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Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Salvia greggii: Autumn Sage

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Form: Soft mounding shrub.
Leaf retention: Evergreen to cold deciduous. Loses leaves below 20°F.
Growth rate: Moderate to rapid depending on temperature.
Mature Size: 1-3' high and nearly as wide.
Flowers: Red, 1" high wide and long, distinct hump on top of upper lip, flared two-lobed lower lip at right angle, fragrant, edible. Cultivars available in many colors.
Bloom: All year in regions without freezes. A repeat bloomer.
Fruit: Up to four tiny seeds at the base of each dried calyx (cup-like structure that holds the flower and ovary).
Leaves: Oval, green, smooth edges, aromatic, edible.
Stems: Herbaceous from a woody base, growing woody with age. No thorns.
Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Texas and Northern Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 7-11.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Part shade much of day, especially afternoon shade. Slower to establish in full sun. Avoid reflected sun.
Water once established: Once or twice a month. In full sun, weekly water is recommended in hottest part of year for best appearance.
Soil: Well drained, organic content medium to low, pH 6.1-7.8 (slightly acidic to slightly alkaline).
Mulch: Only just before freezing temperatures are predicted. Remove mulch after last freeze of winter so soil will dry quickly.
Prune: In mid winter, prune lightly to shape, or severely to rejuvenate. Prune every four months, by as much as one-half, to avoid rangy appearance.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed, cuttings, or layering.
Uses: Ornamental, wildlife attractor, culinary. Leaves, tasting either like mint or a cross between mint and sage, depending on cultivar and soil moisture, can be used fresh or dried for seasonings and teas. Flowers, used to add color to salads, taste like lettuce.

A member of the mint family. Many cultivars available, including crosses with Salvia microphylla. The butterfly could either be a Cloudless or a Clouded Sulphur.

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Salvia greggii: Autumn Sage - flowers

Salvia greggii: Autumn Sage - with butterfly

Salvia greggii: Autumn Sage - with hummingbird

Salvia greggii: Autumn Sage