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Known as the Fragrant pitcher sage, this rambling perennial is a top choice for shady areas among other California natives and to attract hummingbirds. It grows up to 3-5 ft. tall and 3-6 ft. wide, is covered with fine hairs for a fuzzy character, and produces colorful dark to light purple flowers in the spring. Crushed foliage releases a pleasing fragrant scent.

The Fragrant pitcher sage is a short-lived perennial for semi-shade gardens in the Inland Empire. It is a good understory companion plant among Western sycamore and Western redbud trees, ribes, coral bells and Douglas iris. Its fast growth and attractiveness to hummingbirds make it key part of this woodland style landscape.

Water Needs

Fragrant pitcher sage and its cultivars grow well in Inland Empire gardens in areas of partial shade and with low amounts of supplemental water during the summer. 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. As shown in the chart below, 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

Moderate Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 3

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 2x to 3x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 2x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 2" to 3" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 2" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3"

Range of supplemental summer water: 9"-16"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-15"

  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
Foliage Character: Semi-deciduous
Habit: Open, Mounding, Arching
Growth Rate: Short-lived, Fast
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.
Width: 3 ft. - 6 ft.
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: Lavender
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Loam
Exposure Adaptations: Moderate shade, Partial sun
Function: Residential spaces, Hummingbird plant, Container plant, California native, Borders, Fragrant foliage, Small spaces


If necessary, cut back hard or all the way to the ground, as needed, once it is looking spent in mid-winter to prepare for fresh Spring growth (1). If you miss the mid-winter cutback, you can cut back by up to half in early spring (2).



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