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Salvia greggii Cherry Sage, Autumn Sage, Cherry Salvia

Edward F. Gilman, David Marshall, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen


Like many other salvias, this charming perennial is native to south and west Texas and grows into New Mexico and Mexico. 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.

Full Form - Salvia greggii: Cherry Sage, Autumn Sage, Cherry Salvia
Figure 1. Full Form - Salvia greggii: Cherry sage, autumn sage, cherry salvia.
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS


Leaf - Salvia greggii: Cherry Sage, Autumn Sage, Cherry Salvia
Figure 2. Leaf - Salvia greggiiCherry sage, autumn sage, cherry salvia.
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Salvia greggii

Pronunciation: SAL-vee-uh GREGG-ee-eye

Common name(s): cherry sage, autumn sage, cherry salvia

Family: Lamiaceae

Plant type: perennial; herbaceous

USDA hardiness zones: 7B through 11 (Figure 3)

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

Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec

Origin: native to North America

Invasive potential: not known to be invasive

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

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 3. Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 1 to 2 feet

Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Plant habit: round

Plant density: moderate

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: fine


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 color: pink; salmon; white; red; coral

Flower characteristic: summer flowering; fall flowering; spring flowering; flower season is longer in zones 9-11


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


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


Roots: not applicable

Winter interest: no special winter interest

Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more

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.

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.

Publication #FPS524

Release Date:January 23, 2024

Related Collections

Part of Shrubs Fact Sheets

Related Topics

  • Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is FPS524, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised October 2023. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus, David Marshall, agricultural Extension agent and program leader, UF/IFAS Extension Leon County; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture, and Gail Hansen, professor, sustainable landscape design, Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Gail Hansen de Chapman
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