​​​​​River Sage

Salvia misella

  • Common name: River sage, Southern River sage, Creeping sage, Tropical sage
  • Scientific name: Salvia misella
  • Family name: Lamiaceae
  • Origin: Tropical and subtropical Americas
  • Height: 0.5 to 1 ft
  • Width: 3 to 5 ft
  • Growth: Fast
  • Zone: USDA zones 9 through 11
  • Light needs: Full sun to part shade.
  • Salt tolerance: Low
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Can thrive in a variety of soil types if there is organic content. The soil should be acidic to slightly alkaline (pH 6.0-7.5)
  • Moisture: Water regularly until established. Once established, it should not need any supplemental watering except in severe drought.
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Pests/Diseases: No pests or diseases of strong concern. It is a host plant for Fulvous Hairstreak caterpillars, which eat the leaves. However, these caterpillars will not do severe damage to established plants.
  • Growing conditions: It is a low-maintenance plant which can tolerate a range of growing conditions. Soil can be of many types if it drains well and has some organic content, which can be provided with mulch or compost. It can tolerate dry conditions and need not be watered unless there is a severe drought. It is also tolerant of shady areas, although it needs sunlight for at least a few hours each day. As a tropical plant is not very tolerant of frost, and it will likely die back if exposed to below-freezing temperatures. It is a fast-grower and may have to be cut back if it spreads too far. Overall, it is a very easy plant to grow in the Florida landscape.
  • Characteristics: As a member of the mint family, it has the characteristic square and slightly hairy stems seen in most Salvias. The broad, pointed leaves grow opposite from each other and are toothed along the margins; pairs of leaves are accompanied by a pair of smaller leaves which grow between them. Flowers appear on long stems which grow taller than the rest of the plant. The flowers are small, soft blue, and somewhat trumpet-shaped.
  • Propagation: By seeds or by stem cuttings.
  • Wildlife: Attracts a variety of pollinators. It is also a host plant for the Fulvous Hairstreak butterfly, which appears in Cuba and sometimes in South Florida.
  • Designer considerations: It is a great groundcover plant due to its tendency to form a low, dense mat. Additionally, it is known to be good for erosion control. Its flowers and attractiveness to pollinators make it a good choice for wildflower gardens. Plant it in front of taller wildflowers for a nice, layered look.​​
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River Sage


Native Garden