surinenglish

Phlomis russeliana

Phlomis russeliana and seed head.
Phlomis russeliana and seed head. / Wikipedia
  • A stunning herbaceous perennial, Phlomis russeliana is adds an architectural element to the border

Commonly called Jerusalem or Turkish Sage, Phlomis russeliana is a Mediterranean species and a member of the Lamiaceae family (mint).

Phlom seed head.

Phlom seed head. / Wikipedia.

In its native Turkey and Syria, it can be found growing in open woodland and clearings where it forms large clumps 90cm tall by approximately 60cm wide.

The specific epithet russeliana is in honour of John Russell (1766-1839), the sixth Duke of Bedford (England), who was a keen botanist.

The rigid stems have downward pointing, arrow-shaped soft green leaves and whorls of tiny, lemon-yellow hooded flowers. The long flowering season extends from late spring until the end of the summer although the main flowering period is in the summer. The evergreen leaves are slightly hairy and aromatic when crushed. The plant retains its interest even after flowering with ornamental rounded seed heads which provide food for the birds in winter.

Reader's photo: "In 2015 we bought a property whose garden had never been planted in. After many garden centre trips and much work we've ended up with a lovely tropical paradise!"

Reader's photo: "In 2015 we bought a property whose garden had never been planted in. After many garden centre trips and much work we've ended up with a lovely tropical paradise!" / Ruth and Derek Philips

Phlomis russeliana needs well-drained soil and full sun although it will tolerate some shade. It is drought resistant once established but will flourish better if watered regularly during the driest months of the year. Although fast growing and apt to spread it is not classed as invasive and is an ideal plant to make a statement in a border, cottage garden planting scheme or in a container. Its spreading habit helps to provide ground cover and suppress weeds and the cut flowers can be used in flower arrangements or dried.

Propagate by seed or from cuttings which can be taken in mid spring when it is also a good time to prune back any damaged branches to above a healthy bud and cut out any dead or diseased stems.