in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Salvia clevelandii: Fragrant Sage / Blue 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 in clusters on 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).
Leaves: Gray-green, rough texture, fragrant, edible but have a very strong flavor.
Stems: No thorns. Some cultivars have red stems.
Wildlife: Attracts bees, hawkmoths and hummingbirds.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Coasts of California and Baja California.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8b-10.
Heat tolerant: Somewhat.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Needs part shade in hottest months of 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 desired, cut one-third of stem after bloom, then one-half of remaining stem in winter. Removing spent flowers may trigger second blooming in dormant buds.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed or cuttings.
Uses: Ornamental, fragrance garden. The leaves are a substitute for sage in cooking, but they have a very strong flavor and must be used carefully.

This plant is a member of the mint family with many hybrids. For some cultivars, the fragrance extends 6-10' feet from the plant. Not everyone will find this fragrance appealing.

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Salvia clevelandii: Fragrant Sage / Blue Sage - flowers

Salvia clevelandii: Fragrant Sage / Blue Sage