Gardening
in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Growing Salvia microphylla: Blackcurrent Sage / Littleleaf Sage

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Description
Form: Herb.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen in frost-free regions.
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, with a 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. This plant si killed to the ground by hard freezes.
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, butterfly and hummingbird garden, flavoring in tea. For other culinary mint plants, see Low Water Culinary Herbs.

Comments
This plant is a member of the Mint family (Lamiaceae). Another common name is Baby Sage. This plant easily cross-pollinates with other salvias, especially Salvia greggii, making identification difficult. The two-tone flowers belong to the cultivar 'Hot Lips'. The butterfly is a Gulf Fritillary.



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Latest update: February, 2019.

Salvia microphylla: Blackcurrent Sage / Littleleaf Sage - flowers

Salvia microphylla: Blackcurrent Sage / Littleleaf Sage - with butterfly
A red variety or a cross with S. greggii.

Salvia microphylla: Blackcurrent Sage / Littleleaf Sage