Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Salvia roemeriana

Cedar sage

Lamiaceae (Mint Family)

Salvia roemeriana (Cedar sage)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy
A red-flowered, hirsute, perennial salvia that grows from 1 to 2 feet tall, with rounded, scalloped leaves, Salvia roemeriana is adapted to grow in the shade and leaf mulch of Juniperus species, especially Juniperus ashei (Ashe Juniper). The leaves are normally 1 to 2 inches wide, and flowers are 1 to 1.5 inches long on 2 to 3 inch racemes, appearing from spring through summer.

One of several plants that have evolved to grow in the shade and leaf mulch of junipers, Salvia roemeriana makes a fine plant for the well-drained shade garden. Its scalloped, rounded leaves and crimson blooms are as eye-catching in pots as they are against the limestone outcrops of its native habitat.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Shape: Cordate , Reniform
Leaf Pubescence: Hirsute
Leaf Margin: Crenate
Leaf Base: Cordate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Raceme
Size Notes: 1 to 2 feet high
Flower: Flowers 1 to 1.5 inches long on 2 to 3 inch spikes
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Its crimson blooms appear in early spring, are profuse for a couple of months, and then continue sporadically through summer.


Native Distribution: From central and west Texas south to Coahuila and Nuevo Leon in Mexico.
Native Habitat: In the shade of cedar brakes and oak woods: shaded, rocky, limestone areas. In Texas, mainly on the Edwards Plateau. Evolved to grow in the fine leaf mulch deposited under Ashe Junipers (Juniperus ashei), a.k.a. cedars, and in the wild is usually only seen under junipers or in areas with juniper mulch.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay. In the wild, occurs almost exclusively in fine, rich, fast-draining juniper leaf mulch in areas of exposed limestone.
Conditions Comments: Has a hard time perpetuating itself under deciduous hardwoods, as the large leaves on the ground will block the emergence of seedlings and of the new years growth. It really is adapted to live under junipers/cedars. If you do plant them in areas with large, fallen leaves, keep leaves cleared from areas you want the plant to naturalize in. Also, it can become stressed and stunted in continuous full sun, so plant in dappled shade.


Use Ornamental: Adds crimson color and attractive foliage to shady areas. Also a good pot plant for the shade.
Use Wildlife: Flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies
Use Food: As with other red-flowered Salvias, its flowers are both edible and sweet and can make an attractive garnish.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Hummingbirds , Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High

Last Update: 2013-05-01