Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Salvia clevelandii:
Cleveland Sage

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Form: Semi-woody shrub.
Leaf retention: Frost and drought deciduous.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 5' high by 6' wide.
Flowers: Blue trumpet-shaped flowers clustered on the ends of branches.
Bloom: The fullest bloom is in the spring, with sporadic flowering the rest of the year.
Fruit: Up to four tiny seeds at the base of each dried calyx (cup-like structure that holds the flower and ovary). The seed heads persist on the plant after flowering.
Leaves: Gray-green, rough texture, very aromatic, edible but with a very strong flavor.
Stems: No thorns. Some cultivars have red stems.
Wildlife: The flowers attract bees, sphinx moths, and hummingbirds. The shrub is a hiding place for quail and other birds.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: The coast of California and Baja California.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8b-10.
Heat tolerant: Somewhat.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Needs part shade in the hottest months of the year.
Water once established: Once or twice a month.
Soil: Well drained, pH 6.1-7.8 (slightly acidic to slightly alkaline).
Mulch: In fall in areas with winter freezes.
Prune: Not necessary. If reducing the plant's size is desirable, cut one-third of the stem off after bloom, then cut one-half of the remaining stem in winter. The dried seed heads may be removed if they are considered unsightly.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed or cuttings.
Uses: Ornamental, fragrance garden. The leaves are a substitute for culinary sage in cooking, but they have a very strong flavor and must be used sparingly. For a list of culinary sage plants, see Low Water Culinary Herbs.

This plant is a member of the Mint family (Lamiaceae). Other common names are Chaparral Sage and California Blue Sage. For some cultivars, the aroma extends 6-10' feet from the plant. Not everyone will find this aroma appealing.

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Salvia clevelandii: Cleveland Sage - flowers

Salvia clevelandii: Cleveland Sage

Latest update: February, 2019
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