Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: October 19, 2006

Autumn Sage
Salvia greggii

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Native Range: Southwest U.S. into Mexico
Hardiness: USDA Zones 7-10
Mature Size: 3 feet tall and wide
Exposure: Full Sun
Soil: Well-drained or sandy soils
Ease of Culture: Easy

I must admit I've never been able to take a picture of this plant that does it justice. This woody perennial/shrub is one of the easiest plants to grow in my garden. Blooming starts when the heat of summer has just about wilted everything, including me, and continues until the first hard frost in October or November. The foliage is a gray-green and some of the leaves will remain until spring thus making this plant semi-evergreen.

All sages are considered herbs with various culinary and medicinal uses. All are deer-resistant and most are drought-tolerant. Autumn Sage is very drought tolerant, more than many of the herbaceous Salvias. I never water it on purpose. Because it is so resistant to drought, it expects, if not demands well-drained soil. Too much water around the roots can lead to its demise.

Plant Autumn Sage in full sun in well-drained or sandy soils. It mixes well with other late summer bloomers: Mistflower (blue - pictured above), Goldenrod (yellow - pictured above), Asters, Mums, Variegated Yucca and Pansies. Prune Autumn Sage down to four inches tall in February or March and then by half in early summer. This will keep the plant compact and full and reduce legginess.

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Although I have seen or purchased this plant from the nurseries below, I cannot guarantee that they will have it in stock at the time this newsletter is published.

Habersham Gardens: Atlanta
Hastings Nursery: Atlanta (404) 869-7447
Niche Gardens: mail order
Pike Family Nurseries: multiple locations
Plant Delights Nursery: mail order
Randy's Perennials: Lawrenceville

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