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Arboretum Spotlight: This sage is a head turner

Hybrid Jerusalem sage sprouts whorls of yellow flowers in spring.
Hybrid Jerusalem sage sprouts whorls of yellow flowers in spring.

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.

Hybrid Jerusalem sage

Phlomis “Edward Bowle”

Size: 12 to 18 inches tall by three feet wide; flower stalks up to four feet tall.

Bloom season: Yellow two-tone whorls of flowers in spring and summer.

Exposure: Full sun to light shade.

Pruning needs: Shape plant in winter.

Water needs: Medium-low water; once established, water once a week or less.

Snapshot: Think you know sage? This hybrid phlomis forms a mound of large spadelike fragrant leaves with velvety, green tops and silver hairs below. Bees love it, too. In spring, the plant produces yellow flowers in ball-like clusters on tall stems, 3 to 4 feet high. An attractive and dependable plant, Jerusalem sage is considered to be deer resistant, a plus for foothill gardens.

For more on “40 Plants,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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