Plant of the Month: Salvia Clevelandii

Native to southern California and northern Baja (and not Cleveland, Ohio as the name would suggest), salvia clevelandii is an evergreen perennial plant.  A member of the sage family, its common names include blue sage, fragrant sage and Cleveland sage.

The Cleveland sage is one of the most fragrant sage plants and is a hummingbird magnet. Its blooms are clusters of lavender to dark purple tubular flowers with long stamens, and can be spotted year round. The frosted gray-green leaves are also fragrant and have often been used in cooking. The fast growing shrub can extend up to 8 feet in width and reach heights of up to 6 feet. Prune plants at least once a year to keep the size manageable.

Salvia clevelandii “Winifred Gilman” is among the most popular species commonly found in local nurseries and admired for its intense pop of blue. This type is also a bit more compact, which can be preferable in smaller gardens.

This sage plant can tolerate a variety of soils, even clay, although it thrives in well draining soils. Found in chaparral habitats in southern California and the coastal scrub regions of San Diego County, this native shrub does not do well with heavy watering. Limit summer watering to no more than once a month. Like most California native plants, once established it will survive with natural rainfall and does not require additional irrigation – perfect for a drought tolerant garden.

To learn more about the Cleveland sage, click here.

For tips on growing plants that are disease and pathogen free, see guidance here and here.

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