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Products > Salvia leucophylla 'Point Sal Spreader'
Salvia leucophylla 'Point Sal Spreader' - Purple Sage
Image of Salvia leucophylla 'Point Sal Spreader'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Rose Pink
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 8-10 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Salvia leucophylla 'Point Sal Spreader' (Point Sal Purple Sage) - This low growing native California shrub typically remains under 2 1/2 feet high and spreads to 10 feet wide but can climb higher onto other plants or objects. It has silver white lance-shaped foliage with impressed venation on the upper side. The spring blooming flowers are rose-pink on stem circling whorled clusters called verticillasters. A very drought tolerant plant, particularly in coastal gardens.

Plant in full sun in moderately well-draining soil and water sparingly in summer months to maintain foliage or allow to go completely dry and allow for natural summer dormancy. This plant is not considered very cold tolerant but proved hardy to at least 18 F for short durations in our December 1990 cold spell. As with other native sages, to keep a dense and more attractive plant, cut back in the winter by about a third or more when young - once mature with woody stems, only tip prune after flowering. It is a great groundcover which will climb and clamber onto other shrubs, so give this plant some room. It is attractive to bees, hummingbirds and butterflies and is not particularly attractive to browsing mammals.

Salvia leucophylla grows naturally within the coastal sage plant community along the lower elevations of the coastal ranges of California south into Baja California. The type specimen for the species was collected near Santa Barbara, California by Scottish botanist David Douglas (who Douglas Fir was named for) who collected plants along the Pacific coast on three separate expeditions from 1823 until 1834. It was officially described by American botanist Edward Lee Greene in 1892.

The name Salvia comes from the Latin name used by Pliny for the plant and comes from the Latin word 'salvere' meaning "to save" in reference to the long-believed healing properties of several Sage species and the specific epithet is from the Greek words 'leukos' meaning "shining" or "white" and 'phyllon' meaning leaf for the white leaves. The common name Purple Sage refers to the pale purple flowers and it is also sometimes called Gray Sage for the whitish gray leaves.

This 'Point Sal Spreader' form was originally collected in 1982 on Point Sal (Santa Barbara County) by Dr. Dale Smith of University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB #82152). There have been other collections of Salvia leucophylla from Point Sal and several have been given the cultivar name 'Point Sal'. When we originally introduced this plant in 1986 ,we were unaware of the previous usage of the name and released this plant under the name 'Point Sal' . The following year we became aware that this name was in use for at least one other cultivar including a plant released about the same time as ours by Native Sons Nursery, so we renamed our plant 'Point Sal Spreader' to recognize this plant's low dense form. It is our belief that these plants remain mixed up in the California Nursery trade and often the names are incorrectly used as synonyms. 

This information about Salvia leucophylla 'Point Sal Spreader' displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.