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Purple garden sage is a small herbaceous perennial herb that grows with a mounding habit, 18-24 in. tall and 2-3 ft. wide. Purple leaves with red new growth mature to a pale green. Leaves grow 3-4 in. long, have distinctly textured surfaces and are aromatic when crushed. Colorful spikes of pale to deep blue flowers occur in early spring for an attractive seasonal display.

Purple garden sage is one of the signature Mediterranean plant species from Europe that is principally known for its culinary and medicinal values. However, both the species and several attractive cultivars are widely available and can be excellent foliage and flowering accent plants in perennial gardens, containers and along pathways. Their size and adaptability makes them well suited to small spaces and for culinary gardens. They grow best in full sun, on coarse and well-drained soils and with reduced moisture through summer months.

All types of garden sage are fast growing and short-lived, perhaps 3-4 years. However, they are easy to grow, require little care and offer a range of attractive foliage colors for a variety of garden situations.

Water Needs

Purple garden sage grows best on well drained soils with normal winter rains and regular 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 winter months noted by an asterisk (*) when rains can provide sufficient moisture for good growth and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water.

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: Evergreen
Habit: Mounding, Clumping
Growth Rate: Short-lived, Fast
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.
Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: Lavender, Blue
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, All day sun
Function: Raised planters, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Container plant, Borders, Attracts bees, Attracts butterflies, Small spaces


Prune or pinch to keep a tight, bushy form and good leaf quality. Regular harvesting helps accomplish this. Do not prune into old stems below the leafy area unless you are removing those stems entirely as stems will not regrow from cuts below the last set of leaves. In late winter or early spring, feel free to cut about 1/3 or a bit more of the way back along the leafy part of each stem to encourage new spring growth (S,4).



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