Salvia microphylla 'Berzerkeley' – A compact plant that grows to about 2 feet tall and spreads to 4 to 6 feet wide and slowly spreading by rhizomes. It has dark green, glossy, nicely textured and aromatic 1 inch long oval leaves on dark stems that are a great foil for the flowers, which appear in late winter and continue through late fall with a subtle shift in color starting off a deeper magenta red and lightening to pink by summer.
Plant in full to considerable amount of shade (blooms best in full sun) in a soil with good drainage and irrigate infrequently to only occasionally - none needed in coastal gardens once plants are established. Has proven evergreen to around 15° F and resprouting from the ground from temperatures below this. It is considered useful in gardens down to USDA zone 8b. Established plants can tolerate and benefit from a hard pruning in fall or winter. As with others in the Salvia microphylla group it is showy in bloom over a long period, is drought tolerant and attracts hummingbirds, bees and beneficial insects to the garden, yet is resistant to predation by gophers, deer and rabbits.
Salvia microphylla is a species native to eastern, western and central Mexico with 3 races or varieties that have been identified but are hard to distinguish from each other and hybridize freely with each other and also with Salvia greggii. The Latin epithet means "small leafed" and so plants are sometimes called Small Leafed Sage, but it is also called Mirto de Montes (Myrtle of the Mountains). In the United States it is also sometimes called Graham's Sage" as it was once described as Salvia grahamii by the British botanist George Bentham and other common names include Baby Sage and Blackcurrant Sage.
The cultivar 'Berzerkeley' was a chance seedling found growing at Monterey Bay Nursery between stock plants of Salvia microphylla 'UCB' and Salvia microphylla var. grahamii and was introduced by them in 1997. This selection has long been considered to be one of the best of the Salvia microphylla cultivars with bright pink flowers similar to its likely parent Salvia microphylla 'UCB' but with slightly smaller flowers and compact form that likely came from its other parent. We have continually grown this great plant since 2001.
Information about Salvia microphylla 'Berzerkeley' displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.