Las Pilitas Nursery
California Native Plants are all we grow!
This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.
This compact white sage looks a lot like regular white sage but it is smaller and neater. It has the same chalky white foliage and clean white flowers.This Sage grows up to 6000 ft. in the San Jacinto Mountains of Southern California.
Island Black Sage is a wonderful form of Black Sage that grows on the islands off the coast of southern California. A kind of sprawling perennial that grows to 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The deep cobalt blue flowers are well liked by hummingbirds and butterflies. It has proven hardy to 10 degrees F and tolerant of clay or sand. Mix with Diplacus species., Salvia 'Gracias' and Penstemons for a showy hummingbird garden. Island black sage is fairly drought tolerant and can survive in most gardens with no water after the first year.
This is a from of Cleveland sage that was found near the
town of Alpine in Southern California. It was growing out of a
decomposed granite road cut in full sun. Alpine Cleveland Sage has
large blue flowers, is
very floriferous, loved by hummingbirds, and is
also very drought tolerant. Although our California sages are not
reliable in Oregon and Washington, one customer reported that this
one preformed best in Portland.
The most fragrant of the native sages is probably Cleveland or Musk Sage, Salvia clevelandii. The deep sky blue flowers send up fireworks about the Fourth of July and last well into August attracting a crowd of party -going beneficial insects. Musk sage grows near the coast in San Diego and inland to the edge of the Anza Borrego desert.
Chia is a lovely, annual sage that makes a great pet (ha ha chia pet) or a decent wildflower show on gravelly sandy soils. The seeds were eaten by the indigenous California people. It can be found in clean areas between the chaparral. The leaves are deeply dissected and very crinkly.
Desert sage is one tough desert-edge plant. It grows along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains from Lassen county to just Victorville area and east to Nevada in gravelly washes and rocky outcrops. This sage only grows to 2 or 3 feet but can stop traffic when it's in flower. It will die in most watered gardens, in clay, or with much winter rain, abuse it with drought and sun, and it will thrive.
Purple sage is the largest sage native to California, can reach 6 feet in height in the wild. In the garden do not give it much water, as it can grow into an eight foot tumble weed. Purple sage grows from Santa Maria south. Its crinkly gray foliage is almost white. Purple sage's flowers are a soft violet spiral that look like a landing towers for hummingbirds and native insects. Purple Sage likes a clay or loamy soil. It will grow in sand, but not at its best. Use in the back of a native planting or sage garden and as a contrast plant. Along the coast it is a satisfactory bluff plant.
Black sage is native within about 50 miles of the coastal areas of California from San Diego up to about San Francisco. The fragrance is different from Musk Sage, in that when you brush against Black Sage wafts of CHAPARRAL fragrance follow you. Hummingbirds, small native flies and butterflies like the flowers. Quail and small birds like the seeds. Black Sage is a dominant plant in its range. This sage grows in sand in Los Osos, clay in San Luis Obispo, under redwoods in Santa Cruz, and mixed with junipers in the Temblor mountain range. This is a very long lived, stable sage that looks good most all of the year.
These sages are hybrids between native species in California. Some are naturally occurring; others were developed in gardens. These are some of the most beautiful sages but many are also shorter-lived than their parents and not as stable. These are very popular with birds and butterflies. The plants must be similar enough to their wild parents for the wildlife to know what to do with them.