General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 8 to 36 inches
Plant Spread: 24 to 36 inches
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Other: opposite, oval, 0.6 to 1.6 inches long, silver-gray with smooth margins
Flowers: Showy
Other: flowers occur in a series of showy, terminal clusters
Flower Color: Bi-Color: Blue/Purple
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: 1 to 6 weeks cold-moist stratification
Needs specific temperature: germination rates are higher with fluctuating diurnal temperatures
Depth to plant seed: 0.25 to 0.5 inches
Suitable for wintersowing
Can handle transplanting
Other info: 240,000 seeds per pound; 4 seeds are produced per flower
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Tip
Other: fall semi-hardwood
Pollinators: Moths and Butterflies
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Awards and Recognitions: Other: this is the sage referred to in Zane Grey's classic western ‘Riders of the Purple Sage'

Common names
  • Tobacco Sage
  • Desert Sage
  • Purple Sage
  • Grayball Sage
  • Salvia

Photo Gallery
Location: My Garden, Utah
Date: 2014-05-14
Location: My Garden, Utah
Date: 2015-04-28
Location: My Garden, Utah
Date: 2015-05-12
Location: My Garden, Utah
Date: 2015-04-28
purple buds at sunset
Location: My Garden, Utah
Date: 2015-04-28
Location: My garden in Albuquerque, NM Zone 7b
Date: 04.17.21
Pale blue flowers with soft purple bracts
Location: Denver, CO
Date: 2022-04-07
This plant is tagged in:

  • Posted by Marilyn (Kentucky - Zone 6a) on May 25, 2013 9:26 PM concerning plant:
    "Salvia dorrii (Tobacco sage, Dorr's sage, Mint sage, Purple sage) is a herbaceous perennial in the family Lamiaceae. It is native to mountain areas in the western United States and northwestern Arizona, found mainly in the Great Basin Range habitat and southward to the Mojave Desert, growing in dry, well draining soils. Some large native populations of this species also are found in the Aquarius Plateau region of Southern Utah.

    Salvia dorrii is a woody subshrub reaching 1-3 feet in height and width. The grey-green leaves are narrow and lanceolate, are tapered at the base and rounded at the tip, and have a smooth and round margin. They are generally basal, and about 1-3 cm long. They have an intense but pleasant, mildly intoxicating minty aroma, with the scent released when the foliage is handled or crushed. The inflorescence is made up of spike-like clusters of numerous purple flowers that are bilateral. The flowers remain on the plants after being pollinated, with the desiccated flowers remaining for some weeks or months after flowering. The inflorescences have a strong resemblance to miniature purple-colored Pussy willows.

    Individual tobacco sage plants form large, heavily branched hemispherical mounds 3-4 feet across in sand drainage flats along Hole in the Rock Road southeast of Escalante, Utah.

    Salvia dorrii is an uncommon and locally rare plant with isolated populations throughout its range and requires well drained and dry soil, full sun, little water, and high summer temperatures. In Utah, it only occurs in restricted and isolated populations in steep canyons and arroyos near Moab, Utah and Escalante, Utah. It is considerably more common in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. They occur on dry slopes in areas with sandy soils in drainage washes and banks of arroyos throughout the Mountain West which experience intermitment and very infrequent water throughout the growing season."

    Taken from wikipedia's page at:
Plant Events from our members
MrsBinWY On April 19, 2021 Seeds germinated
1 on 4-19-21; 1 on 4-20-21
MrsBinWY On April 17, 2021 Seeds sown
9 seeds on coffee filter @ room temp from NARGS April 2021, from J. Kucinova, Littleton, CO (80); T. Stireman, West Valley, UT (133); or Panayoti Kelaidis, Denver, CO (165)
MrsBinWY On April 13, 2017 Potted up
MrsBinWY On January 20, 2017 Seeds germinated
MrsBinWY On January 14, 2017 Seeds sown
Salvia dorrii v. carnosa, milk jug, cool room temp, seeds from Alplains, 9
lovesblooms On March 1, 2020 Seeds sown
winter sow
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