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Salvia roemeriana (Cedar sage)
Smith, R.W.

Salvia roemeriana

Salvia roemeriana Scheele

Cedar Sage

Lamiaceae (Mint Family)


USDA Symbol: SARO3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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.


From the Image Gallery

33 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

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.
Fruit: Nutlets.

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 year's 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: Butterflies , Hummingbirds
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: After blooming, remove the flower spikes and scatter seeds where you want them to grow. Can also be propagated by cuttings.
Seed Collection: Collect seed in late spring and summer when seeds are black. They fall soon after maturing so watch closely. Germination can vary year to year so have lots of seed on hand.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Make sure large fallen leaves are kept cleared away from areas you want it to grow, as seedlings can't emerge otherwise. Remove spent seed spikes and cut back dormant foliage, if necessary.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Need plants with red flowers to grow in shaded area in yard in Austin.
May 04, 2010
I have a shaded area where all the shrubs die. I would like to plant some flowers there instead of shrubs. What red flower plants can sustain a lot of shade.
view the full question and answer

Austin Shade Plants for Pots
March 28, 2010
I live in a condo in Austin Texas so I don't have any flower beds or yard space. I would like to put a few large pots of plants and flowers on my front patio but it's mostly shaded during the day. W...
view the full question and answer

Edible plants native to Austin, TX
August 05, 2009
Hello, I am a chef from Buenos Aires Argentina visiting Austin, Texas and would like to learn about native, edible plants in the region. Please let me know if there are any native, edible plants...
view the full question and answer

Spring blooming plants for spring sun and summer shade
July 03, 2007
I live in San Antonio. I'm faced with a dilemma. I've got mature native pecans. In the summer they provide beautiful full shade. However, in the winter and even into the late spring, my yard is ...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control plants for steep slope in Austin, TX
April 09, 2007
I'm interested in finding native plants, either perennials or grasses, that would help control erosion on a fairly steep slope. These plants would be in a park, and volunteers will be watering the pl...
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From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0708 Collected Apr 1, 1994 in Bexar County by Mike Fox

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Salvia roemeriana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Salvia roemeriana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Salvia roemeriana


Record Modified: 2023-04-07
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG

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