Jerusalem Sage: Growing Phlomis Fruticosa

Jerusalem sage is a beautiful semi-perennial, drought-tolerant addition that provides splashes of vivid yellow flowers to gardens. Rising Jerusalem sage for herb or flower is comparatively simple, too, with the plant needing little care as soon as it’s established. 

Additionally recognized scientifically as Phlomis fruticosa, Jerusalem sage originates within the Mediterranean, the place it thrives in sandy and rocky soils alongside coastal cliffs and inclines. Very like many different Mediterranean herbs that flower, it finds houses in herb, meadow, and pollinator gardens in a lot of North America too. 

One of the crucial extraordinary botanical traits this plant shows is its pretty pubescent stems and leaves which can be mushy to the contact. One other attention-grabbing attribute is the plant’s operate in culinary settings. Whereas it’s not usually the chosen sage for cooking, it really works very like culinary sage.

So, let’s take a dive into this pretty perennial herb with a sunny flower! Right here we’ll talk about the origins of its golden summer time flower and discuss how one can develop it your self. 

Fast Care Information

Jerusalem sage produces a proliferation of flowers. Supply: Swallowtail
Widespread Identify Jerusalem sage, Shrubby Jerusalem sage, Phlomis, lamp wicks, lamp wick plant
Scientific Identify Phlomis fruticosa
Household Lamiaceae
Peak & Unfold As much as 3 ft tall and 5 ft broad
Gentle Full solar to partial shade
Soil Considerably fertile, well-draining soil
Water 1 inch per week (generally much less)
Pests & Ailments Leafhoppers, fungus-resistant

All About Jerusalem Sage Crops

Phlomis fruticosa flower
The golden flowers are vivid and cheery. Supply: treegrow

Phlomis fruticosa is usually generally known as shrubby Jerusalem sage, Phlomis, lamp wick plant, or Jerusalem sage. It originates within the Mediterranean area, primarily in Greece, Italy, Turkey, Albania, and areas of former Yugoslavia. Like many herbaceous perennials that flower in areas of North America, this plant tends to crop up in overgrazed and disturbed areas on the Mediterranean coasts.

The shrub consists of erect stems that attain as much as 3 ft tall, unfold 5 ft broad, and have wrinkled leaves which can be ovate. Each the grayish-green leaves and stems are lined in advantageous hairs, giving them a really mushy and lightweight look in no matter panorama they develop in.

The rising season of Jerusalem sage happens from spring via late fall, with a bloom time that begins in late spring and ends in late summer time. It’s at the moment that vibrant quick spikes of yellow flowers emerge from multi-stemmed shrubs. Every spike has about 20 flowers lining the surface, and every flower seems considerably like a snapdragon. 

Phlomis fruticosa has an in depth relative in the identical household, recognized botanically as Phlomis russeliana and generally as Turkish sage. This plant has an analogous native area however resides extra in Turkey, Syria, and western elements of Asia. It’s barely shorter by about 1 foot, and the leaves are extra pointed. The flower of this plant is very like that of fruticosa, although.

After the flowers die away on Jerusalem sage vegetation in winter, enticing seed heads stay, which provide not solely an attention-grabbing sight within the backyard however a habitat for bugs and meals for birds. When in bloom, the flowers are a wonderful alternative for a pollinator backyard, with their nectar attracting quite a few bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. 

Jerusalem sage leaves go effectively in soups and stews or combined into butter and bread for a beautiful taste akin to culinary sage. One other facet it shares with culinary sage (though every plant is in a unique genus) is that it stays evergreen in temperate and subtropic areas. 

The leaves on the higher half of the plant had been used as lamp wicks by historic peoples. Actually, the genus title, Phlomis is Greek for ‘flame,’ which might confer with its sensible use or the brightness of its flower. It acquired the Award of Backyard Benefit from the Royal Horticultural Society, and it’s so price rising for its pretty flower coloration that shines in summer time.  

Look after Drought-Tolerant Phlomis

Closeup of P. fruticosa flower and insect
A closeup of Phlomis fruticosa with an insect. Supply: ImAges ImprObables

Rising Jerusalem sage is straightforward! Observe these tips, and also you’ll have vivid yellow flowers in your backyard from late spring, via early summer time, into autumn in most areas. Let’s talk about gardening this native of Turkey in your area. 

Solar and Temperature

Phlomis fruticosa grows greatest in full solar however tolerates some mild shade if full solar is inaccessible. 6 to eight hours of full solar is greatest most often. Nevertheless, in hotter areas, present some mild shade within the laborious afternoon mild. In cooler areas, something lower than full solar can produce leggy development and stunt the plant via the rising season. 

Jerusalem sage is hardy in USDA zones 8 via 10, however the plant stays semi-perennial in zones 5 via 7. Within the arctic chilly of zones 3 and 4, the plant might have hassle returning yearly. It’s winter hardy all the way down to 23° Fahrenheit and tolerates excessive warmth situations, particularly with a little bit of shade to offset heat. It takes on injury in extremes, nevertheless, with ensuing affectation occurring on the grayish-green leaves in intense chilly and intense full solar in excessive warmth. 

When you reside close to zone 10 or someplace liable to heatwaves, present mild shade by planting it in a dappled solar space or transferring taller vegetation close by. Within the chilly, permit the foliage to die again in winter and supply a thick layer of mulch to maintain the roots secure till blooms return in late spring.

Water and Humidity

Whereas common watering is critical for Jerusalem sage vegetation shortly after transplanting, these drought-tolerant shrubs gained’t want a lot afterward. As a baseline, about 1 inch of water per week is sweet, particularly for these planted in full solar. Throughout temperate seasons, it gained’t be essential to water past a few instances per week. 

Enhance watering in early summer time and late summer time, and in the reduction of in winter. Since Jerusalem sage is delicate to chilly, water slowly and deeply forward of a freeze to about 3 to 4 inches beneath the soil line. Use both drip irrigation or soaker hoses. Cautious hand watering is okay, too, so long as it’s gradual and targeted on the base of the plant moderately than its leaves. 

Water within the morning or at nightfall. Morning is preferable, as it will give the roots of Jerusalem sage vegetation time to soak up the water because the soil warms. The plant adapts to various ranges of humidity, starting from totally drought-tolerant to the humidity of the Mediterranean coast.  


Your Jerusalem sage wants semi-fertile, well-draining soil. You possibly can amend the soil once you transplant in late spring or fall by including slightly little bit of well-rotted compost to the planting web site. If the native soil is compacted, aerate it and supply some agricultural sand or perlite to advertise drainage. As soon as established, your plant will thrive in most soil varieties, supplied they drain effectively. Phlomis fruticosa particularly loves gravel as a rising medium. It has a large pH tolerance, from mildly acidic to barely alkaline. 

Fertilizing Jerusalem Sage

Phlomis fruticosa leaves
Every thick leaf has a velvety floor. Supply: Anika Malone

Jerusalem sage vegetation don’t want fertilizer to thrive, however yearly in fall, you may add well-rotted, fertile compost to the bottom of the plant on the soil’s floor to help with nutrient replenishment. Compost comprises fundamental and hint vitamins wanted to help additional development in early spring. 

Pruning Phlomis fruticosa

Jerusalem sage loves heavy pruning in fall. This permits for extra vigorous development in its late spring season. If you don’t want the plant to unfold and sprout in late spring as a result of explosions of enticing seed heads in winter, deadhead them because the blooms fade. Alternatively, you may reduce them whereas they’re in bloom and put them in floral preparations to advertise a second flower interval. 

Winter pruning, particularly in colder areas exterior the plant’s hardiness zone vary, is essential. Reduce the woody stalks of the plant to the bottom with a sanitized pair of pruning shears. Then add a layer of mulch to its base to guard the roots. In USDA zones 8 to 10, mulch is probably not mandatory. 

Jerusalem Sage Propagation

Propagation by seed is a for much longer methodology to decide on than propagation by division or softwood cuttings. In heat or temperate USDA zones, sow seeds in spring in starter trays (like our Epic 4-cell and 6-cells). In colder zones, wait till just a few weeks earlier than the final frost. 

Preserve the seeds at about 65° F. They’ll sprout in roughly 10 weeks. After they attain 3 to 4 inches tall, spend a few weeks regularly hardening them off, and plant them within the backyard in an space the place you need to appeal to butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. 

Break up these evergreen shrubs in your panorama by division in spring. This is without doubt one of the most vital abilities to know for perennial gardening. Take a look at the plant, and calmly mark a 4 to 6-inch circle within the backyard with a shovel across the base of the plant.

Then use the shovel to softly pry the foundation ball above the backyard soil. Search within the root ball for locations the place horizontal runners join every stem of the plant. Rigorously divide these to have extra sage in your panorama. Reduce them cleanly with a pruning knife – we suggest the Felco 322 snips – and transplant the sections in desired areas.

Mound layering is a wonderful alternative for propagating this evergreen too. Discover a stem with mushy inexperienced development, and make a slight reduce on that stem, preserving the stem intact. Then layer backyard soil round and on high of the mushy stem. In just a few weeks, that stem ought to have developed roots. It will probably both be left to develop an entire new plant or transferred into one other space the place you’re gardening perennials.

Lastly, softwood stem cuttings develop new vegetation. Seek for stems on the higher half of the vegetation with new inexperienced development at their ideas. Utilizing sanitized pruning shears, take away a slicing from the stems from the backyard as desired. Then take away the underside two to 3 units of leaves, permitting 2 to three units to stay.

Fill a number of small pots equal to your cuttings with potting soil. Dip the reduce stems in rooting hormone and press them into the pots. Preserve the soil moist, and in just a few weeks, you’ll have new development on the ideas of the reduce stems.     

Troubleshooting Jerusalem Sage

Lamp wick plant flower
P. fruticosa is typically known as lamp wick plant. Supply: Swallowtail

There aren’t many points to deal with on the subject of these deer-resistant and principally pest-resistant backyard vegetation. Nevertheless, there are some things to look out for. Let’s check out these now. 

Rising Issues

You could have a problem with an amazing quantity of Phlomis relying on what number of vegetation you will have grown. When you’re like me and know you are likely to overplant your gardens, check out a plant calculator earlier than you start gardening with this Turkey native.

Monitor these Phlomis species planted in shade. They might get leggy and lack flower petals as the guidelines lengthen and seek for mild. It’s possible you’ll expertise a ton of unfold in the event you don’t clip again the blooms in autumn. It’s advantageous to go away the seed for native wildlife to devour in cooler months. Be aware that you could be want to tug up newly planted seeds from every germinated dried flower head in spring in the event you present habitat.


This deer-resistant plant additionally wards off most species of disadvantageous bugs as effectively. The one insect that may be an issue is the leafhopper, which may unfold illnesses to the leaves and flower stems of your plant as they hop round. 

When you search and discover them, spray the sage planted in your backyard with water. Preserve the realm round your plant clear, and dirt this evergreen with diatomaceous earth or kaolin clay to maintain them away. Preserve these off and away from the flower heads to keep away from harming pollinators.

Ailments of Jerusalem Sage

There are only a few to no illnesses to fret about when gardening Phlomis evergreen vegetation. They’re extremely immune to oak root fungus, which tends to crop up in years when there are heat-filled early summer time and moist winter months. 

Nevertheless, overwatered vegetation can expertise root rot in hotter USDA zones in early summer time. Be certain your sage backyard receives sufficient water within the sizzling summer time to assist your vegetation flower, however not a lot that it stands in water always. Equally, vegetation in shade could also be extra prone. 

The rule of thumb right here is to make sure the highest 3 to 4 inches of backyard soil are dry earlier than watering happens once more. This can maintain your sage evergreen and promote the attraction of butterflies and different pollinators to the intense yellow flowers. 

Regularly Requested Questions

Jerusalem sage flower
The Jerusalem sage flowers develop round a central stem. Supply: sarahracha

Q: What’s Jerusalem sage used for?

A: The intense yellow flower coloration gives a splash of coloration in a flower backyard, in addition to a pollen supply for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. You can even use the leaves like culinary sage in cooking.

Q: Is Jerusalem sage invasive?

A: Technically, it’s not, however the plant is usually a beast within the backyard, spreading out after a number of summer time seasons. Deadhead the flowers to regulate a number of the unfold. 

Q: Is Jerusalem sage hardy?

A: In most locations, sure! Jerusalem sages are good for a backyard of semi-perennials in zones 5 to 7, and a backyard of perennials in zones 8 to 10. 

Q: Is Jerusalem sage a salvia?

A: It’s not salvia, although it’s within the mint household with salvia. One lifeless giveaway is the construction of the flowers. 

Q: Ought to Jerusalem sage be deadheaded?

A: Sure! Deadhead the flowers within the early a part of the season to encourage blooms later in the summertime. Then deadhead every flower once more within the fall to forestall a spreading mass of Phlomis in your backyard. 

Q: Are you able to develop Jerusalem sage from cuttings?

A: You undoubtedly can, and it’s the quickest approach to propagate Phlomis fruticosa

Q: Is phlomis Fruticosa edible?

A: The leaves are edible and can be utilized very like culinary sage. 

Q: The place is phlomis Fruticosa native to?

A: This shrub is native to the Mediterranean. 

Leave a Reply

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings