06 October 2013

Mexican Bush Sage is Salvia leucantha

Mexican Sage is one of those incredible plants that returns each year in our zone 7 even though it is not supposed to (it's cold hardy to zone 8 but shhh it doesn't know). And, we are grateful. It isn't much of a show-off plant here as it is in other climates but the hummingbirds love it just the same.
It's actually native to Central America as well as Mexico. Some call it Velvet Sage because the leaves are velvety to touch.
Easy to grow, easy to propagate and easy to root divide, it is a total winner! The white flowers emerge from the lavender calyx. Hummingbirds seek it out as a food source. 
Mexican Bush Sage grows 3-5 feet by 3-4 feet, tall and wide in full sun. Afternoon shade is provided here.
Hardy in Sunset Zones 12-24, H1, H2. It is advised that you cut it back to the ground in the fall. After pruning, mulch it against heaving freezes (hardy to 15-degrees).
Pot those cuttings to make more plants!
There is also a variety with both purple calyx and flower that are called 'midnight' or 'all purple' available from Mountain Valley Growers - a reliable source for me. There is also a dwarf variety called Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara'.
They are all water wise plants, requiring little moisture over the course of the summer. Here's more information from my 2011 blog entry.

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