4" Winifred Gilman Blue Sage


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Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman' (Sage) - A selection of California Blue Sage, Salvia clevelandii, that grows to 3 to 4 feet tall and wide with aromatic gray-green foliage and profuse golf ball-shaped clusters of electric blue-purple flowers. The flowers arise from dark ruby red calyces that form in whorls along the top foot of each reddish stem tip - flowering commences in late spring or early summer and continues for about a month. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil. This native chaparral plant will survive on very little to no supplemental irrigation but plants are more attractive if given an occasional deep watering, so long as the soil drains well. Hardy to at least 15 F and reported by Las Pilitas Nursery as hardy to 10° F and a bit lower in the right location. To keep a dense and more attractive plant, cut back in the late fall to early winter by about a third or more when young - once mature with woody stems, only tip prune. The foliage of Blue Sage has a very nice fragrance that has been described as "clean, like a sweet desert morning" and the flowers to emit a pleasant aroma - both fresh and dry calyces are useful in flower arrangements. Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman' is considered to be a true selection of blue sage. The similar sages such as 'Allen Chickering' and 'Whirly Blue', which both are more open, taller and have paler blue flowers are considered to be Salvia clevelandii hybrids. Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman' was originally released without collection data at a Strybing Arboretum (now the San Francisco Botanic Garden) plant sale in 1964, named for one of their volunteer propagators. It was later noted growing in a Berkeley, CA garden by Sherrie Althouse and Phil Van Soelen of California Flora Nursery and was introduced into the California nursery trade by them in 1990. We have grown this great plant since 1993 and until 2007 misspelled Winnifred's name as "Winifred". Our thanks to Betsy Clebsch for correcting this error, though we note that this misspelling seems to now be widely used by many nurseries now growing this plant - our apologies to Winnie!  The information displayed on this page is based on research conducted about this plant in our library and from reliable online sources. We also consider observations that we have made of it growing in the nursery's garden and in other gardens, as well how it has performed in our crops out in the nursery field. We will incorporate comments that we receive from others as well, and welcome hear from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they have knowledge of cultural information we do not mention that would aid others in growing Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman'.


California’s varied climate can support a wide variety of plants from around the world. However, our state’s unique and beautiful native plants are often overlooked in garden design. Instead, water-intensive exotic plants that do not support the local ecology often taken the place of California native plants in people’s gardens.

You can enjoy many benefits while bringing in the beauty of California into your own garden by using water-wise native plants. Some of these benefits include:

Water Savings: A sustainably designed, drought-tolerant native garden can use 85 percent less water per year than a traditional landscape with turf and high-water use plants. Also, once native plants are planted, a well-designed drip irrigation system is more efficient than traditional sprayhead irrigation and saves watering costs. Once established, many California native plants need little additional watering beyond normal rainfall.

Maintenance Reduction: A water-wise California native garden can reduce maintenance dramatically once it is established. Eliminating the need for mowing and fertilizing lawns, applying pesticides and fertilizers, and frequently watering thirsty plants leaves you more time to enjoy your garden and other activities.

Wildlife and Biodiversity Increases: Adding native plants helps create functioning ecosystems in the garden by attracting the native insects and wildlife that depend upon these plants. Native plants and animals have developed relationships with each other, and research has shown that native wildlife prefers native plants over non-native plants. Native pollinators can improve fruit and vegetable production in your home garden, and beneficial native insects, reptiles, birds, and small mammals can manage pests such as mosquitos, ticks, and aphids.

Landfill Waste Reduction: The reduction in landscape maintenance, such as mowing a lawn, means that less green waste will be produced per year. Because many cities and homes are not set up for composting, most green waste is not composted. Gardening with native plants means less waste going into landfills.

Pesticide Use Reduction: Native plants have not only developed their own defenses against many pests and diseases, they can also attract beneficial insects and animals that attack pests. Reducing or eliminating pesticides keeps toxins out of our waterways and soil, improves environmental and human health, and allows natural and beneficial pest controllers to thrive.

Connection to a California Sense of Place is Enhanced: A garden planted with species unique to California creates a strong sense of place and helps connect you more deeply to the natural world. Including native plants in your garden connects you to the unique biological web created by the environmental history and culture of the land your home sits on. These small patches of habitat become part of a larger collective that nurtures and sustains a living landscape that not only enhances a sense of sanctuary for you, but for the plants, insects, birds, and other animals that have always lived there.


By gardening with native plants, you can enjoy many benefits – including water savings – while giving your home garden an appealing look that reflects California’s unique natural landscapes.


Growing Works is an innovative,  California native and drought tolerant plant nursery established to provide job training, employment, and horticultural therapy to people with mental health challenges.

The nursery helps fulfill an ever-present local need for high quality, drought-tolerant California native and Mediterranean plants and succulents.  Growing Works is based on a thriving and sustainable business model where plant sales, job training services, and donations from supporters contribute to its success.

Curbside Pickup or Local Delivery Only

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