Salvia microphylla and Salvia greggii
Salvia microphylla- Blackcurrant or Mountain Sage
This perennial shrub native to southeast Arizona and Mexico easily hybridizes with Salvia greggii, a native to Southwest Texas and Mexico. These two are often linked together and confused, and it is easy to see why. The main difference between the two species is their leaves. Salvia microphylla has serrated leaf margins (edges) on its narrow elliptical shaped leaves. Salvia greggii has smooth margins on narrow, elliptical shaped leaves. This is their main distinguishing characteristic. Salvia microphylla also has a wider range of blossom colors, and can tolerate a bit more shade than the heat-loving greggii. Salvia microphylla thrives in Sunset Climate Zones 7-24. The brightly-colored blossoms grow in whorls along the stem, creating a beautiful contrast to the bright green foliage. Depending on the variety, Salvia microphylla can grow between 2 and 5 feet tall. These beautiful plants bloom spring through fall.
Salvia greggii- Autumn Sage
This evergreen herbaceous perennial is native to southwest Texas down through the rocky slopes of the Chihuahuan desert in Mexico. It thrives in Sunset Climate Zones 8-24. Greggii is evergreen in mild winter climates, but will die to the ground in cold winter regions, surprising you with its rebirth in the spring. True to its name, it blooms summer through autumn. It has a variable height of 1-4 feet, with a slightly less width. Upright or mounding, the mildly green colored leaves and stems sport lovely contrasting whorls of flowers, many of them scarlet or red. Named after Josia Gregg, 1806-1850, a Tennessee botanist who studied many plants of the Midwest.
Care and Cultivation
These much loved Salvias are grown throughout the United States. The adaptability and ease of cultivation of both of these Salvia species is part of their wide spread appeal. They are hardy to 10° F. and are extremely drought tolerant, however they will benefit from moderate water. They have a long bloom cycle, attracting hummingbirds to their skinny tubular double lipped flowers. Plant in full sun or partial shade (be sure to provide some shade in hottest climates). To keep the plant tidy and free blooming, prune back dead flowers and stems on a regular basis. Please give us a call, enjoy our Facebook posts, or check out our website, www.clearwatercolor.com , to see photos of and learn more about the many Salvia microphylla, and Salvia greggii we are currently growing. Thank you.