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Publication #FPS524

Salvia greggii Cherry Sage, Autumn Sage, Cherry Salvia1

Edward F. Gilman, David Marshall2

Introduction

Like many other salvias, this charming perennial is native to south and west Texas and grows into New Mexico and Mexico (Fig. 1). Cherry sage generally attains a height of 6 to 18 inches and blooms from spring to frost. Cherry sage is upright in habit and has dark green, fine-textured leaves. The tubular flowers of this plant come in colors of pink, red, white, salmon and coral. Plants with red flowers appear in the trade most often. These blooms are very attractive to hummingbirds. The small, red flowers are borne above the foliage but blend in with the leaves due to the open habit of the species. Cultivars have been selected with a tighter canopy.

Figure 1. 

Cherry sage


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Salvia greggii
Pronunciation: SAL-vee-uh GREGG-ee-eye
Common name(s): cherry sage, autumn sage, cherry salvia
Family: Labiatae
Plant type: perennial; herbaceous
USDA hardiness zones: 7B through 11 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 7: Jun; Jul
Planting month for zone 8: May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep
Planting month for zone 9: Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct
Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


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Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec
Origin: native to North America
Uses: cut flowers; border; edging; mass planting; attracts butterflies; attracts hummingbirds; hanging basket; cascading down a wall
Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

Description

Height: 1 to 2 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Plant habit: round
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: fine

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: elliptic (oval)
Leaf venation: pinnate; brachidodrome
Leaf type and persistence: semi-evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: not applicable
Fall characteristic: not applicable

Flower

Flower color: pink; salmon; white; red; coral
Flower characteristic: summer flowering; fall flowering; spring flowering; flower season is longer in zones 9-11

Fruit

Fruit shape: unknown
Fruit length: unknown
Fruit cover: unknown
Fruit color: unknown
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: reddish
Current year stem/twig thickness: thin

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; alkaline; sand; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 18 to 24 inches

Other

Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Cherry sage may be used as an edging plant and is quite lovely when massed together in large groups. Large beds of cherry sage make a splendid addition to any sunny landscape.

Figure 3. 

Flower of cherry sage


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Grow cherry sage in full sun to partial shade. Some shade is preferred in the warmest climates. It prefers well-drained soils and cannot tolerate excessive moisture. However, drought tolerance is good and plants usually come back the following year if the ground has not been disturbed. Freezing temperatures in the warmer parts of hardiness zone 8 usually do not kill the plant to the ground. The plant is treated as an annual in zone 7 and colder regions.

The cultivar 'Variegata' (desert blaze salvia) has creamy-white leaf margins. It is patented and trademarked.

Propagate cherry sage by cuttings.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern. Aphids will occasionally infest the foliage.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS524, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date September 1999. Revised August 2007. Reviewed June 2011. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, David Marshall, agricultural extension agent and program leader, Leon County, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.