Salvia holwayi
Common Name: sage 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Guatemala and Mexico
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: October to frost
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Tolerate: Deer


Best grown in evenly moist, rich, humusy, well-draining soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers relatively moist soils, and will exhibit reduced vigor in drier conditions. Deadhead to prolong blooming. Cut back severely after flowering to control height and spread if desired. Hardy in Zones 9-11. May die back to the roots in the colder end of its hardiness range if temperatures fall between 20°-30°F. Winter blooming will only occur in areas with warm enough winter temperatures. Otherwise the bloom period will be shortened.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Salvia holwayi, commonly called Holway's sage or winter Mexican sage, is a herbaceous perennial native to Guatemala and southern Mexico where it is found growing in pine-oak woodlands and thickets at elevations between 3000-9000'. Mature specimens can quickly reach up to 5' tall by 8' wide. While typically upright, the stems can also take on a prostrate or scrambling habit, rooting where they touch the ground. The cordate leaves have narrow tips and can reach up to 4" long. Spike-like inflorescences reaching up to 8" long appear in fall bearing bright red, 1" long, tubular flowers through early spring. Attractive to hummingbirds. The flowers can be used in fresh cut arrangements.

The genus name Salvia comes from the Latin word salveo meaning "to save or heal", in reference to the purported medically curative properties attributed to some plants in the genus.

The specific epithet honors Edward Willet Dorland Holway (1853-1923), an American banker, mycologist, and plant collector.

The common name Holway's sage refers to the specific epithet of this species. The common name winter Mexican sage refers to the bloom time range and native habitat of this species.


No major pest or disease problems reported. Deer tend to avoid this plant.


Use in the back of a mixed border, woodland garden, or as a tall groundcover. Can also be grown in a conservatory. Suitable for a large container.