Jerusalem Sage: Rising Phlomis Fruticosa

Jerusalem sage is a stunning semi-perennial, drought-tolerant addition that provides splashes of brilliant 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 similar to many different Mediterranean herbs that flower, it finds properties in herb, meadow, and pollinator gardens in a lot of North America too. 

Probably the most extraordinary botanical traits this plant shows is its beautiful pubescent stems and leaves which can be tender to the contact. One other fascinating attribute is the plant’s operate in culinary settings. Whereas it’s not typically the chosen sage for cooking, it really works very like culinary sage.

So, let’s take a dive into this beautiful 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
Jerusalem sage produces a proliferation of flowers. Supply: Swallowtail
Frequent Title Jerusalem sage, Shrubby Jerusalem sage, Phlomis, lamp wicks, lamp wick plant
Scientific Title Phlomis fruticosa
Household Lamiaceae
Peak & Unfold As much as 3 ft tall and 5 ft huge
Gentle Full solar to partial shade
Soil Considerably fertile, well-draining soil
Water 1 inch per week (typically much less)
Pests & Ailments Leafhoppers, fungus-resistant

All About Jerusalem Sage Vegetation

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

Phlomis fruticosa is often often called 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 huge, and have wrinkled leaves which can be ovate. Each the grayish-green leaves and stems are lined in wonderful hairs, giving them a really tender and light-weight look in no matter panorama they develop in.

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

Phlomis fruticosa has a detailed 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 components 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 crops in winter, enticing seed heads stay, which provide not solely an fascinating sight within the backyard however a habitat for bugs and meals for birds. When in bloom, the flowers are a superb 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 stunning 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. In actual fact, the genus title, Phlomis is Greek for ‘flame,’ which might confer with its sensible use or the brightness of its flower. It obtained the Award of Backyard Advantage from the Royal Horticultural Society, and it’s so value rising for its beautiful flower colour 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 easy! Comply with these tips, and also you’ll have brilliant yellow flowers in your backyard from late spring, by means of 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 finest in full solar however tolerates some gentle shade if full solar is inaccessible. 6 to eight hours of full solar is finest usually. Nonetheless, in hotter areas, present some gentle shade within the laborious afternoon gentle. In cooler areas, something lower than full solar can produce leggy development and stunt the plant by means of the rising season. 

Jerusalem sage is hardy in USDA zones 8 by means of 10, however the plant stays semi-perennial in zones 5 by means of 7. Within the arctic chilly of zones 3 and 4, the plant could 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. 

Should you reside close to zone 10 or someplace vulnerable to heatwaves, present gentle shade by planting it in a dappled solar space or transferring taller crops close by. Within the chilly, enable 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 important for Jerusalem sage crops shortly after transplanting, these drought-tolerant shrubs gained’t want a lot afterward. As a baseline, about 1 inch of water per week is nice, 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 reduce in winter. Since Jerusalem sage is delicate to chilly, water slowly and deeply forward of a freeze to about 3 to 4 inches under the soil line. Use both drip irrigation or soaker hoses. Cautious hand watering is okay, too, so long as it’s sluggish and targeted on the base of the plant fairly than its leaves. 

Water within the morning or at nightfall. Morning is preferable, as it will give the roots of Jerusalem sage crops 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’ll be able to amend the soil whenever you transplant in late spring or fall by including just a little little bit of well-rotted compost to the planting website. 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 sorts, offered 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 crops don’t want fertilizer to thrive, however yearly in fall, you’ll be able to add well-rotted, fertile compost to the bottom of the plant on the soil’s floor to help with nutrient replenishment. Compost accommodates primary and hint vitamins wanted to help additional development in early spring. 

Pruning Phlomis fruticosa

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

Winter pruning, particularly in colder areas outdoors the plant’s hardiness zone vary, is essential. Minimize 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 might not be crucial. 

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 a number of weeks earlier than the final frost. 

Maintain the seeds at about 65° F. They’ll sprout in roughly 10 weeks. Once they attain 3 to 4 inches tall, spend a few weeks steadily 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 among the most essential abilities to know for perennial gardening. Take a look at the plant, and evenly 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 basis 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. Minimize them cleanly with a pruning knife – we advocate the Felco 322 snips – and transplant the sections in desired areas.

Mound layering is a superb alternative for propagating this evergreen too. Discover a stem with tender inexperienced development, and make a slight lower on that stem, conserving the stem intact. Then layer backyard soil round and on high of the tender stem. In a number of weeks, that stem ought to have developed roots. It might 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 crops. Seek for stems on the higher half of the crops with new inexperienced development at their ideas. Utilizing sanitized pruning shears, take away a reducing from the stems from the backyard as desired. Then take away the underside two to a few 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 lower stems in rooting hormone and press them into the pots. Maintain the soil moist, and in a number of weeks, you’ll have new development on the ideas of the lower stems.     

Troubleshooting Jerusalem Sage

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

There aren’t many points to take care of with regards to these deer-resistant and largely pest-resistant backyard crops. Nonetheless, there are some things to look out for. Let’s check out these now. 

Rising Issues

You will have a problem with an awesome quantity of Phlomis relying on what number of crops you may have grown. Should 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 could get leggy and lack flower petals as the ideas lengthen and seek for gentle. Chances are you’ll expertise a ton of unfold in the event you don’t clip again the blooms in autumn. It’s wonderful to go away the seed for native wildlife to devour in cooler months. Word 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 might unfold illnesses to the leaves and flower stems of your plant as they hop round. 

Should you search and discover them, spray the sage planted in your backyard with water. Maintain the realm round your plant clear, and dirt this evergreen with diatomaceous earth or kaolin clay to maintain them away. Maintain 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 crops. 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. 

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

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 preserve your sage evergreen and promote the attraction of butterflies and different pollinators to the intense yellow flowers. 

Incessantly 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 colour supplies a splash of colour in a flower backyard, in addition to a pollen supply for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. You may as well use the leaves like culinary sage in cooking.

Q: Is Jerusalem sage invasive?

A: Technically, it’s not, however the plant could be a beast within the backyard, spreading out after a number of summer time seasons. Deadhead the flowers to manage among 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 useless 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 technique 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. 

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