Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Greek Sage, Greek Oregano, Three-lobe Sage
Salvia fruticosa

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salvia (SAL-vee-uh) (Info)
Species: fruticosa (froo-tih-KOH-suh) (Info)

Synonym:Salvia triloba

» View all varieties of Salvias

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

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:
Light Blue
Medium Blue

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


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By Rocky63
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1 positive
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Siirenias On Aug 8, 2013, Siirenias from Oak Park, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

A delightful little shrub with a moderate growth rate. I've seen one at a local Botanic Garden that has grown at least three feet high and is looking to keep on growing.

One of my favorite culinary sages, the mature foliage is a deep green, grows from a half inch to two inches, and has a satisfying fuzzy, rumpled texture. Depending on growing conditions and plant origin (it grows all over the northern coast of the Mediterranean in a variety of forms; several species were funneled into S. fruticosa with the help of rigorous observation), the leaves can pale with greater density of hairs. The juvenile foliage tends to have a prominent Lavender fragrance and somewhat scraggly appearance, but this is soon overgrown by deliciously spicy mature foliage.

The flowers are prototypical Mediterranean sage flowers, with a hooked upper lip and a downward-folding lower lip. The flower color can range from white to a deep violet, with a calyx that can vary from green to "oxblood red." They're said to attract bees, but they just can't compete with all the S. leucophylla, S. apiana and S. mellifera I have planted all over.

They can tolerate a huge variety of conditions, but seem happiest with good poor to moderately rich, draining soil and little to no shade.

Until you meet both S. fruticosa and S. officinalis close-up and properly labeled, one might find it hard to tell the two apart. In general, though, Dalmatian Sage has larger leaves in proportion to the overall size of the plant. I personally prefer Greek Sage for culinary use, but most professional chefs will side with Dalmatian Sage.


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

Oak Park, California
San Leandro, California

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