- Author: Polly Nelson
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Polly Nelson UCCE Master Gardener
Common Name: Coahuila Sage (also ‘Saltillo Sage', ‘Purple Ginny')
Scientific name: Salvia coahuilensis
Planting area: Sunset zone 8, 9, 12-24
Size: Up to 2.5 feet high and wide
Bloom season: late spring through fall
Exposure: full sun
Pruning needs: tip pinch annually to maintain shape
Water needs: low to moderate
Snapshot: This is a season for spicy scents, and Salvia coahuilensis' (pronounced co-a-willensis) foliage can bring smell memories to life! It grows well as a border or bedding plant and its abundant blooms can add a distinctive scent to your landscape.
Originating in the mountains of Coahuila, Mexico, it is an evergreen, mounding, sage featuring one inch, textured, olive green leaves that rise on slender branches. A light brushing of the foliage emits a pleasing spicy scent. Flowers form at the end of three-inch stems, richly deep blue/violet in color. Bloom starts in early summer and last into fall, although year-round blooms can be seen in mild winter climates.
Plant Coahuila sage in full sun in soil with good drainage. Space plants approximately three to four feet apart to provide adequate air circulation and to minimize fungal disease.
The water needs are generally low once established. Deeply water weekly initially, then every 2-4 weeks during the hottest months to retain foliage and extend the bloom cycle. Prune annually in late winter to early spring. Reducing the plant's overall size to about 8 inches will encourage vigorous growth. Maintain the rounded shape during the growing season by pinching back the tips by no more than 1/3 of the total height.
Propagate this sage by taking cuttings from the new growth in the spring, or softwood cuttings later in the season. Place cuttings in small individual containers with well-draining rooting mix. Equal parts of fine bark and peat will help prevent root rot. Keep the cuttings protected in a lightly shaded area. Roots will develop and the plant should be ready to transplant into a larger container in about four weeks.
Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy the nectar from Coahuila sage, while deer and rabbits are less interested.
It makes “scents” to check out this less common sage and add this evergreen, later-booming pollinator plant to your garden.