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Hummingbirds can’t resist this compact purple sage

Garden Gems: Dwarf Mexican bush sage produces loads of colorful purple blooms from early summer through frost.
Garden Gems: Dwarf Mexican bush sage produces loads of colorful purple blooms from early summer through frost.

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Garden Gems” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and that add sparkle to drought-tolerant landscapes.

Dwarf Mexican bush sage

Salvia leucantha ‘’Santa Barbara’

Size: Up to 2 to 3 feet tall and 6 feet wide.

Bloom season: Purple and rose-lavender blooms from summer through fall.

Exposure: Full sun.

Pruning needs: Cut old stems to new bud sprouts on the woody base in winter or early spring.

Water needs: Low; once established, deep water once or twice a month.

Snapshot: A dwarf version of Mexican sage, the Santa Barbara cultivar stays compact, producing a squat evergreen bush with upright stems and narrow leaves. In summer, it produces abundant foot-long wands of purple and rose-lavender flower stalks that stick around until frost. These colorful blooms attract attention – and hummingbirds.

For more on “Garden Gems,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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