California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Salvia columbariae - Chia

Salvia columbariae is one of the more recognizable wildflowers. I have heard that if you could hold a handful of Chia seed you could live forever. There are some truths in that statement. Salvia columbariae seeds are small and they taste great. I have struggled to hold more than a few chia seeds before taking a snack. I feel energized after snacking on the seeds from a few flowerheads. I take the nearly dried clusters of flowers once the blue flowers have faded and upend them and tap them a few times in my palm. I often get 50 or more seeds per ripened head. Sometimes a few beetles shake out as well. Hey extra protien. The beetles scatter pretty quickly leaving me to my fun. Salvia columbariae plants grow on well drained soil but fairly heavy soil. I have seen them on shale scree more than anything else in full sun. Chia roots into the clay covered by a mulch of shale. Salvia columbariae will flower in May and fruit in early June. The Chia plants annual and get to about 24 inches if they are really happy but more often only 6 inches. Chia is a welcome addition to the butterfly garden and it is a great source plant for sage honey. Nectar feeders like the Painted Lady, Umber Skipper Butterfly, Northern White Skipper, White Checkered Skipper, the Mournful Duskywing and the California Dogface Butterfly are regular visitors

Salvia columbariae, Chia

Flowers and foliage of Salvia columbariae, Chia.

Salvia columbariae, Chia

Flowers and foliage of Salvia columbariae, Chia. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.