Plant of the Month – November


Great Basin Sage
Big Sagebrush
Artemisia tridentata

  • Plant Form: Evergreen shrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 3-6 ft. tall x 3-10 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Bloom Time: Summer (July-Aug), Fall (Sept)
  • Native to: Western North America, Canada, Baja California
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to -20°F

This high-desert native offers a silvery contrast to dark green landscaping as well as providing aromatic foliage. While Great Basin Sage is an extremely low-water-use shrub, normally growing 3-6 feet tall, along rivers or other wet places it can reach 10 feet tall.

Great Basin Sage is a study in silver and gray. This shrub forms the primary vegetation across vast stretches of the Great Basin desert. A member of the sunflower family, it develops a woody trunk that twists in age and becomes picturesque, reminiscent of a bonsai specimen. Spikes of tiny, pale yellow flowers are inconspicuous. Silvery, felt-like hairs cover the wedge-shaped leaves that have 3 to 5 teeth at their tip. The foliage is extremely aromatic, and is used to make smudge bundles for cleansing and purifying. In fact, this sagebrush’s pungent fragrance, especially after a desert rainstorm, is one of the high desert’s signature aromas. Prune out old stems periodically to encourage attractive new growth. Its silver foliage adds texture and light to the landscape, and sets off nearby dark green plants. This plant is valuable to wildlife and butterflies, and is useful on banks and slopes, or as an informal hedge, groundcover, or screen.


Check out our “Garden Tasks” for November