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This is a vigorous and low growing ground cover reaching 18-24 in. high and spreading 4-6 ft. across. Medium green foliage is comprised of 2-3 in. long leaves that are heavily pungent when cut or crushed. Numerous spikes of pale blue flowers occur in early to mid spring for pleasing accent value.

Mrs. Beard sage is a successful cultivar resulting from the hybridization of Salvia mellifera and Salvia sonomensis It is proving to be a reliable ground cover choice for sunny banks and slopes in Mediterranean and California native garden plantings. It prefers well-drained soils, little supplemental water and shows reliable tolerance to temperatures to 15°F.

Water Needs

Mrs. Beard 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; stems will sometime root when in contact with moist soils.

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
Habit: Spreading, Robust
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.
Width: 4 ft. - 6 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Medium green, Gray green
Flower Color: Lavender
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Frost, Drought, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Slopes, Hummingbird plant, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Banks, Attracts bees, Attracts butterflies


Pinch back when young to encourage a dense groundcover form and to prevent it from getting too woody near the base (3). Generally requires little to no maintenance after establishment, but can be pruned if desired. If pruning is desired, 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) (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 up to 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) These plants grow very wide over time. It may be hard to imagine a one gallon plant getting six to eight feet wide in a few years, but it will happen. Often this plant is grown too close to other plants, which leads to it growing over other plants, mounding higher than desired or smothering other plants, and requiring more pruning than desired to keep it a reasonable size for the space. Only plant it if you have the room. If not, choose from one of the other great Salvias available (S).



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