramatic, heart-shaped leaves.
Each plant can contain as many as fifty individual blooms giving a magnificent candelabra effect. In autumn the bright yellow flowers turn into statuesque seedheads.
Although it looks tender, this Syrian plant is actually bone-hardy to around -15°C (5°F), Also known as Jerusalem sage, the lovely sage-like rosettes are evergreen over winter.
The mid green leaves are evergreen and have different shapes depending on their placement. The basal leaves are ovate and heart shaped at the base but the stem leaves are scalloped and smaller.
Phlomis is an excellent plant for dry partial shade or a dry site in full sun and thrives in poor dry soil. It requires very little maintenance, once the foliage becomes untidy, from late summer onwards, it may be cut back to encourage new growth. If left alone some people enjoy the form of this plant, especially during the snow when it appears as pom-pom balls raised on their stalks.
It is a valuable and easy to grow plant and attracts bees and other nectar loving insects during its flowering period.
The Royal Horticultural Society has given Phlomis russeliana their prestigious Award of Garden Merit.
Sowing: Best sown early winter to early spring.
Seeds should be sown in the cooler parts of the year. They are often spring germinators so best sown when temperatures are around 5°C (41°F) in late January to February.
Sow finely and evenly. Cover thinly with compost, grit, vermiculite or perlite to about 5mm. Keep cool and covered in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. No heat is needed. Make sure the compost is kept moist but not wet
The seeds can germinate irregularly over a long period, they can be as little as 14 to 42 days but often over several months so do not discard seed trays prematurely.
Once seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant to 7cm (3in) pots. Harden off before planting into their final positions. Space plants 30cm (12in) apart.
Resist the temptation to crowd plants too closely; Phlomis needs room to express itself.
To extend flowering and prevent self-sowing, deadhead the spent flowers, this also makes for a tidier-looking plant. However, there are advantages if the old flowers are left alone, the flowerheads have ornamental appeal after the petals have dropped, birds enjoy the seeds in the winter. Divide plants from in September to March
In mid-spring shorten any frost-damaged stems, cutting back to just above a healthy bud. Remove any weak or diseased shoots, cutting cleanly back to the base.
Large clumps should be divided every three years in September to March to remove excess growth.
Informal / cottage garden, Bee & Butterfly garden. Mediterranean Climate or Costal Planting. Cut flower or Dried flower.
Phlomis russeliana is native to Turkey and Syria. It is a genus of about 100 species of evergreen shrubs and herbs that feature usually greyish and fragrant leaves. It is a member of the Lamiaceae, the mint family.
Phlomis is from the Greek word for mullein (Verbascum), due to the similarity of the leaves.
It has the common names of Jerusalem Sage and Turkish sage which refer to the plants origin.
Synonyms: Phlomis samia Boiss, Phlomis viscosa (misapplied).
Pronounced FLOW-miss russ-sel-lee-AY-nah
|Average Seed Count||25 Seeds|
|Seeds per gram||80-90 seeds/gm|
|Common Name||Jerusalem sage|
|Other Common Names||Turkish Sage|
|Hardy||Hardy to around -15°C (5°F),|
|Flowers||Whorls of hooded, soft yellow flowers|
|Natural Flower Time||May to September|
|Spread||60 to 75cm (24 to 30in)|
|Position||Full sun or partial shade|
|Soil||Any fertile, well-drained soil. Tolerates dry conditions|
|Time to Sow||Best sown early winter to early spring at around 5°C (41°F)|
|Germination||Seeds can germinate irregularly over a long period|