All about Texas Sage
If you have ever driven through the southwestern United States, you have probably seen Texas sage. It is a very popular plant in hot climates. As you might have guessed, Texas sage originated in Texas, but also in New Mexico, and across the border, in northern Mexico. It is an evergreen shrub, with grayish-green leaves and purple flowers.
Texas sage also goes by the names of Texas Ranger and Silverleaf. It’s in the Scrophulariaceae family and the genus is Leucophyllum. What is great about Texas sage is that you only have to plant it once. It’s a perennial which will bloom on its own every year. It is a very low maintenance plant and it does extremely well in hot and dry, even drought-like conditions. Try it anywhere in your yard where you have poor soil and other plants have refused to grow.
If you want a shrub that has no pests and whose only disease is root rot, (if it gets too wet,) then you will love Texas sage. And, if you are dissatisfied with the purple-colored flowers, it is possible to find plants with silvery or green leaves and pink or white flowers in addition to the purple. The shrub can grow anywhere from four to eight feet high and is a perfect plant to shelter your yard from onlookers. It can reach six feet across and is often used as a hedge or border for a yard.
Texas sage propagates well if you grow it in a sphagnum peat and perlite mix of about half and half. You should take cuttings from the newest growth after all of the flowers have gone by. Your planting mix should be moist but not overly wet. The cuttings will root in approximately one month. Texas sage can also be grown from seeds. Just push them gently into a moist planting medium and you should have seedlings in four weeks.
Among the best Texas Sage cultivars are Thunder Cloud (lots of purple flowers), Rain Cloud (purplish-blue flowers), White Cloud (white flowers), Sierra Bouquet (purplish-blue flowers and silver leaves), Compactum (a smaller bush with pink flowers), Alba (white flowers), and Green Cloud (green foliage with white flowers).
In states other than Texas, Texas sage is most often called purple sage. The only care it needs is occasional watering, particularly during a drought, and a little bit of pruning. The plant should be pruned in the time period after it has flowered. Plant in well-drained soil and in a place in your yard where the shrub will get full sun. This purple sage can take pretty cool temperatures, down to around 12 degrees. It does best in USDA zones 8-10.
While some people are able to grow Texas or purple sage in the Southeastern part of the United States, for the most part, the area receives too much rain. Whenever the plant gets too wet, it develops root rot. It has no such problems in East or South Texas. In fact, in some places it is called an invasive plant. Among its benefits is the fact that it is a great deterrent for deer, because they hate the smell of its leaves. It also is considered to be one of the best plants at attracting butterflies.
The sage plant is the one mentioned in Zane Grey’s book, “Riders of the Purple Sage,” and the one used as a name for the popular rock band, “New Riders of the Purple Sage.” It is also a popular in the names of businesses, from farms to computer programming companies. If you are traveling in the Southwestern part of the United States, be on the lookout for this beautiful and hardy flowering plant.