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Purple Sage
Salvia leucophylla
About Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla) Nurseries Show All Photos Purple Sage is an aromatic sage native to the southern coast of California and Baja California, with a range stretching from Santa Maria southward, at 50-800 meters altitude. It is a shrub growing up to 1.5 meters tall on dry, open hillsides. The leaves are grayish, 2-8 centimeters long, with a puckered surface. The large spikes bear whorls of purple flowers, 6-13 millimeters long. The flowers are highly aromatic and attract a variety of birds and insects. One variety of Purple Sage, Salvia leucophylla Point Sal, makes a great groundcover, usually growing over 10 feet wide and only 2-4 feet high.

This plant is tough, easy to grow and beautiful. It is amazingly drought tolerant, though it can also tolerate light water up to twice per month in the summer to keep it looking a little greener. Beautiful purple flowers and grey green folliage.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
2 - 5 ft (0.6 - 1.5 m)

Max. Width
3 - 10 ft (0.9 - 3 m)

Mounding, Rounded, Spreading

Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate

Evergreen, Summer Semi-Deciduous

Grey green to white green

Flower Color
Purple, Lavender, Pink

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry open slopes


Elevation ?
11' - 5843'

Annual Precip. ?
7.4" - 37.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 1.43"

Coldest Month ?
40.5° F - 56.1° F

Hottest Month ?
62.3° F - 80.3° F

Humidity ?
0.72 vpd - 27.58 vpd

Soil Description

Soil PH
5 - 8

Fast, Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 0 - 10° F

Sunset Zones ?
8, 9, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Cleveland Sage, California Buckwheat, Lemonade Berry

Wildlife Attracted
Bees, hummingbirds, other pollinators

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low, Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Very Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 1x/month, 2x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Groundcovers, Hedges, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
San Luis Purple Sage

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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