Salvia dorrii Desert Purple Sage
Desert Purple Sage
Details18" tall x 24-36" wide (seed propagated). Desert Purple Sage is a western native gem that puts on a dazzling display of pale-blue and purple flower spikes in late spring. Little known outside of the circle of native plant enthusiasts, it is a fast growing, heavy bloomer best suited to the hottest, most challenging planting sites. This small growing shrub has highly aromatic, silvery leaves that are both beautiful and resistant to browsing mammals. Plant it where the soil is fast draining and rocky, sandy or loamy in texture. This is an excellent companion plant for late spring blooming Beardtongues.
|Common Name||Desert Purple Sage|
|Botanical Name||Salvia dorrii Desert Purple Sage|
|Zones||5, 6, 7, 8, 9|
|Light Requirements||Full Sun|
|Flower Color||Blue, Purple|
|Mature Height||18" tall|
|Mature Spread||24-36" wide|
|Bloom Time||Late spring to late summer|
|Ships As||Potted Plant|
|Planting Time||Spring / Summer, Fall|
|Soil Type||Sandy Soil, Average Soil|
|Soil Moisture||Drought Resistant / Waterwise|
|Amount of Rain||Less than 10", 10 to 20", 20 to 30"|
|Advantages||Deer Resistant, Attract Hummingbirds, Rabbit Resistant, Evergreen|
|Ideal Region||Western Only|
|Neonicotinoid-Free||Yes - Learn More|
|Ships to Canada||No|
Tips For Growing Salvia
Salvia (commonly referred to as ‘Sage’) represent a huge family of ornamental plants that attract a variety of pollinators to their nectar rich flowers. They are resistant to deer and rabbits.
- Plant in full sun.
- Plant native Western Salvia varieties in soil that is low fertility and well-drained.
- Plant Old World Salvia in a wide range of soils (loams, sand) including clay.
- Many spring-flowering varieties of sage will re-bloom in fall if deadheaded after the first bloom.
- New transplants need regular irrigation their first growing season to establish themselves. Once established they will need regular, deep irrigation during hot, dry weather.
- During fall garden clean-up, wait to cut back the plants until spring for improved cold hardiness.
- In colder USDA zones (zone 6 and below) it is essential to give Native Southwestern and Southwestern hybrids protection from the extreme cold their first couple winters in the garden. Mound up pine needles or fallen autumn leaves over and around the base of the plant.
Western Native Salvia: : It is from the Western US that we find our most beautiful native salvia species. For attracting hummingbirds, there are no finer flowers than the Western native sages. Typically, this group of Salvia prefer ‘lean’ (not very fertile), well drained soils. They will grow in dry clay conditions in arid climates but will rot out in clay soils where there is more than about 15 to 18” of precipitation annually.
Western Salvia include:
- Salvia greggii - ‘Furman’s Red’, ‘Cold Hardy Pink’
- Salvia hybrids - ‘Maraschino’, ‘Raspberry Delight’, ‘Ultra Violet’ and ‘Burgundy Seduction’.
- Salvia pachyphylla and Salvia dorrii is recommended for arid western gardens.
- Salvia azurea and Salvia reptans - Early fall bloomers with excellent cold hardiness.
To get established in USDA zones 5 & 6, Western Salvia (noted above) must be planted in spring or early summer, not in the fall. Protect your new plants over their first winter or two in your garden. Cover each plant with a generous pile of clean straw or pine needles. This allows the plant's crown (junction of root and branches) to mature and obtain maximum cold hardiness.
Old Wolrd Salvia: The Old World Salvia include some of the very best, most durable, longest-lived perennials. These salvia are an excellent choice for gardeners across most of the United States. ‘Old World’ Sages bloom primarily in shades of blue, pink and white. They are well adapted to cold climates and a wide range of soils including clay. The European Salvia are incredibly attractive to honey bees, many of our native bees and bumble bees as well as butterflies.
Old World varieties include:
- Salvia syslvestris'Lyrical Rose', 'May Night', 'Little Night', 'Caradonna' and 'Marcus'.
- Salvia daghestanica
- Salvia verticiliata
More in-depth guidance for growing Salvia: Planting Nectar Rich Salvia to Attract Pollinators to the Garden, Sage Advice, The Spectacular Salvia and Cold Hardy, Late Summer / Early Fall Blooming Sages.
View more Planting Guides, or download our complete Planting Guide for tips on caring for your plants when you receive your order, as well as planting instructions for Perennials, Spring-Planted Bulbs, Fall-Planted Bulbs, Cacti & Succulents, Xeric Plants and more.
Plant Shipping: Buy now and we will ship your order at the ideal planting time for your region. Most plant orders will arrive within 3-4 days, or less, of leaving our greenhouses. This prompt delivery is provided without additional express charges.
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USDA Hardiness Planting Zones
To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.
- If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
- If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).
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