Peach Sage, also called Fruit-Scented Sage (botanical name salvia dorisiana), is a shrubby evergreen perennial with hairy stems and velvety oval leaves that are sweet-scented and up to 7 inches long. Its magenta to rose-pink bloom spikes reach 6 inch in length, and appear from midsummer through mid-fall. Like many other salvias, this one can reach 3 to 5 feet in height and width.
Examples of the 900 species of the salvia genus occur worldwide, especially in warmer temperate ones, favoring dry sunny hillsides and open ground. Fortunately, they also thrive in our more humid but equally hot climate. The flowers produce abundant nectar, which makes them attractive to bees and butterflies.
In our area, salvia plants are available year round, but because they are quite tolerant to heat spring planting works very well. Removing spent blooms will encourage more flowering, and by pruning the longer stems, a nice dense plant can be maintained. They will go dormant in the winter but don’t dig up the plants! Tidy up the spent stems and wait for spring — they’ll reward you with early growth in the warmer days.
A healthy salvia is virtually trouble-free, but insects such as aphids or red spider mites occasionally arrive. If this happens, use a non-toxic spray and be sure to reach the undersides of the leaves.
Leaves of this lovely sage can be used in fruit salads, and the stems and blooms add color and wonderful fragrance to flower arrangements throughout the bloom season.