Plant this drought-tolerant beauty for reliable color summer through fall

Julie Chai,  –  September 15, 2006

Autumn sage, or Salvia greggii, puts out loads of color from summer’s hottest days through the chilly nights of fall. Related to mint, this sage is one in a family of some 900 species of sages around the world. Requiring very little care and blooming consistently, it’s an ideal medium-sized shrub to add to beds and borders.

Colors: Whorls of two-lipped small (an inch or smaller) flowers come in shades of red, pink, and white. Round or narrow leaves are about an inch long.

Size: Different varieties grow from one to four feet tall and wide; most widely available types are about 2½ feet tall and wide.

Care: Autumn sage is drought tolerant, but looks best with moderate, deep watering. They like full sun. Prune in late winter of early spring, and shape plants before spring bloom.

Planting: Plant in well-drained soil in Sunset zones 8-24 anytime that ground can be worked.

Companions: Grow alongside other drought-tolerant perennials like lavender, gaura, other salvias, rockrose, helichrysum, and artemisia.