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The Sandhill sage is a delicate herbaceous perennial plant that grows 8-12 in. tall and spreads 18-24 in. across. Its soft foliage is comprised of finely divided silvery gray-green leaves. Clusters of small yellow flowers develop on arching stalks to 18 in. tall and are noticeable in late spring.

This petite artemisia species is native to coastal regions of central to northern California where it grows on bluffs and in sandy soils exposed to salt air and wind. In Inland Empire gardens it is combined with other native perennials from the coast, including Beach aster and Common thrift in areas of morning sun and partial afternoon shade. It grows best on well-drained soils and with low amounts of supplemental water during the summer.

Water Needs

The Sandhill sage grows best in Inland Empire gardens when planted in areas that receive afternoon shade and when sustained with periodic summer water. 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. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water and you should make irrigation adjustments based on field observations of growth and character.

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: Perennial, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Spreading
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 8 in. - 12 in.
Width: 18 in. - 24 in.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Silvery white
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Sand, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Heat, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Foliage accent plant, California native, Borders, Banks, Fragrant foliage, Small spaces


Cut back in the Fall as hard as needed to prevent plant from getting too "woody" over time (2). Pinch growth of young plants, if desired, to encourage denser branching. The species Artemisia pycnocephala performs better on the coast, but a common cultivar "David's Choice" does perform well inland, especially in afternoon shade or light overhead shade (3, S).



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