Salvia greggi

This amazing evergreen color plant has a compact, mounding appearance with dark green foliage that is slightly sticky to the touch and mildly aromatic. It grows two to three feet high and wide, producing long spikes of small, tubular hot pink, fuchsia or red blossoms that flower for a long period of time. The nectar-laden flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. It begins to bloom in early spring and then enters dormancy in summer, coming alive again in the fall with a flush of growth and color. Newer varieties offer purple and cherry red flowers. It is hardy to fifteen degrees Fahrenheit but can survive temperatures much lower. This fast-growing plant does best in full sun, but prefers filtered sunlight or shade. It grows best as an understory plant in the shade of a large tree. The red salvia is tolerant of drought, although looks healthier with supplemental irrigation during the hot, dry summer. Plant it in well-draining soil and avoid over-watering. Add light applications of ammonium phosphate fertilizer during the summer months to stimulate new growth in the fall. Prune periodically in mid summer or early fall to prevent it from becoming woody. Use it in masses, in desert landscapes, as a foundation planting, low hedge, small shrub, or as a nice addition to a perennial garden. It is an excellent choice to use in areas with heavy rabbit infestations, as they do not bother to eat it. The foliage of this plant is also resistant to deer and javelina damage. The red salvia is native to rocky hillsides of the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico, as well as New Mexico and western Texas, growing at elevations between 2,500 to 8,000 feet.

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