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Artemisia californica 'Montara' is an attractive spreading shrub that grows with a uniform shape, 12-24 in. high and 3-5 ft. across. It provides a soft textured appearance and distinctive silvery foliage color that can easily be combined with other native species such as buckwheat, monkey flower, white sage and Cleveland sage. While the flowers are insignificant in character, its crushed leaves bring a strong scent of the sage scrub into our residential landscapes.

The Montara sagebrush is best suited to sunny banks and borders with good drainage conditions for best performance. Its low and compact habit enables it to work as an understory shrub and around walls and boulders. It becomes leggy after and couple of years and will benefit from trimming in late fall to manage its size and density.

Water Needs

Montara sagebrush easily adapts to sunny garden locations, normal winter rains and low amounts of supplemental water. Established plants require little summer water; younger plants grow best with periodic summer irrigation. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed; it is desirable to allow understory mulch to dry out between summer waterings to avoid disease problems.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen, Drought deciduous
Habit: Uniform, Spreading, Compact
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 12 in. - 24 in.
Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Silvery white, Gray green
Flower Color: Insignificant
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Raised planters, Grouped, Foliage accent plant, Borders, Banks, Fragrant foliage


Cut back in the Fall as hard as needed to prevent plant from getting too "woody" over time (2). Plants cut back into old wood (no leaves or buds along the wood) may not grow back out, but as long as you cut above the lowest leaves or buds, plants should grow back strong (3). Light pruning can be done any time if needed to "clean up" the look of the plant some (3).



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