in Tucson, Phoenix,
and Southern California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, and Southern California

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Salvia microphylla: Baby Sage / Littleleaf Salvia

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Form: Herb.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen but killed to ground by hard freezes.
Growth rate: Moderate to rapid.
Mature Size: 2-3' high and wide.
Flowers: Similar to S. greggii in shape. Variable color, often red and white, or solid red or white, depending on nighttime temperature when flower buds are developing. Some cultivars are solid red.
Bloom: Fall, heaviest in winter, sporadically throughout spring.
Fruit: Up to four tiny seeds at the base of each dried calyx (cup-like structure that holds the flower and ovary).
Leaves: Green, almost triangular, toothed edges unless a cultivar, edible, said to have fragrance of black currents.
Stems: No thorns, herbaceous.
Wildlife: Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Arizona and Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 9-10.
Heat tolerant: Somewhat.
Drought tolerant: Yes, in part shade.
Sun: One-quarter to three-quarters shade. Avoid full sun and full shade.
Water once established: Once or twice a month in part shade. Weekly in nearly full sun.
Soil: Well drained, pH 6.1-7.8 (slightly acidic to slightly alkaline).
Prune: After last frost, or early winter in frost-free zones.
Litter: Low except for winter cleanup.
Propagation: Seed, layering.
Uses: Ornamental, hummingbird garden, flavoring in tea.

A member of the mint family. Two-tone plant is cultivar 'Hot Lips'. This plant easily cross-pollinates with other salvias, especially Salvia greggii, making identification difficult. The butterfly is a Gulf Fritillary.

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A red variety or a cross with S. greggii.