Mexican Bush Sage: Star of the Late Show

By now, most of the summer “make mine hot” perennials are beating a steady retreat as days grow shorter. Not so with Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha.) It is just hitting its stride, starting to open velvety purple calyces from which extend white blossoms beloved by both hummingbirds and butterflies, along with nearly every other pollinator known to man.

I like how its stems bend in graceful arches, echoing the form of native grasses now heavy with seed.

Plant information states that it is an evergreen perennial in Zones 8 to 10. I garden in Zone 7(a), but because winters have been consistently warmer in the last few years, I have a large stand of Mexican Bush Sage gracing my middle garden. It came back so heartily this spring that I actually divided it for the first time.

Even in those years when it doesn’t return, I still plant it as an annual for fall color, so next spring, when you’re trying to create a garden with four season interest, stick a pot of this perennial in your basket. You’ll be glad you did.


  1. Dee says:


    You’re right, it wouldn’t work. Too late in the season. However, if you could get some, you might try Victoria Salvia. It is a beautiful, true blue, which blooms early and with deadheading, continuously blooms throughout the summer.


  2. Kathy says:

    I saw a lot of beautful and fragrant salvias on my visits to Austin and Oklahoma, and I have to confess I’m envious. Even treated as an annual, I’m not sure Salvia leucantha would work for me, because by now we usually would have had many frosts, even hard freezes.

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