Yerba Santa has a rugged beauty that’s hard to beat. The aromatic evergreen foliage of thick, leathery and resinous dark green leaves, combined with gorgeous white to lavender, trumpet-shaped flowers in late spring that are often adorned with bumble bees and other pollinators, is the perfect combination for a drought tolerant native planting project. Yerba Santa typically inhabits dry, sun-blasted slopes and ridges, often in rocky soil, but can be found in a variety of habitats, from disturbed sites, valley bottom grasslands, foothill chaparral and woodlands, to high elevation rocky ridgelines. It can grow from 2-6′ tall, depending on the location and growing conditions, and when mature it can spread by woody underground rhizomes and form clonal stands. Yerba Santa is native to California and southern Oregon, where it is adapted to the Mediterranean climate and is a “fire-follower,” germinating readily by seed after wildfire events, and sprouting from its underground rhizomes. Yerba Santa is an important medicinal plant with significant ethnobotanical uses. The name Yerba Santa means holy plant in Spanish. Many Native American tribes and modern herbalists have long-used various parts of the plant for a wide range of ailments. Grow in full sun in moderately fertile soil with sharp drainage. Yerba Santa is currently classified in the Boraginaceae (Borage) family, and was formerly classified in the Hydrophyllaceae (Waterleaf family). Deer resistant.
Seed Germination Instructions
Germination will improve with heat treatment. Flash burn seeds lightly for 30 seconds with a handheld propane torch, or heat the seeds in an oven for 5 minutes at 190 °F. Alternatively, the seed coat can be scarified by rubbing the seeds between two pieces of sandpaper. Sow outside in fall to early spring.