Texas Sage

(Leucophyllum frutescens)

This summer the Texas Sage is as pretty as we’ve ever seen. Everywhere you look there are large Texas Sage shrubs with masses of purple blooms. Texas Sage is one of our most popular native plants, a medium sized shrub with several varieties to choose from including compact varieties. Texas Sage has soft silver to gray foliage with a beautiful display of long lasting lavender to purple blooms from summer into fall.

Texas Sage is native from Northern Mexico through the Rio Grande Plains, Texas and into New Mexico. It’s sometimes called  (barometer bush) because the blooming process is initiated by high humidity or excessive soil moisture before and after rain. It grows well in most soils and it is extremely drought and heat tolerant making it very easy to care for once established. Texas Sage is widely used along Texas highways and commercial landscapes because of it ability to withstand some of the harshest conditions. In 2005 Texas Sage was named the official Texas Native Shrub of Texas.

Environment

Texas Sage thrives in full sun and well drained alkaline soil. Watering in dry summer months will make it grow faster, but over watering or poor drainage can easily kill it.  Texas Sage needs at least 8 hours of sun to perform well, anything less will cause it to become leggy and bloom less.

Trimming

Sheared hedges are common, especially in commercial plantings, but maintaining its natural shape with light pruning produces a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing plant. This can be done during the late winter months or early spring before buds form, and again in early summer.

Disease Tolerant

Texas Sage is not susceptible to insects or disease other than cotton root rot. Root rot is caused from poor drainage, standing water, or over watering. Planting in a well drained sunny location will greatly discourage this.

Common Varieties

There are several different varieties of the popular native Texas Sage which differ in size, growth habit, and slightly different shades of foliage. Listed below are the most common Texas Sage varieties found in our local landscapes and in full bloom right now!

Texas Sage “Silverado”

Silverado is one of the most popular varieties of Texas Sage. This evergreen variety has a compact, rounded growth habit that is more full and dense to the base than other varieties. With rosy purple flowers that appear from June through October, again initiated by periods of high humidity and rain. Grows 6’ tall and 6’wide. Best planted in full sun. Drought resistant and tolerates poor soil.

Texas Sage “Desperado”

Desperado Sage is also a very popular drought resistant evergreen plant with silvery gray green foliage and lavender to purple blooms that appear from summer through fall. With its compact growth habit it works well planted as a specimen or a hedge in any sunny landscape. Water regularly; do not over water. Grows 4.5’ x 4.5’ tall and wide. Tolerates poor soil.

Texas Sage “Compact”

Compact Texas Sage is an evergreen shrub with silver to gray foliage. Compact plant growing to 36” tall and wide. Covered with magenta to lavender colored blooms mid spring through fall. Very drought tolerant as well. Plant in full sun for best growth and bloom performance. Water regularly; do not over water. Tolerates poor soil.

Texas Sage “Heavenly Cloud”

Heavenly Cloud is a slower growing variety with a dense growth habit. Heavenly Cloud also tolerates drought, heat and various soil types. Green to gray foliage adds a nice contrast to any sunny landscape.  Deep purple blooms appear in masses from early summer through fall. Grows 6-8’ tall and wide. Drought resistant and tolerates poor soil.

Texas Sage “Green Cloud”

Heavenly Cloud is an excellent variety because of its ability to bloom more often.  Growing to 6’ tall and 6’ wide. Best planted in full sun. Rose to magenta blooms atop dark green foliage from early summer through fall. Avoid over watering as this can damage the root structure of this variety. Drought resistant and tolerates poor soil.

Texas Sage “Rio Bravo”

Rio Bravo has a rounded growth habit. It is an evergreen shrub growing 4-7’ tall and wide. Rio Bravo has small gray leaves with flower in shades of orchid, lavender and occasionally white. Blooms summer through fall. Drought resistant and tolerates poor soil. Requires good drainage. No significant pest or disease problems.