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Products > Salvia 'Dara's Choice'
Salvia 'Dara's Choice' - Sage

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Salvia 'Dara's Choice'
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: Garden Origin
California Native (Plant List): Yes
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Purple
Bloomtime: Spring
Parentage: (Salvia mellifera x S. sonomensis?)
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 3-4 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 10-15 F
Salvia 'Dara's Choice' (Dara's Sage) - A dense mounding shrub to 18 inches tall by 3 to 4 feet wide with narrow dark gray-green aromatic leaves. In late spring and early summer, the 8 inch tall spike rise above the foliage holding soft lavender-blue to violet colored flowers in tight interrupted whorls (verticillasters).

Plant in full coastal sun to light shade in a well-draining soil and irrigate very little once established. Is cold hardy to 10 to 15 F. A nice smaller sage that attracts bees and hummingbirds, but is not eaten by deer.

Salvia 'Dara's Choice' is thought to be a hybrid between Salvia mellifera and Salvia sonomensis. It was a seedling selected by Dara Emery at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and was named by Nevin Smith and introduced at his Wintergreen Nursery in Watsonville, California in 1980.

We grew and sold this nice hybrid sage from 1983 until 1989 but unfortunately there have been many imposter sages sold as 'Dara's Choice'. One of these that we acquired when later trying to rebuild stock on 'Dara's Choice' we renamed and sold as Salvia 'California Spreader' in 1996 and 1997.. Salvia 'Mrs. Beard' is another plant with this same parentage that might get confused with 'Dara's Choice' but neither it or the plant we called 'California Spreader' had the rich violet flowers of 'Dara's Choice'. In 1994 we introduced a seedling hybrid between Salvia 'Dara's Choice' and Salvia leucophylla 'Pt Sal Spreader' that emerged between these two plants at the City of Santa Barbara Fire Departments Firescape Garden that we grew from 1994 until 1999, calling it Salvia 'Firescape'

This information about Salvia 'Dara's Choice' displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.