Salvia dorrii v. incana Robusta

Robust Gray Great Basin Sage




Robusta is a select form of Salvia dorrii v. incana chosen for its large size, attractive foliage and a massive display of sky-blue flowers in late spring. Easy to grow, the shrub has silver evergreen foliage and is easily grown in any well-drained soil.

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Zones 5 - 8
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Bee Friendly
Bee Friendly
Rabbit Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Light Requirements
Full Sun
Full Sun
Annual Rainfall
Less than 10"
10 to 20"
20 to 30"
Ideal Region
Only in Western US
Bloom Time Late spring to early summer
Shipping Shipping begins in late February based on ground temperatures, warmest zones first. More shipping info Learn More…


Variety incana, originally collected from the Cascade Mts. of Washington, is a distinct form of this wide spread western native shrub. After growing it alongside other forms of Salvia dorrii, chief horticulturist David Salman, found ssp. incana to be notable for its upright growth habit, large, pure silver leaves and sky-blue flowers held in silver calyxes. A late spring bloomer, the plant really stands out when planted with cacti and other green leafed xeric plants. Highly recommended for gardeners plagued by deer and other browsing animals. (cutting propagated) Javelina resistant
Associated SKUs
HBLW721 (Plant - 2.5" deep pot) - Out of stock.
84710 (Plant - 5" deep pot) - Out of stock.
Common Name Robust Gray Great Basin Sage
Botanical Name Salvia dorrii v. incana Robusta
Zones 5, 6, 7, 8
Light Requirements Full Sun
Flower Color Blue
Mature Height 16-18" tall
Mature Spread 18-24" wide
Bloom Time Late spring to early summer
Ships As Potted Plant
Native Yes
Planting Time Spring / Summer, Fall
Soil Type Sandy Soil, Average Soil, Low Fertility Soil, Well-Drained Soil
Soil Moisture Very Drought Resistant / Very Waterwise
Amount of Rain Less than 10", 10 to 20", 20 to 30"
Advantages Deer Resistant, Bee Friendly, Rabbit Resistant, Native
Special Groups High Country Gardens Exclusive, High Country Gardens Introduction
Ideal Region Western Only
Neonicotinoid-Free Yes - Learn More
Ships to Hawaii, Alaska & Canada No

Planting Guides

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.

  1. Plant in full sun.
  2. Plant native Western Salvia varieties in soil that is low fertility and well-drained.
  3. Plant Old World Salvia in a wide range of soils (loams, sand) including clay.
  4. Many spring-flowering varieties of sage will re-bloom in fall if deadheaded after the first bloom.
  5. New transplants need regular irrigation their first growing season to establish themselves. Once established they will need regular, deep irrigation during hot, dry weather.
  6. During fall garden clean-up, wait to cut back the plants until spring for improved cold hardiness.
  7. 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. Spring-Planted Perennial and Bulb orders will ship from February 27-June 30, warmest zones first.

Most plant and bulb orders arrive within 2-6 days, or less, of leaving our greenhouses in Colorado. This prompt delivery is provided without additional express charges.

Grass Plugs Will ship at planting time in spring, beginning in late February.

Wildflower Seed & Grass Seed Orders ship within 2-3 days.

Standard shipping costs are $4.99 and up, depending on the size of the order.

Make Fast Even Faster: For ‘Rush’ same week delivery, please call customer service at 800-925-9387.

More Shipping Info

Reviewsby PowerReviews


by PowerReviews
High Country GardensSalvia dorrii v. incana Robusta

(based on 4 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars




of respondents would recommend this to a friend.


No Pros


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    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Avid gardener (3)
    • Primary use:
    • Personal (3)

Reviewed by 4 customers

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Low care


from southern Colorado

About Me Avid Gardener

See all my reviews

Verified Buyer


  • Accurate Instructions
  • Attractive
  • drought tolerant
  • Hardy
  • Healthy


    Best Uses

    • difficult conditions
    • Garden
    • Outdoors

    Comments about High Country Gardens Salvia dorrii v. incana Robusta:

    Planted on steep hillside. 1 1/2 years and it is still small (my experience is that all new world salvias are slower establishing) but it is placed in a challenging spot: full sun, a steep hillside that has coal seams under it and a surface of decomposed coal & soil (clay) mixture. Of the two ordered one is growing (slowly) and one did not make it. HCG cheerfully allowed me a credit for a replacement.

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    • Personal

    True grit


    from Canon City, CO

    About Me Avid Gardener

    Verified Reviewer


    • Fragrant
    • Hardy
    • Healthy


      Best Uses

        Comments about High Country Gardens Salvia dorrii v. incana Robusta:

        A tough attractive plant for the wild dry garden, but won't tolerate wet soil for long. I planted two and lost one during a rainy Spring. It was in clay soil that I had amended, but apparently not well enough. The survivor happened to be in a spot that had a lot of left over builder's sand. In a previous home with sandy soil I had no problems with Salvia dorriis. So, a great plant as long as the soil is gritty enough.

        (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


        Plant did not grow for me. Same size now as upon arrival


        from Prescott, AZ

        About Me Avid Gardener



          • Small In Size
          • Unattractive

          Best Uses

          • Outdoors

          Comments about High Country Gardens Salvia dorrii v. incana Robusta:

          Planted in Spring, in raised beds. No growth, no luck.

          • Primary use:
          • Personal

          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


          Summer casualty


          from Yucca Valley, CA

          About Me Getting Started



            • Wrong Zone

            Best Uses

              Comments about High Country Gardens Salvia dorrii v. incana Robusta:

              I have been gardening for many years, but am in a new location/zone (CA high desert) and am feeling my way along.
              I had high hopes for salvia dorii, but sadly they did not make it through the first summer, and never really got established.
              Locally grown salvias from the local nursery fared much better, dying back to the ground under the brief snow, and coming on strong this spring.
              Disappointed, but will try a different variety this year.

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              Q & A

              Suggested Companion Plants:

              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).

              Find Your Planting Zone:

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