• Salvia mellifera

Salvia mellifera


Salvia mellifera

Common Name: Black Sage

Growth Habit: upright shrub to 4-5’ tall and 6-8’ wide

Cultural Requirements: Black sage is the most common sage in chaparral and coastal sage scrub in California. Once established it needs no further care.

Features/Uses:In late spring and early summer the white to light blue blooms are attractive especially in the wild since black sage often grows in large masses. It blooms at the same time as chamise so these two most common chaparral shrubs combine to produce a fine flowering show especially on misty “May Gray” mornings.

Black sage is mainly grown in native gardens and habitat restorations. The variety or cultivar ‘Terra Seca’ is lower growing.

Like other California sages black sage is drought deciduous and in order to reduce water loss it loses many of their leaves during the summer and fall. Consequently, it is not so attractive at this time.

The foliage of black sage is wonderfully fragrant and is always appreciated by folks hiking on a local nature trail. In addition for those in the know the aromatic leaves can be used in cooking.

Bloom Time: late spring to early summer

Where in the Garden: Natural Areas at the Overlook and Native Plants, Native People Trail, California Gardenscapes


Photos: Rachel Cobb and Sally Sandler