Caring For Mojave Sage (Salvia Mohavensis)


Salvia mohavensis [SAL-vee-uh, moh-hahv-EN-sis] is a perennial sage growing natively in the Little San Bernardino Mountains and other dry regions throughout Nevada, including the Mojave Desert.

Salvia mohavensis is commonly called Mojave sage. 

Purple Mojave Sage (Salvia Mohavensis)Purple Mojave Sage (Salvia Mohavensis)

The low-growing shrub has gray-green foliage and pale blue flowers. It belongs to the Salvia family (Sage) genus, the largest genus in the mint family. 

As with many plants in this species, it produces a pleasant fragrance.

Mojave sage isn’t the hardiest sage plant. It requires specific plant care methods to grow successfully outside of its native region.

Mojave Sage Care

Size and Growth

Mojave sage is a low-growing shrub, typically reaching about 3′ feet tall. 

A single root system may spread up to 5′ or 6′ feet.

The plant features small evergreen leaves measuring just under one inch long. 

The leaves are often dark green but may appear gray.

The leaves are covered in fine white hairs creating a grayish appearance in the right lighting conditions.

Flowering and Fragrance

The flowers appear in spring and last until the start of summer. 

The small flowers are less than an inch in size and feature protruding stamens.

The petals are often white or off-white while the stamens are pale blue.

Light and Temperature

Salvia mohavensis prefers full sun or partial shade.

As with most salvias, Mohave sage grows outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 8 and 9. 

It can’t tolerate temperatures below 25° degrees Fahrenheit (-4° C). 

In cooler climates, Mohave sage should be grown as an annual container plant.

When grown indoors, ensure the plant receives ample sunlight. 

It can even tolerate some direct afternoon sunlight.

Watering and Feeding

The plant doesn’t require a lot of water. 

It’s easy to overwater Mojave sage. Water infrequently throughout the summer. 

In some cases, it only needs a light spritzing from a water bottle each week.

It isn’t drought tolerant. If the leaves start to drop or turn yellow, it needs more moisture.

Use liquid plant fertilizer once per month in the spring and summer to encourage healthier, fuller foliage and flowers.

Soil and Transplanting

Mojave sage grows best in soil with excellent drainage, such as cactus soil or succulent soil. 

To increase the drainage of regular dirt, add a combination of sand and fresh compost or peat moss.

Transplanting isn’t needed, except for container plants and when rearranging an outdoor garden. 

Transplant plants in the spring to limit stress on the roots.

Grooming

Salvia mohavensis doesn’t need grooming.

How to Propagate Salvia Mohavensis

Propagate with cuttings or by division. 

To propagate by division, dig up the soil around the plant and carefully remove the root ball.

  • Loosen the dirt to find the base of the root system. 
  • Use sharp pruning shears to cut the root into two or three sections cleanly.
  • Plant the divided sections in cactus soil or soil with excellent drainage. 
  • Water the plants deeply once after transplanting and then wait for new growth to appear.

To propagate using cuttings, take a basal cutting from the plant at the start of spring when active growth starts.

  • Use sharp hand pruners (Felco) to cut the shoot close to the base of the plant. 
  • The cutting should be at least 3″ to 4″ inches long and contain several leaves about to unfurl. 
  • Remove the lower leaves. 
  • Dip the tips of the cuttings in rooting hormone.
  • Add equal parts coarse sand and compost to a small pot. 
  • Place five to six cuttings in a 6″ inch pot and water the soil.
  • Place a bag over the pots and keep at room temperature. 
  • After the cuttings take root, transplant to permanent homes outdoors or in larger containers.

Salvia Mohavensis Pest or Disease Problems

Mohave sage isn’t considered invasive or toxic. The main concerns include pests and diseases. 

Spider mites, whiteflies, aphids, and thrips may attack Salvia mohavensis plants. 

  • Aphids create moldy growth on the leaves, while thrips cause silver-grey spots to develop.
  • Whiteflies limit growth by sucking food from the plant. 
  • Spider mites cause yellow spots to form due to decreased plant growth.
  • Treat these infestations by spraying the plant with water and neem oil mixture. 
  • If the pests remain, insecticidal soap may be needed to treat severe infestations.

Common diseases include leaf spot and powdery mildew

These issues tend to occur due to improper spacing, limited air circulation, and overwatering.

Improve air circulation by moving potted plants to a more open area of the home. 

To deal with spacing issues in a garden, transplant several plants to create more space.

Overwatering is often the result of poor drainage. 

Add sand to improve the drainage of the soil and cut down on watering.

Suggested Mojave Sage Uses

Salvia mohavensis is commonly grown in rock gardens and desert gardens with good drainage. 

The light blue flowers also help add color to outdoor landscapes in dry, arid regions or as potted plants in cooler areas.

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