Salvia, Dwarf Mexican Bush Sage 'Santa Barbara'

Salvia leucantha

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salvia (SAL-vee-uh) (Info)
Species: leucantha (lew-KAN-thuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Santa Barbara
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Tropicals and Tender Perennials


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


36-48 in. (90-120 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:


White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall


Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From woody stem cuttings

By simple layering

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Foliage Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

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

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


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

Huntsville, Alabama

Green Valley, Arizona

Sonoita, Arizona

Canoga Park, California

Castro Valley, California

Encinitas, California

Huntington Beach, California

National City, California

Oak View, California

Pacifica, California

Redwood City, California

San Clemente, California

San Diego, California

Santa Ana, California

Ventura, California

Bradenton, Florida

Chiefland, Florida

Douglas, Georgia

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Gonzales, Louisiana

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina

Antioch, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Bulverde, Texas

Coppell, Texas

Elgin, Texas

Fate, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Oakhurst, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 12, 2015, vizzy from Bradenton, FL wrote:

I just got a new Mexican Sage and was told to prune it back when I plant it to promote fuller growth. I pruned it down to about 7-8 in from the the base. Did I kill it? It's been about a wk since, do you know how long it takes to grow new shoots? Thank you


On Feb 20, 2011, annlof from Camarillo, CA wrote:

This is an attractive, xeric shrub which is very popular in Southern California. These salvias grow best when pruned to within six inches of the ground after flowering. In So Cal, this operation is usually performed in December. My plants are watered deeply once every three weeks (without any supplemental rainfall) in the summer. Although more compact than the variety "Midnight," the flower bracts aren't quite as vibrant a shade of purple.


On Sep 13, 2010, Ginger2tn from Knoxville, TN wrote:

One of my favorite summer plants. Would love to find seeds to plant. However it is an annual in Knoxville, TN and will not come back; must be replanted. Is also a late bloomer usually mid September. Also great for dried arrangements.


On Sep 28, 2008, crystalspin from Santa Ana, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is a magnificent plant. And it was more-or-less a dwarf for the first few years, too. But once it was established in our 9b-10a zone, it is every bit as big as the standard 'species' it replaced. However, I do think it is more floriferous than the other. My pic is #3 and the plant is 5' tall, and about 7' diameter, dense, and covered with flowers. It was cut to about a 30" dome 6 months ago. So I'm calling this a positive review, BUT if you *need* a dwarf, this isn't it!