Phlomis is a summer-flowering shrub or perennial from the Mediterranean. Also known as Jerusalem sage, the leaves are very similar to the herb, but have no scent and aren’t edible. There are different variations, all with distinctive hooded flowers that appear in whorls around the stems. Most are yellow, but some flower in pink or mauve. They thrive in sunshine and well-drained soil and are perfect for coastal gardens and dry borders. The dried seedheads work well in the winter border, making the perfect winter silhouettes.
Browse our practical guide to growing phlomis, below.
Where to plant Phlomis
Grow phlomis in moist but well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.
How to plant Jerusalem sage
Being Mediterranean, drought-tolerant plants, phlomis will not tolerate winter wet. Therefore, add plenty of grit to the planting hole to improve drainage.
Propagating Jerusalem sage
Perennial phlomis can be propagated by division in spring, while cuttings can be taken from shrubby phlomis. You can also save seed of some species, in autumn.
Here, Alan Titchmarsh explains how to save seeds from phlomis and other plants:
Phomis: problem solving
Phlomis are generally disease-free and not very attractive to pests, other than leafhoppers that will suck sap from the leaves. However, these are unlikely to do the plant harm.
Care and maintenance
Phlomis can be a little untidy in their shape, so cut plants back in spring to contain them.
Phlomis varieties to try
- Phlomis longifolium – native to the hills of Turkey and Lebanon, this is a neat evergreen shrub with olive-green leaves and yellow flowers on vertical stems
- Phlomis fruticosa – Jerusalem sage is an attractive Mediterranean perennial shrub. Small, spreading and evergreen, the grey-green foliage and bright yellow flowers on tall stems are very attractive. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it the Award of Garden Merit (AGM)
- Phlomis russelliana – Turkish sage is a herbaceous perennial variety. It has large, grey-green heart-shaped foliage, which dies back in winter
- Phlomis tuberosa ‘Amazone’ – with upright purple stems that carry whorls of lavender-coloured flowers and heart-shaped sage-coloured leaves, this is a very attractive variety
- Phlomis italica – the stems and foliage are much paler and hairier than other species, with very small violet flowers