This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Life After Lawn” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and ideal for drought-tolerant landscapes.
Low-growing pitcher sage
Salvia spathacea “Las Pilitas”
Size: About 18 inches tall by 4 feet wide; it will continue to spread over time.
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Bloom season: Spring-blooming sage; pinkish red flowers on attractive whorled spikes
Exposure: Full sun to shade; prefers partial shade
Pruning needs: None; trim off spent flower spikes to keep tidy.
Water needs: Low; once established, water deeply once a month.
Snapshot: Also called Las Pilitas hummingbird sage, this pitcher sage is lower growing and earlier blooming than other selections of this species. It was discovered in the Las Pilitas area, growing under another bush, and has been popularized by the Las Pilitas Nursery. The plant can be recognized by its apple-green, narrow leaves and shish kebab spikes of pink-red flowers, a favorite of hummingbirds. Tough and easy to grow, this sage can take wet winters and scorching summers and doesn’t mind clay soils.
For more on “Life After Lawn,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.