Compact Texas Sage - Plant of the Month: July 2015

COMPACT TEXAS SAGE

Leucophyllum frutescens

Compact Texas Sage, aka, Leucophyllum frutescensThere is very little a gardener loves more, than to get 3.5 inches of rain during the hottest, driest part of the summer. The other day we had four days of beautiful, wonderful rain.  In the Texas Hill Country that is unheard of, but oh so very welcome.  It was the perfect storm -  a slow steady rain with an occasional downpour.  My favorite day and just what we so badly needed. The rains are scarce in the Compact Texas Sage, aka, Leucophyllum Frutescenssummer months so I always design my landscape plans with that xeriscape mentality. My garden shows a variety of plants that provide color in the summer months when things are sooooo hot and dry.  There are several plants that will survive when resources are limited.  One of my favorites…

Texas Sage or Leucophyllum frutescens compacta is one of the hardiest plants for central and west Texas areas.  There are several varieties available;  however, my favorite is the Texas Sage Compacta.  This variety grows to around 4 foot tall and 4 foot wide and will not get that "leggy" look after several years.  I have heard for years that if the Texas Sage start to bloom  there may be rain coming soon.  Sometimes they will bloom two to three days prior to the rains. Sometimes they bloom a few days after. And sometimes they bloom just to celebrate the rain miles away!  So not only do we get the benefit of rain, hopefully, but the added beauty when they bloom.  The Texas Sage flower is a small bell shaped bloom that range in color from dark pink to purple.  Sometimes they bloom sporadically and other times they are full of blooms.

Compact Texas Sage, aka, Leucophyllum FrutescensI like to use this plant in my design if it is going up against a fence or a tall wall, because this is one plant that looks best if not over trimmed.  I trim mine about twice a year.  They should be trimmed as natural as possible, so don't over shear.  The gray green leaves make a great contrast up against a dark brick or stone home,  but remember they need some room to grow so don't plant under a low window or too close to the house.  Texas Sage are deer resistant, drought tolerant and need full sun.   I use them to provide separation from my neighbors but also as a backdrop to my perennial garden.  Because they are evergreen, I will have something in my perennial garden that will be green year around.  If you are looking for a plant that is very low maintenance and adds contrast with it's gray green foliage, blooms when it might rain, then try Texas Sage Compacta.

Compact Texas Sage, aka, Leucophyllum Frutescens

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