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Black Sage

Salvia mellifera

3-5' tall / 4-8' wide


Black Sage is medium sized shrub that gets wider than it does tall. The leaves are a deep to medium green, and then turn yellowish in the Summer months. Plant typically goes semi dormant in drought, dropping most or all of its leaves. The leaves re-emerge in the Winter once the rains are prolific. The flowers are small and dainty, and they appear toward the end of Winter. Loved by bees and maybe a hummingbird or two. The seed pods are kind of sharp and can irritate the skin. Reseeds prolifically, great for restoration projects.

In the garden, this plant is used for slope stabilizing and ground covering. The smell is sweet and very herbal. Almost reminiscent of marijuana. Not the most beautiful of sages but favored by many for its charm. You can hedge trim this plant as much as you like. If left to grow, it will spread out to almost 8 feet. It likes to grow a bush, then flop over. That bush then becomes just 1/4 of the plant. From that flopped over bush, it will then start to grow clockwise until it reaches the other side of the flopped over bush. You then have a complete plant. However, if you place on a steep slope, it will tend to grow by spilling down and then growing up. You can keep this hedge trimmed often if you want it to stay in a certain place and shape.

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