Autumn sage, also known by its scientific name Salvia greggii, is actually part of the Lamiaceae, or mint, family of plants. Many people refer to it as cherry sage as well. It is native to the southern part of the United States and the northern section of Mexico and can usually be found growing on rocky hillsides. It typically grows into a soft, evergreen shrub that has leaves that smell similar to mint. In addition, if it is grown in the proper conditions, it will likely be covered in brightly colored flowers.
In general, autumn sage will not grow taller than about 4 feet (1.2 m). It has simple, green leaves that are smooth to the touch. In addition, it has groups of flowers that come in a variety of colors, such as white, orange, purple, pink, or red. Typically, if autumn sage is growing in the wild, the blossoms will be cherry red in color. The flowers are typically about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, and they bloom from the spring until the fall, often as late as mid-November.
In most mild climates, autumn sage is easy to grow. It tolerates drought well and only needs minimal watering. As a heat tolerant species, it does require direct sunlight, however, and it grows best in soil that is rocky and drains well. It will remain evergreen in warm climates, such as South Texas. In the alternative, it is possible for it to grow in cooler climates, such as Colorado, but it will generally become deciduous and lose its leaves each winter.
There are several ways to propagate autumn sage. For example, the seeds can be collected, dried, and planted. In the alternative, cuttings can be used to grow the species as well. Young plants are commercially available though home garden stores or nurseries. A garden store is ideal for those gardeners not wanting to tend to seedlings and immature plants.
There are several benefits to planting autumn sage. It is often added as an ornamental shrub in lawn landscaping and can be trimmed to create a low-lying hedge. Because its flowers produce sweet nectar, hummingbirds and bees are typically attracted to its blossoms. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible by humans as well. They are most commonly dried and used to season food or as tea, but can be used in homeopathic medicine to treat digestive problems, gum disease, and other ailments as well.