Cleveland Sage, Salvia clevelandii, is an excellent shrub (sometimes called a perennial) for desert landscaping in both Tucson and Green Valley. Hardy down to 10 degrees, the Cleveland Sage provides spring color. The purple flower spikes have an unusual shape, and attract both hummingbirds and butterflies. The leaves are aromatic, especially after rain.
While the Cleveland Sage can handle our hot temperatures, it does appreciate some afternoon shade in the hottest parts of Arizona. The most common variety of Cleveland Sage has gray-green leaves, although occasionally you might see one with leaves more on the green side. Cleveland Sage needs good drainage or will rot or suffer branch dieback. The spent flower stalks made nice floral arrangements.
Plant Cleveland Sage with other part-shade loving plants such as Red Salvia or Mexican Oregano. For more hummingbirds don’t forget to add some penstemon, the hummingbird’s favorite flower.
Reference: Mountain States Wholesale Nursery and Gregg Starr Nursery Plant Info Sheet, 1999.