The autumn sage is a evergreen shrub that grows with a mounding habit, 2-4 ft. tall and 4 ft. wide. Deep green leaves grow to 1 in. long and have a light resinous coating on their surface. Colorful flowers are most often cardinal-red and highly attractive to hummingbirds. Flowering occurs spring, fall and intermittently throughout the year. A number of cultivated selections are available from nurseries and garden centers that provide white and salmon flowers.
Autumn sage is one of the most popular sages grown in the Inland Empire gardens and landscapes for use as an almost continuously flowering accent plant . It comes from arid climate regions of the southwest, including Mexico, Texas and New Mexico, where it grows in sandy washes and plains, and tolerates temperatures to 0°F. It is easy to grow and very tolerant of heat, sun and aridity. Once established, it requires only low amounts of supplemental water during summer. Most plants become twiggy after 2-3 years and heavy pruning is recommended in late fall to maintain smaller sizes and best foliage character. Several cultivars are available that grow to the same size, but offer different flower colors. These include: S. g. ‘Alba’ produces white flowers; S. g. ‘Furman’s Red’ has large bright red flowers; and S. g. ‘Salmon’ has salmon and creamy white flowers.