Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Blue Shrub Sage, Shrubby Blue Sage
Salvia ballotiflora

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salvia (SAL-vee-uh) (Info)
Species: ballotiflora

» View all varieties of Salvias

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Medium Blue

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Todd_Boland
Thumbnail #1 of Salvia ballotiflora by Todd_Boland

By BROforest
Thumbnail #2 of Salvia ballotiflora by BROforest

By BROforest
Thumbnail #3 of Salvia ballotiflora by BROforest


2 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive marasri On Oct 8, 2014, marasri from Dripping Springs, TX wrote:

I grow this on a steep limestone hill in calcareous soil in morning sun with no irrigation after the first year. It was slow to establish but lived through the 2011 drought. It is now starting to look really good in a wild shrubby sort of way. I did take some cuttings this year in spring and am planting two more.

Positive BajaBlue On Jan 16, 2010, BajaBlue from Rancho Santa Rita, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Texas narive in 26 Texas counties. Hummers love the blooms Habitat for painted lady caterpillars

Neutral htop On Jan 14, 2009, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. Blue Shrub Sage, Shrubby Blue Sage (Salvia ballotiflora) is also known by these common names: Mejorana, Medjorana, Shrubby Blue Salvia, Engorda-cabra and Crespa. It is endemic to the Edwards Plateau and South Texas Plains regions of Texas. It may be found on gulf prairies, brushy hillsides, thorn forests, chaparrals, thickets, brush lands and marshes in rocky, sandy, sandy loam, gravelly, caliche, gravelly or limestone soils. A much branched small shrub, it is between 2 to 6 feet tall (rarely to 8 feet) and 1.5 to 3 feet wide and prefers full sun. It can tolerate part sun and filtered shade; however, it becomes leggy. It can not grow in full shade. Its opposite, simple, oval, aromatic green leaves vary in size with moisture availability and are up to 1.6 inches long. From spring throughout the summer and into fall, small bluish to bluish-purple (rarely white) flowers are produced following a rainfall. These are followed by the fruit which are four nutlets within a brown folded calyx. In cultivation, too much fertilizer or water causes it to grow leggy. To keep it nicely shaped, pruning is necessary.

Although blue sage is not grazed by livestock or wildlife, it serves as cover for small mammals and Painted Lady caterpillars. It is a nectar source for a variety of butterflies. Its dried leaves have been used to flavor meats and other foods and can be brewed into a tea. Its seeds used by Indians for food.

Neutral frostweed On Dec 7, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Blue Shrub Sage, Shrubby Blue Sage Salvia ballotiflora is Endemic to Texas.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tucson, Arizona
Dallas, Texas
Dripping Springs, Texas
Edinburg, Texas
Rio Hondo, Texas
San Antonio, Texas

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