Salvia dorrii ‘Desert Purple Sage’ (Desert Sage, Purple Sage, Great Basin Blue Sage)
If you have hiked around Joshua Tree National Park or other high desert, Pinyon-Juniper woodland areas of California, you are probably familiar with the enchanting blue-gray glow of Salvia dorrii ‘Desert Purple Sage’. This herbaceous perennial is the premier desert sage of California, but also grows in other western states of North America. It is an especially showy bloomer in the late spring and summer months, with each stem bearing 3-5 broadly spaced whorls of brilliant blue blossoms. This stately and strong woody shrub grows up to 2-3 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide and is highly aromatic. At the day’s end, the striking blue flowers and bracts glow in the horizontal rays of the setting sun over some of California’s most beloved landscapes. For this reason, it thrives in desert gardens, with companions such as Salvia clevelandii ‘Winifred Gillman’, late blooming Penstemons ‘Garnet’ and ‘Midnight’ and its desert companion, Keckiella cordifolia.
Salvia dorrii needs sandy soil with perfect drainage, and will not thrive if over-watered. The Sunset Western Climate Zones are 8, 9, 12, and 14-24. It is deer and rabbit resistant while being a butterfly and hummingbird magnet. Salvia dorrii is a hardy plant that loves full sun and heat. It will reward some light pruning after initial flowering with more of its brilliant blue purple flowers. This is the plant referred to in Zane Grey’s classic western novel, “Riders of the Purple Sage”, set in Utah. We are currently growing Salvia dorrii ‘Desert Purple Sage’ in 1 gallon containers. Check out these and other plants we are growing on our website, www.clearwatercolor.com , and ‘Like’ us on Facebook to keep up to date on what’s happening around the nursery.