Black sage

Salvia mellifera


The native black sage is a woody shrub growing with a mounding to sprawling habit, 3-4 ft. tall and 5-7 ft. wide. Dark green leaves have a wrinkled surface and are ver pungent when crushed. Tall stems bearing numerous whorls of pale blue to white flowers occur from late spring into early summer, and will brighten the landscape when backlit by morning or afternoon sun.

Black sage is a dominant species among the coastal sage plant community throughout California in both inland and coastal habitats, and is considered to be one of the best western native honey plants. It grows in habitats ranging from coastal bluffs to inland foothills, from northern to southern California and Baja California, where it is very tolerant of heat and drought stress. This species is sometimes used in ornamental gardens on slopes and mixed native plantings. Plant in full sun, on well-drained soils and provide low amounts of supplemental water.

Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Spreading, Mounding
Growth Rate: Moderate
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: White, Lavender
Flower Season: Summer, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Slopes, Restoration, Parks and open space, Hummingbird plant, Banks, Background plant, Attracts bees, Attracts butterflies
Height: 3 ft. – 4 ft.
Width: 5 ft. – 7 ft.