With compact growth to only 2 ½ feet tall by 4 feet wide, Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara' is a vast improvement over the rangy growth typical of other Mexican sage cultivars. The rose-lavender colored flowers and purple calyces contrast nicely against the white stems of the inflorescence. In flower color it is intermediate between the darker cultivar called 'Midnight' and the white flowers or typical Salvia leucantha.
In February 1999 Kathiann Brown, a Santa Barbara gardener, contacted San Marcos Growers horticulturist Randy Baldwin about a Salvia leucantha seedling she had found in her personal garden. It was apparent from her observation of this seedling that it was distinctly more compact and basally branching than other Salvia leucantha. Randy encouraged Kathy to contact PlantHaven, a breeder's rights organization, that helps plant breeders bring their plants into the horticultural trade. The plant, which we called Salvia leucantha 'KAB' until a more suitable name could be determined was distributed to several nurseries for testing and it was agreed that San Marcos Growers and Native Sons Nursery would jointly released Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara' on June 15, 2000 and it received U.S. Plant Patent 12,949 on September 10, 2002.
More images and information on this plant can be found in our database listing at Salvia 'Santa Barbara'