Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: White Clary Sage, White Vatican Sage
Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica alba

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salvia (SAL-vee-uh) (Info)
Species: sclarea var. turkestanica alba
Additional cultivar information: (aka Vatican White)

» View all varieties of Salvias

One vendor has this plant for sale.

10 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

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


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:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

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

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By Happenstance
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By AnneCS
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3 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral tcs1366 On Mar 18, 2011, tcs1366 from Leesburg, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Growing these by seed for the first time. [On a heat mat] sown 3-11, germinated 3-13. I was glad to see they did not need a cold strat period. out of 4 seeds, 4 germinated.

Positive anniehonjo On Jun 28, 2008, anniehonjo from london
United Kingdom wrote:

I live in the UK and bought the seeds of this plant when I visited Kew Gardens quite a few years ago. I forgot about the seeds and only planted them last spring. The shoots and leaves emerged fairly quickly, growing steadily larger through the summer so that I had to repot them a number of times - I only have a small container garden which is completely pea-shingled, so all my plants need to be in pots. The salvias didn't flower last year so I assume they are biennial in this part of the world, although on one US site I notice they are described as flowering the same year. They are now in flower, doing extremely well, still in their pots, and have grown to about 3 feet. They are thirsty plants, but that could be because they are contained. Has anyone else attempted growing them as part of a container garden? Incidentally, I have always aimed for the English cottage garden effect wherever I have lived; ironically the only garden I have ever achieved this effect with is the present, no-soil one! When looking out from my kitchen window, I can't see the containers, just a lush conglomeration of hydrangea, nandina, hosta, lavender, rosemary, lobelia, echinacea, crocosmia, cistus and the lovely salvia sclarea turkestanica alba! If anyone out there has had success in maintaining these lovely plants in containers for more than one year, I would love to hear your method. I will have a go at over-wintering them, but I also plan to harvest the seeds this year in case I can't keep the plants going in their pots for a second year.

Positive GreatBarrington On Jun 24, 2006, GreatBarrington from Great Barrington, MA wrote:

This appeared in my garden last year--presumably from a mistaken order of what I expected to be a red salvia. All I see on my order form from Select Seeds (a company I do NOT recommend) is "clary sage." It's huge and a bit weird looking--my husband said it looks like something that might grow big enough to eat us. But in the right place, it'll be dramatic. I'm going to save seed and plant as a border plant next year. Apparently biennial, not perennial as stated here.

Neutral PurplePansies On Sep 23, 2004, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica alba has white bracts, compared to S. sclarea var turkestanica which has pink/purple bracts.

Positive Happenstance On Jun 17, 2004, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

The flowers are white and the floral bracts are white tinged with pink. Cut back when flowers fade so as to encourage perennial vigor.

Unlike some other Clary sage this does NOT have a bad aroma.


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

Albany, California
Clayton, California
Granite Bay, California
Ocala, Florida
Barbourville, Kentucky
Pikesville, Maryland
Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Leesburg, Virginia

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