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Salvia microphylla ‘Wild Watermelon’

Salvia Wild Watermelon

I bought this plant from Colonial Creek Farm a couple of years ago, along with several other fragrant sages. Most were tropical or semi-tropicals, but this was reported to be hardy to zone 8. My garden straddles zone 7b/8a, so I wasn’t sure about it. It did return, though, even with a couple of serious cold snaps last winter.

Leaves are fragrant and there is a resinous taste, like a hint of pine mixed with mint and fruit. Salvia microphylla is reported to be edible, but some salvias are quite poisonous (Salvia divinorum and Salvia coccinea are two), so I err on the side of caution. I might use the pretty flowers to decorate something, but I wouldn’t eat many.

I learned from the Plant Delights website that Wild Watermelon was introduced in 1996 after being discovered as a seedling at the Strybing Arboretum (now known as the San Francisco Botanical Garden). Plant Delights notes that it is hardy to at least zone 7a, which makes me a little less worried about it surviving here over the long term.

My plant grows in part sun to a little over two feet by two feet. No doubt it would flower more with more sun, but the fragrant leaves are abundant in this situation. I consider the bright pink dots that bloom occasionally a bonus.

Scientific nameSalvia microphylla ‘Wild Watermelon’

Common names: Wild Watermelon Sage

Family: Lamiaceae

Nativity: S. microphylla, Southwestern United States and Mexico; ‘Wild Watermelon’ selection, Strybing Arboretum

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