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Salvia apiana ‘California White Sage’ (Bee Sage, Sacred Sage)

Salvia apiana ‘California White Sage’

(Bee Sage, Sacred Sage)

One of the most revered species of Sage, Salvia apiana ‘California White Sage’ is a cornerstone of the coastal sage scrub habitats of Central and Southern California, as well as Baja California. This majestic Salvia has been widely used in a variety of ways by generations of Native American people groups living along the Pacific Coast, including our local Northern Chumash Tribe. The Chumash Tribe historically inhabited California’s coastal regions of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties. They have deep roots in these regions and continue to enrich their local communities with their kinship and culture.

Salvia apiana is an evergreen shrub that grows 3-5 feet tall and wide. The woolly, silver-gray leaves are elliptical in shape and grow 3-4 inches long. The foliage and stems of this Salvia are extremely aromatic, making them useful for “smudge” sticks that are used as an incense for ceremonial purposes. The lavender-tinged white flowers grow in whorls along unbranched, pinkish-gray stems that can reach up to 2 feet long. These flowers attract a variety of bees including Native Bees, Western Honey Bees and Bumble Bees. Hawk Moths, Wasps and Hummingbirds also find the flowers irresistible.

The bright silvery-gray foliage makes these perennials ideal for “Moon Gardens” as they reflect the light of the moon. Landscape lighting, when positioned correctly will make these beauties really stand out in the garden at night. ‘California White Sage’ prefers well drained soil and limited summer water once established. It is hardy to 15°F and the Sunset Climate Zones are 7-9, 13-24. We are currently growing Salvia apiana ‘California White Sage’ in 1 gallon containers.

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