This perennial dies back to below ground level each year in autumn, then fresh new growth appears again in spring. Position: full sun; Soil: moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil; Rate of growth: average; Flowering period: June to August; Hardiness: frost hardy (may need winter protection) Velvet-like plum-purple petals form hooded flowers over a long period in summer and autumn. Fully hardy in freely draining soils, this bushy shrub will become drought tolerant once established; Garden care: To prolong flowering remove the flower spikes as soon they start to fade. Apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant in spring. Protect from excessive cold and waterlogged soils.