747 Salvia greggiiCommon Names: autumn sage Family: Lamiaceae (mint Family)
Autumn sage forms a nice mounding shrub up to 4 ft (1.2 m) tall by 2 ft (0.6 m) wide. Most of the branches originate near the base of the plant, giving a vase-shaped appearance. Many flower colors are available although shades of red, pink and white are the most common. The leaves are leathery and small, adaptations that probably help prevent moisture loss in its dry native climate. Autumn sage is usually evergreen, but a hard freeze may cause it to die to the ground, usually to reemerge in spring.
Autumn sage, Salvia greggii, occurs in southwest Texas through the Chihuahuan desert into Mexico.
CultureToo much fertilizer and moisture will kill autumn sage. Do not plant where regular lawn fertilizations and irrigation will bother it. Light: Full sun to part shade; can take extreme sun and heat. Moisture: Autumn sage is very drought tolerant. It can take prolonged dry periods once established. Autumn sage requires well-drained soil. Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 - 9. Propagation: Cuttings; may self-seed in mild climates
Autumn sage is good as an evergreen medium size shrub. It can be used as a xeriscape plant in hot, dry areas. Great for hummingbird and butterfly gardens as well as mixed perennial beds with plants of similar cultural requirements.
S. greggii is a very useful landscape plant and is especially well adapted to hot, desert-like areas. It has a long period of bloom. This Salvia also provides winter interest, due to its evergreen habit. Regular pruning is suggested, since these plants can get woody and spindly.
S. greggii is quite variable in nature, due to the crossing of many forms. In fact, inter-species hybrids are common with the very similar S. microphylla. Stable populations of these crosses have been found in the wild and have been given the name S. X jamensis.
In recent years many new cultivars of Salvia greggii have been introduced with showy flower colors, including purple and cherry red. One recent selection is Salvia 'Sierra San Antonio'. This plant presumably is a cultivar of S. X jamensis, and has yellow and red bicolored blooms.
Jack Scheper 6/23/00; updated 2/7/04