Salvia leucantha - Mexican Sage
Salvia leucantha is a dependable strong growing plant in the full sun, even when the soil is poor and the water scarce. Every once in awhile I see a wimpy specimen of Salvia leucantha growing in the shade and it reminds me of how poorly the Mexican Sage fares there. Mexican Sage gets to about 4 feet tall and wide. I cut the Mexican Sage back nearly to the ground each Winter when the new white shoots show even at the coast because the new stems perform so much better. Salvia leucantha is easily divided. Mexican Sage suffers when too much water is applied and will sometimes rot out completely. Mexican Sage blooms from mid to late spring through to frost or the moment I get them for their Winter shearing if it hasn't been wintery enough by the time it should be done in mid Winter. Salvia leucantha has survived temperatures in the mid teens but was slow coming back so I think that is close to the lower limit. The white flowers poking out from the purple calyx is very pretty and the hummingbirds consider this sage a major food source in any garden that they find it. There is also a variety with both calyx and flower that are purple called 'Midnight'. And another with a pale purple flower and calyx called Santa Barbara, and a third with white calyx and pink flowers called Danielle's Dream. Salvia leucantha is a great nectar source for the Mournful Duskywing and the California Dogface Butterfly making this a nice addition to the Butterfly Garden as well as the hummingbird garden. In the last few seasons Salvia mexicana Limelight has become quite popular and might also appropriately be called Mexican Sage.
High resolution photos of Salvia leucantha are part of our garden image collection.