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Products > Salvia 'Desperado'
Salvia 'Desperado' - Desperado Sage

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Salvia 'Desperado'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Light Pink
Bloomtime: Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Parentage: (Salvia apiana x S. leucophylla)
Height: 4-8 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 10-15 F
Salvia 'Desperado' (Desperado Sage) A large hybrid sage that grows to 6 to 8 feet tall (have seen reports to 10 feet!) with many long stems produced from the base of the plant that are clothed in aromatic white-gray foliage. These stems are terminated with wands of lavender-pink flowers arranged in 3 inch wide whorled clusters.

Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate very little if at all. Likely hardy to at least down to 10 F. In early summer the larger leaves from winter-spring growth drop, often turning rusty colors first, with the smaller and even whiter foliage remaining as plant goes into drought dormancy - avoid watering at this time. A great flowering accent plant or contrasting foliage plant where you have room. Attractive to bees and hummingbirds.

Salvia 'Desperado' is a hybrid between White Sage, Salvia apiana, and Purple Sage, Salvia leucophylla. It has foliage similar to White Sage but longer and narrower and flowers similar, but larger to those of Purple Sage. It was introduced by Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (now California Botanic Garden) in 1998. It is larger and has darker flowers than Salvia 'Oso Falls', a plant of this same parentage that San Marcos Growers introduced in 2003 but after comparing these two plants growing side by side at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden we determined that Salvia 'Desperado' was the more desirable of the two and we continued on only with it. We have continued to offer this large native hybrid sage from 2011 until 2022. 

This information about Salvia 'Desperado' 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.