Forsythia Sage

Salvia madrensis

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salvia (SAL-vee-uh) (Info)
Species: madrensis (ma-DREN-sis) (Info)
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6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Fall




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

By simple layering

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Daleville, Alabama

Gadsden, Alabama

Fairfield, California

Fallbrook, California

Richmond, California

Sebastopol, California

Spring Valley, California

Temecula, California

Vista, California

Brooksville, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Naples, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palm Beach, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Plant City, Florida

Riverview, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Douglas, Georgia

Des Moines, Iowa

Barbourville, Kentucky

New Orleans, Louisiana (2 reports)

Zachary, Louisiana

Raleigh, North Carolina

Blythewood, South Carolina

Hampton, South Carolina

Belton, Texas

Bulverde, Texas

Dripping Springs, Texas

Lake Jackson, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas

Oakhurst, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Victoria, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 27, 2013, Siirenias from Oak Park, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

A novel part shade plant that promises great big tubular yellow flowers and lots of 'em. It seems happy with weekly watering, even in high temperatures (with enough shade I guess). Foliage is quite attractive, and the huge leaves present a spectacle up against the eastern wall of my house.

My plant is about three months old and as many feet tall. Due to herbivorous insects, it seems somewhat stymied at that height, but we'll see what happens when all the caterpillars pupate.

A bit slow growing in high heat, and the stems have a delicious chewy center that caterpillars just love out here near Los Angeles.


On Mar 30, 2012, cloud91977 from Spring Valley, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Although this plant has performed suberbly in our inland San Diego garden, I have a love-hate relationship with it because the flowers are super sticky and leave a yellow residue on your clothing (and animals), and because it smells somewhat like cat urine. The scent is not overwhelming, and it doesn't linger in the air the way some other salvias do, but it's there nonetheless. (Despite the scent the stems make beautiful and impactful additions to arragements!)

Our plants get along fine with an annual top dressing of compost and a deep watering every two-to-four weeks, depending on the heat. We've never had any problems with pests or diseases. Flower stalks should be cut down as they finish blooming.

Definitely worth growing if you can't grow real forsythias.


On Nov 10, 2011, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Great for back of the border. Yellow panicles are spectacular and provide very nice color in November. In my garden, this is a very thirsty plant!


On Oct 26, 2009, alzone7 from Gadsden, AL wrote:

This is a fun plant. I bought a little one a couple of years ago at a Master Gardener plant sale, but had no information except that it was a yellow sage. I planted it near the front of the border assuming it was a typical sage. WRONG! It gets really big (5'), so I'll be moving it to the back of the border this winter. The flowers are 12-18" long and it blooms in the Fall when little else does. I have a vase of them on my breakfast table right now in late October. One tip: Cut them back in early summer or you may wind up with a small tree trunk which can get top heavy and fall over.


On Jul 26, 2009, fullsun007 from Gainesville, FL wrote:

I have several of these plants in my yard, they bloom in the fall on 1 foot flower spikes atop 6-8 foot stalks, really quite a site. I have some in shade and some in almost full sun. I would say the ones in the shade look healthier. Mine bloom in the fall from mid September through November, and attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The areas were I have these planted, the ground in that area is covered with overlapping landscape cloth and then a 4 inch layer of mulch. These plants tend to send out runners and can quickly become quite invasive at least in zone 8B and I am sure further south also. One plant can produce 5-8 runners, that can be easily dug up. I have found the combination of landscape cloth and mulch prevents the occurrence of runners. So this is a tall and elegant yel... read more


On Jul 28, 2007, suzanne_v from Saint Petersburg, FL wrote:

This is a beautiful plant, and very hardy here. It spreads a lot by suckering. I don't think it self-seeds, since in 10 years, they haven't shown up very far from the original plants. One caveat: the pollen leaves a brown stain on cloth that doesn't wash out. Be careful about brushing against it or where you put a vase.


On Mar 2, 2007, gapeahen from Donna in Douglas, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Beautiful in zone 8b, blooms late summer untill frost. Very showy salvia, a favorite of BB & hummers! Have been grow it for about 10 years and love it~


On May 16, 2004, zzazzq from Madison, MS wrote:

This salvia will only bloom around October-November here in MS..sometimes it gets killed to the ground by frost before it blooms. Maybe it is a great plant elsewhere, but not in central MS zone 8.


On Nov 8, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

I bought this plant from a mail order nursery in North Carolina a year ago. It started out small, but then it grew tall... It's about 6.5 feet tall, and has been blooming since April or May, I forget which.

It has an intriguing growth habit, at least in my yard, twisting and curling its spikes even through the fence behind it. It gets very little shade, so I must assume this is normal. It has not self seeded a great deal. There are two seedlings under it I think, I'll know when I go to move them elsewhere. I plan to deadhead so there are not too many seedlings. But, salvias are not hard to pull out where they're not wanted, so I'm not overly concerned.

Overall, I'm pleased with this plant. It is not your average salvia.


On Aug 28, 2003, Smockette from Magnolia, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This pix is the beginning of the bloom stalk. Some stalks can be as long as 24".
Most interesting characteristic, not found in most salvia, is the square to hexigon shape of the stem! Not round at all!