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Scientific: Salvia greggii
Common: Autumn sage, red Chihuahuan sage, Greggs sage, cherry sage, Texas red sage, tropical sage (common names of Salvia species are often used interchangeably)
Family: Lamiaceae, the mint family
Origin: South central Texas south into the Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico.

Pronounciation: SAL-vee-a GREG-gee-i

Hardiness zones
All zones depending on use
USDA All zones as annual, 7-11 as perennial

Landscape Use: For mixed perennial and annual flower borders (shown with S. leucantha in the background) in "xeric" gardens, sometimes individually and sometimes in mass plantings, landscape planters and small borders spaces, rock gardens, container plantings.

Form & Character: Sprawling, free-spirited, wirey, rangey, sometimes delicate.

Growth Habit: Autumn sage is a moderately growing, mounding and sprawling, evergreen, short-lived perennial subshrub to 3 feet in height with an equal spread. Young stems are angular and lush green, old stems become partially woody.

Foliage/Texture: Leaves opposite, dull glaucous green, somewhat leatherly, elliptical to 1-inch long, pubescent, small, fine texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Tubular flowers are clustered situated on short, terminal spikes. There are many flower colors (cultivar specific) ranging from white to scarlet red; fruit are an inconspicuous paper capsule that are might reseed in some moist urban garden settings.

Seasonal Color: A free-flowering border plant throughout the growing season, mostly during late summer, autumn and spring in Phoenix. Multiple flower colors are available from white, yellow, pink, and red.

Temperature: Hardy to 15oF. Also suffers heat stress when daily high temperatures regularly exceed 110oF.

Light: Full sun to partial shade, avoid highly reflective or hot microclimates in Phoenix. Performs poorly in the shade.

Soil: As with other salvias, a well-drained soil is best. Unlike other salvia species, a highly organic soil is not necessary.

Watering: Infrequent irrigations especially during the summer helps autumn sage maintain a healthy, lustrous appearance.

Pruning: Occassional (not frequent) light shearing will help keep this plant more dense and full as it otherwise tends to sprawl and get spindly in appearance.

Propagation: Seed, vegetative stem cuttings

Disease and Pests: Nematodes

Additional comments: Autumn sage is a very serviceable border plant for "dry" gardens of the Southwest United States. It generally has a long period of bloom that climaxes in late summer and early autumn. Autumn sage also provides winter interest in Mediterranean areas such as southern California due to its evergreen habit. There are a plethora of cultivated varieties with different flower colors and there is one cultivar with variegated foliage.

Some of the named cultivars include:

Autumn sage has been hybridized with Salvia microphylla resulting in a number of named cultivars such as 'Robin Middleton'. Recently, horticultural plant breeders are developing new cultivars that look and grow more like annuals than perennials. These new dwarf cultivars can easily grown in 4-inch and 6-inch sized containers, and are more sturdy and upright than the wild types which gives them a greater display of flower color.

Taxonomic factoids: Salvia is the largest genus of the mint family with over 900 species. Tubular salvia flowers have two 'lips', the lower one being flat and the upper one being helmet shapes.