The species name “greggii” was named for Josiah Gregg, (1806-1850). He was born in Overton County, Tennessee. In the summer of 1841 and again in the winter of 1841-42 he traveled through Texas, up the Red River valley, and later from Galveston to Austin and by way of Nacogdoches to Arkansas. He cataloged a number of species, and his name was given to a number of different species.
This native of Texas and Mexico has a woody base and forms a nice mounding shrub up to 4 ft (1.2 m) tall by 2 ft (0.6 m) wide with slender new herbaceous shoots. Most of the branches originate near the base of the plant, giving a vase-shaped appearance.
The flowers are made up of two lips: the upper one forms a hood over whiskery stamens and the lower lip, which itself is wide and toothed. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them.
The leaves are leathery and small, adaptations that probably help prevent moisture loss in its dry native climate. Autumn sage is usually evergreen, but a hard freeze may cause it to die to the ground, usually to reemerge in spring from the larger branches at the base of the plant. It has great heat and drought tolerance but only flowers well during more congenial weather.
Too much fertilizer and moisture will kill autumn sage. Do not plant where regular lawn fertilization and irrigation will bother it. After the spring bloom, trim off 1/3 off the top, and again in late summer. Avoid planting it near heavy foot traffic because the stems are very brittle.
Light: Full sun to part shade; can take extreme sun and heat.
Moisture: Autumn sage is very drought tolerant. It can take prolonged dry periods once established. Autumn sage requires well-drained soil.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 – 9.
1. Dig a hole 2 times the width and 1 and 1/2 times the height of the container.
2. Set rootball at ground level.
3. Prepare a good soil mix.
4. Backfill with amended soil.
Propagation: Most easily grown from softwood or semi-hardwood tip cuttings. Application of a rooting hormone improves rooting. Rooting should occur in three weeks. Also propagated by root layering or from fresh, untreated seed sown in fall or winter.