Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Phlomis Fruticosa

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch


Phlomis fruticosa Flower Buds (05/05/2012, Kew, London)

Phlomis fruticosa Flower Buds (05/05/2012, Kew, London)

Position: Full sun to dappled shade

Flowering period: Late spring to summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1.5m

Eventual Spread: 1.5m

Hardiness: 7a – 11

Family:  Lamiaceae

Phlomis fruticosa is a small evergreen perennial sub-shrub. Its gray green leaves are ovate , up to 10cm long, aromatic and the undersides are covered with fine hairs. Its yellow flowers are up to 3cm long, hooded and appear in whorls in the upper leaf axils in clusters of up to 20. Its fruit is a four to three sided nutlet, topped with hair and is sometimes glabrous. Its root system can be very extensive.

Phlomis fruticosa, commonly known as Jerusalem Sage, is native to south east Europe and parts of Turkey.

The etymological root of the binomial name Phlomis is from the Greek word for mullein (Verbascum), due to the similarity of the leaves. Fruiticosa is derived from the Latin frutex ‘shrub’.

Phlomis fruticosa (05/05/2012, Kew, London)

Phlomis fruticosa (05/05/2012, Kew, London)

The landscape architect may find Phlomis fruticosa useful as a low maintenance medium height shrub, particularly suited to dryer conditions. Once established this plant is drought tolerant. It is unappealing to deer or rabbits.

Ecologically, P. fruticosa is attractive to bees and other nectar loving insects during its flowering period. The larvae of some Lepidoptera also find its foliage appealing.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given P. fruticosa their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

P. fruticosa prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Phlomis fruticosa requires little maintenance.

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