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Purple sage perfect for low-water gardens

Purple autumn sage (Salvia “Violin Music”) offers an unusual color and two bloom seasons – spring and fall.
Purple autumn sage (Salvia “Violin Music”) offers an unusual color and two bloom seasons – spring and fall.

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.

Purple autumn sage

Salvia “Violin Music”

Size: Up to 2 feet tall and wide.

Bloom season: In spring and early fall, lilac-violet spikes held on upright structure with contrasted black calyces.

Exposure: Full sun.

Pruning needs: Shape in late winter or early spring to keep compact.

Water needs: Low; once established, water deeply once a month.

Snapshot: Let this lovely purple sage ride high in your low-water garden. A shrubby and long-blooming autumn sage, this variety – also known as “Violin Music” – brings us a beautiful alternative to typical red autumn sages. Plus this variety blooms twice – in spring and then again in fall. A new clone for the arboretum’s collection, “Violin Music” is thriving in the arboretum nursery’s demonstration beds and bloomed both in spring and fall. All autumn sages attract native bees and butterflies.

For more on “Life After Lawn,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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