Beautiful Flowers and Fragrant Foliage….Try This Lesser Known Plant


I have been enjoying sharing with you some of my favorite lesser-known plants.  These are plants that are not used enough in the landscape and can brighten up an otherwise boring landscape filled with over-used landscape plants such as Lantana, Dwarf Oleander, etc.  My last post featured the beautiful Valentine shrub.

I am very excited to talk about this lesser known plant.  Let me introduce you to chaparral sage (Salvia clevelandii).

Lesser Known Plant

Isn’t it beautiful?

Years ago, I planted the chaparral Sage above along with many others around a golf course.  Their blue-purple flowers were a definite focal point in the spring time landscape.

Lesser Known Plant

The striking flowers begin to form in the spring and continue on into early summer.

This shrub is native to San Diego county and performs well in well-drained soil.

Like most of my favorite plants, this flowering shrub is low-maintenance.  There are also many other reasons that I think you should definitely try this out in your garden:

Hardy to 10 degrees F.

And so mine is still green despite temps dipping into the low 20’s this winter.

Has a beautiful, naturally round shape.  Only requires pruning by at least 1/2 its size in February and removal of spent flowers in the summer.

Hummingbirds will be congregating around the beautiful flowers.

Reaches a mature size of approximately 4′ x 4′.

The foliage is highly fragrant and is attractive even when not covered with flowers.

Lesser Known Plant

In the low deserts, it is wise to place the shrubs where they will receive filtered shade in the afternoons.  In high desert locations, they can be set out in full sun.

The foliage is quite fragrant and while most people enjoy its fragrance, some do not.  So, be sure to find a Chaparral Sage plant ahead of time to make sure that you enjoy the fragrance as much as I do before you buy some for your garden.

The fragrance is best enjoyed from a short distance, so I recommend not planting right next to walkways or windows.

Chaparral Sage looks great when planted near yellow, red or pink flowering plants.

I hope you will decide to try this shrub out in your garden.  I absolutely love mine.


For those of you who are determined to be trendsetters in your garden, try these beautiful, fuss-free plants in your garden.  

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
11 replies
  1. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    First of all, I love your blog- you teach me so much, thanks so much for that! This shrub is so beautiful! I'd love to put one in our backyard..hopefully we will do something with it soon. Can you describe what it smells like?..I'm looking forward to smelling one soon lol.

  2. debsgarden
    debsgarden says:

    I don't know if it will grow here, but I do like sages and I have grown several kinds. I like the smell of sage. Does this one have the traditional sage smell? It is a beauty!

  3. says:

    Hello all,

    It is hard for me to describe the scent, but it definitely does have some traditional sage undertones.

    I hope you try it out! Look for one in your local nursery and smell the leaves.

    Thanks for your question 🙂


  4. Brad
    Brad says:

    One of my favorite Ca natives. And I think it's a great idea that you're posting about lesser known plants. Too often when I offer to help friends with their yards I get the same 3 or 4 plants that they really love. And I can't help but groan. Not that the plants are bad, just that they are everywhere. Thanks for doing your part to add some variety.

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