This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “40 Plants You (Probably) Have Never Heard of – But Will Love,” 40 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region but hard to find.
San Diego sage
Salvia clevelandii “Aromas”
Size: Up to 4 feet tall and wide.
Bloom season: Very long; violet flowers from spring through late fall.
Exposure: Full sun.
Pruning needs: Prune by one-third in winter after bloom season to encourage new growth from the base.
Water needs: Low water; once established, water deeply twice a month.
Snapshot: This lovely aromatic California native is a favorite with both people and wildlife. Native to the dry hillside slopes of San Diego County, its pewter gray leaves contrast with garden greens and are intensely fragrant. (On a warm night, their scent travels 20 feet or more.) A compact and rounded shrub, this sage has a woody base that sprouts tall stalks of flowers for more than six months a year. The unusual color of these lovely whorls of flowers is described as “dauphine violet.” Another plus: San Diego sage attracts bees and hummingbirds.
For more on “40 Plants,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.