One of the most reliable bloomers in my Georgia garden is Salvia greggii, Autumn Sage. Living up to its common name, this little woody perennial that grows more like a small shrub is still in full bloom after Thanksgiving this year. Autumn Sage is nearly evergreen in our West Central Georgia climate, often blooming on into December and sporadically throughout the winter. Bright red blooms attract hummingbirds and other pollinators to the garden. The aromatic foliage is not devoured by deer.
My first Autumn Sage was given to me by the horticulturists at Hills and Dales Estate when I was a volunteer there. They were very generous to the Troup County Master Gardeners, often giving us plants we admired when we worked there. Some of my favorite plants came from their lovely historic gardens.
The blooms of Salvia greggii are most often red or some shade of red, but thanks to breeding programs, can now be found in pink, orange, and even white.
Autumn Sage is not bothered by disease or pests, including deer. This plant doesn't even want fertilizer unless it's growing in a container for an extended period of time.
Salvia greggii is native to the state of Texas, but grows well all over the Southeast and can be grown in most parts of the United States. Autumn Sage is hardy in USDA Zones 5 through 9. This salvia makes a fine specimen or hedge plant in flower or shrub border. It can be pruned to a certain height and is easily kept to 2 or 3 feet tall. Salvia greggii is an excellent xeriscape plant, adapting well to rocky, sandy, and poor soil as long as it is well-drained. Supplemental water is usually not necessary, even in dry and drought-prone areas. Full sun is the only requirement of Autumn Sage.
A lovely companion for Autumn Sage is the Mexican Bush Sage, Salvia leucantha.