Growing California White Sage in Oklahoma


White sage is known by various names including winterfat, sweet sage, lamb's tail, feather sage and roemeria. The plant is a shrub known for its drought tolerance. Because most of Oklahoma is flat, rolling prairie with an average elevation of 1,300 feet, white sage will not grow well in most of the state. But in areas of western Oklahoma such as Black Mesa, white sage will grow very well.

Step 1

Select an area of Oklahoma to grow white sage in that is at least 2,400 feet above sea level. White sage grows at elevations between 4,400 and 8,000 feet above sea level. Most of the Oklahoma panhandle is above 2,500 feet in elevation, and has cool enough nighttime temperatures for White Sage to thrive. The panhandle also contains a clay loam soil texture that white sage thrives in.

Step 2

Choose a location on your property that is very dry for your white sage. California white sage is a drought tolerant plant that will do poorly if exposed to water. In the desert, white sage grows on the sides of hills and mesas, or in the bottom of dry valleys.

Step 3

Dig a planting hole for your white sage that is slightly larger than the plant's root ball. Place the root ball into the soil and cover it with dirt. Water very lightly. White sage thrives in dry areas that receive as little as 5 inches of rain yearly.

Tips and Warnings

  • White sage earned the nickname winterfat because the plant is a useful winter grazing plant for livestock. Steady, continuous grazing can harm white sage. Do not allow livestock to graze on the plant in late winter and early spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel


  • Oklahoma State University Extension: Soil, Vegetation and Climate in Oklahoma
  • Utah State University Extension: Intermountain Planting Guide
  • Texas A&M University Extension: Winterfat, Common Winter Fat, Roemeria, Lamb's Tail, Sweet-sage, White-sage, Feather-sage
  • The Oklahoma Atlas Institute: Elevation in Oklahoma

Who Can Help

  • University of Nevada Cooperative Extension: A Field Guide for Collecting Native Seeds in Nevada
Keywords: white sage Oklahoma, winterfat in Oklahoma, oklahoma panhandle plants, oklahoma high desert

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."