Alphabetical Plant Listing

Salvia mellifera (Black Sage)

Black Sage, California Black Sage, Honey Sage


Salvia mellifera (Black Sage) is a semi-evergreen, openly branched and spreading, woody shrub with a very aromatic foliage of wrinkled, dark green leaves, 1-3 in. long (2-7 cm), with paler undersides. It is semi-deciduous, depending on the location and severity of drought. Blooming from mid spring to mid summer, compact whorls of pale blue, white or lavender flowers, spaced at intervals along the tall stems, can be enjoyed. They are an important food source for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Black Sage is regarded as one of the best honey plants along the Pacific Coast. The seeds are an important food for quail and other birds. Long-lived (20-30 years), Black sage is a suitable revegetation species because of its drought-resistance, spreading habit, and rapid growth rate. Its much branched and fibrous root system makes it suitable for erosion control in southern California. Found in habitats ranging from coastal bluffs to inland foothills, from northern to southern California and Baja California, Black sage is also well adapted to sunny garden locations on well drained soils and with low amounts of supplemental water during summer. Native Americans have used Black Sage for culinary purposes. Seeds were parched and ground into a meal used in baking. Crushed leaves and stems were used as a mint-flavored condiment.

  • Grows up to 3-6 ft. tall (90-180 cm) and 3-10 ft. wide (90-300 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun in well-drained soils. Tolerates a variety of soils, including sandstone, shale, granite, serpentinite, and gabbro or basalt. Drought tolerant once established.
  • Great for borders, butterfly gardens, water-wise gardens, Mediterranean gardens. Can be used for bank stabilization, as a groundcover or an informal hedge.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Black sage is largely unpalatable to most livestock and wildlife due to its pungent odor and bitter taste. Deer resistant.
  • Propagate by division, rooted sections, or seed sown in fall outdoors.
  • Native to California.

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Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 11
Climate Zones 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Salvia - Sages
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid)
Height 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spread 3' – 10' (90cm – 3m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Beds and Borders, Ground Covers, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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JKehoe_Photos, California Native Plant Society, Emily Chen, Jerry Kirkhart, Flickr, Sundry Photography, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 11
Climate Zones 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Salvia - Sages
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid)
Height 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spread 3' – 10' (90cm – 3m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Beds and Borders, Ground Covers, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Salvia - Sages

Guides with Salvia - Sages

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