Salvia leucantha, or Mexican Bush Sage, is a deciduous perennial sub-shrub native to Mexico. The plant will reach 3-4 feet (0.9-1.2 m) tall with an equal spread. The linear-lanceolate leaves are gray-green above and white underneath. Opposite leaves are 2-6 inches (5-15 cm) long by 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) wide. They have a wrinkled appearance on the top surface. The plants make excellent container plants and are hardy in USDA zones 8-11.
Blooming: Salvia leucantha blooms in the greenhouse in late summer to fall. The 6-10 inch (15-25 cm) tall flower spikes display the fuzzy purple calyx and its small whitish blooms. They are very showy, especially when planted with other fall blooming plants.
Culture: Salvia leucantha needs a well-drained potting mix and full sun to light shade. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of equal parts of loam and sand. The mix should be slightly alkaline. Plants are well watered and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. We fertilize them monthly with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season. In early to mid summer, the plants are cut back to produce more blooming stems and it helps the bush from looking scraggly. After blooming, the plants are moved to the cool rooms for winter. Temperatures are dropped to 48°F (9°C) for the duration of winter. Once stems have died back they are cut back to ground level.
Propagation: Salvia leucantha is propagated from cuttings, division of older clumps, and from seed.
Salvia leucantha was featured as Plant of the Week September 29-October 5, 2006.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.