>Leucophyllums- shockingly strong and beautiful!

>I love Texas sage. Ever since I moved down to Austin I have been drawn in by it’s silver-blue foliage and sudden flowering triggered by rain. My first house here had Silverado Sages along the sides and they grew beautifully tall, even keeping their bushiness thanks to more natural-shaped pruning. The more heat they get, the better they look. And they are beautifully drought-tolerant. They bloom in repeated cycles, summer to fall, usually triggered by some rain showers. And it prefers full sun and alkaline soils. What more could an Austinite ask for?

My current house has Texas sages in the front, back and, my favorite, out on the corner of the lot. But the ones on the corner of the lot are a bit greener than “Silverado ” and have a more vivid purple flower. Not the lavender you see on others. And ever since I moved in, my sages have always lagged behind on blooming compared to others in the neighborhood. Everyone else’s blooms and mine don’t Then about a 2 weeks later, literally overnight, my corner sages light up in purple.

Here they are the first day of blooming.

And that brings up something I have not liked about leucophyllums-legginess. I have never really liked the look of leucophyllums when they are formally trimmed as a hedge. The bottom becomes very bare and the blooming seems to get sacrificed as you see blooms only right along the top. I like to prune them retaining a very natural shape.

Texas Sage is also knows as Texas Ranger, Texas Rain Sage, Cenizo, Texas Silverleaf, Ash-bush, Wild Lilac, Purple Sage, Senisa, Cenicilla, Palo Cenizo, Hierba del Cenizo and Leucophyllum frutescens Scrophulariaceae

I highly recommend these plants for your landscape in Central Texas and encourage you to let them stay a bit more natural. Look for varieties that will stay fuller rather than getting leggy along the bottom. You can get a variety of sizes, leaf colors, and bloom colors depending on your selection so research your variety before you buy it to make sure it meets with your space and aesthetic needs.

Here’s more about Texas Sage from Texas A&M:
Cenizo is one our most outstanding native plants, a medium-sized shrub with a compact form, delicate silvery to gray-green leaves, and stunning displays of prolific purple blooms from summer into fall. It is sometimes called “barometer bush” because flowering is triggered by humidity or high soil moisture after rains. Cenizo’s native range is from Northern Mexico through the Rio Grande Plains and Trans-Pecos, sparingly in the Western Edwards Plateau, into New Mexico. It grows on rocky caliche slopes and stony, calcareous soils. It is extremely drought and heat tolerant and maintenance-free once established. Cenizo is often used along highways and in commercial landscapes because of these qualities. However, to thrive in a landscape, it must have full sun and very well-drained alkaline soil. Although watering in dry summer months will make it grow faster, overwatering or poor drainage will quickly kill it, and shade will promote leggy growth and less flowering. In areas of high rainfall or poorly drained soil, cenizos should be planted in raised beds. If they are planted in acid soils, dolomitic limestone should be added. Fertilizing is unnecessary. Cenizos are not susceptible to pests or diseases other than cotton root rot, which well-drained soil will discourage. Sheared cenizo hedges are a common sight, especially in municipal plantings, but maintaining its natural shape with only light pruning produces a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing shape. This can be done in late winter or early spring before buds form, and possibly again in early summer. Cenizos are hardy to 5 degrees F. Leaves may become sparse in winter but will reappear with warmer weather. In 1982 Benny Simpson released two unusual selections: ‘White Cloud’, with white flowers, and ‘Green Cloud’, with green instead of silver leaves.

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One thought on “>Leucophyllums- shockingly strong and beautiful!

  1. >It is a beautiful plant! I can’t help but think it almost always pays to go native…now, even though I grow non natives, too!

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