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Baby Sage Salvia microphylla

Previously known as:

  • Salvia grahamii
Phonetic Spelling
SAL-vee-ah my-kro-FIL-uh
Description

Little Leaf Sage is an evergreen shrub in the mint family found in the wild in southeastern Arizona and the mountains of eastern, western, and southern Mexico. It is a very complex species which easily hybridizes, resulting in numerous hybrids and cultivars brought into horticulture since the 1990s. This plant is drought and heat tolerant and slightly salt tolerant.

The flowers occur on spikes in shades of pink, red and white in spring with repeat blooming to fall. The leaves are aromatic and can be used in making teas. Use this plant in the perennial border, native/pollinator garden or for xeriscaping.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

More information on Salvia.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Flower Child
    Candy pink flowers
  • Hot Lips
    Bi-color red and white, dependent on temperature
  • San Carlos Festival
    Red-violet flowers on compact plants
Flower Child, Hot Lips, San Carlos Festival
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#arching#sun#showy flowers#partial shade#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#edible plant#shrub#fragrant leaves#salt tolerant#medicinal#low maintenance#cottage garden#mounding#well-drained soil#spreading#tender perennial#deer resistant#dense#native garden#long bloom time#pollinator plant#humidity tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Flower Child
    Candy pink flowers
  • Hot Lips
    Bi-color red and white, dependent on temperature
  • San Carlos Festival
    Red-violet flowers on compact plants
Flower Child, Hot Lips, San Carlos Festival
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#arching#sun#showy flowers#partial shade#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#edible plant#shrub#fragrant leaves#salt tolerant#medicinal#low maintenance#cottage garden#mounding#well-drained soil#spreading#tender perennial#deer resistant#dense#native garden#long bloom time#pollinator plant#humidity tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Salvia
    Species:
    microphylla
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Fever reducer, treatment for coughs
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Arizona to Guatemala
    Distribution:
    Southern US, Central America
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds
    Edibility:
    Leaves have a scent of blackcurrant and can be used fresh or dried as a flavoring in an herbal tea,
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Dense
    Mounding
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Green, almost triangular, toothed edges, edible, aromatic.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    Yes
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Humidity
    Salt