Salvia Species, Black Sage, California Black Sage, Honey Sage

Salvia mellifera

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salvia (SAL-vee-uh) (Info)
Species: mellifera (mel-IF-er-uh) (Info)
» View all varieties of Salvias




36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


Unknown - Tell us


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

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Blooms repeatedly




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Bonsall, California

Calabasas, California

Glendora, California

Los Angeles, California

Menifee, California

Mountain View, California

Oak Park, California

Oakland, California

Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Sacramento, California(2 reports)

San Diego, California(2 reports)

San Pedro, California

Winchester, California

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 4, 2018, floramakros from Sacramento Valley, CA wrote:

The king of sages. If you want a very impressive 6 ft plus tall sage with thick woody branches that loves dry heat, full sun and little water, this is the species for you. Produces masses of pale blue whorls of flowers that bees go crazy for, in turn they make one of the most delicious honeys on earth from the plant's nectar. Very long-lived and tough as nails, my oldest plant from seed is the only sage that has survived in my driest desert flowerbed next to Opuntia cacti, a Mexican Palo Verde tree, 2 Boojum trees and agaves. Amazing crinkled texture on their leaves combined with a wonderful scent when the leaves are crushed or you trim the shrub. In the worst drought years, the leaves will curl up before turning yellow and dying, the curling is a great signal to gardeners to give it a dri... read more


On Jul 12, 2013, Siirenias from Oak Park, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

A prolific plant in California's chaparral.

While chaparral is often considered to be dry scrubland, Black Sage actually does best with a little deep summer water, and gets replaced in the driest of California's chaparral by plants like Coastal Purple Sage.

Even here it can thrive in partial shade or with a little extra water, and it's well worth it. It is said to attract native bees with its generous clusters of flowers which continue to show up, in ideal conditions, for months.

Once mature, cut back to new (greenest) growth to keep things photogenic. Spent flower heads and fading growth adopt a sable color, thus its common name.