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Description

The Cleveland sage grows into medium size mounding shrub 3-5 ft. tall and 3-5 ft. wide. Foliage is comprised of pale-green leaves, 1-2 in. long and heavily wrinkled on the surface. Large numbers of colorful pure blue flowers occur in distinct whorls mid to late spring for a showy floral display. Both leaves and flowers are among the most pleasingly fragrant of the Salvias. This California native species comes from inland foothills and slopes from San Diego County to Baja California. It grows in the coastal sage and chaparral plant communities, in full sun, on slopes and in well-drained soils.

Horticultural interest in the Cleveland sage has led to the introduction of S. c. Winifred Gilman, a cultivar with delicate and intense blue flowers. It grows to the same size as the species and has proven to be easily adapted to Inland Empire gardens and landscapes that can be sustain with little summer water once established. Plant in sunny locations with good drainage; cover bare soil with decomposed granite or natural leaf litter.

Water Needs

The Winifred Gilman sage grows best in sunny locations on well drained soils and with low amounts of supplemental water during 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. 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; it is desirable to have leaf litter and the top layer of soil beneath the stems to dry out between irrigation applications.

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"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Mounding, Compact
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.
Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Pale green, Olive green
Flower Color: Purple, Blue
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Drought, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Slopes, Hummingbird plant, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, California native, Borders, Banks, Attracts bees, Fragrant foliage, Fragrant flowers, Attracts butterflies, Small spaces

Maintenance

Pinch or prune back young plants regularly in the first year to encourage long-term development of a strong bushy structure. Don't worry about sacrificing flowers the first year, you will be repaid with more flowers and a longer lived better looking plant for many years in the future. Young plants allowed to develop too many long flower stocks without this pinching back in the first couple years commonly break apart under the weight of their own flowers (S). After spring / early summer flowering, can be headed back by removing as much of the new-ish growth as desired (1). Doing so immediately after the first bloom encourages subsequent blooms, but sacrifices the development of seeds for wildlife to eat (S). Remove dead seed heads in the Fall (October), and prune as necessary (1). Consider leaving some of the pruned dry seed heads in the garden for food, nesting material, and habitat for birds and other critters you want around (S). Cut back by 1/3 to 1/2 or more of the leafy part of the branches in Fall to keep compact form, just make sure to leave at least two leafy nodes per branch as plants might not push new growth if cut below leafy nodes into old wood (3).

References

Associations

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