The Q&A Archives: Silverado Sage

Question: Greetings from the ozark mountains. I recently returned from the Home Depot garden center where I saw a shrub called Silverado Sage. This was listed as a foundation plant on the tag but no other information was provided. The Lowes people of course knew zero so I am turning to you guys for more info. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Answer: Glad you turned to us. We're always happy to help. Silverado Sage is botanically Leucophyllum frutescens. This shrub grows on limestone slopes in the Chihuahuan Desert of Texas, New Mexico, and northern Mexico. It is now widely cultivated in Florida and Southeast Asia, where it flowers magnificently in steamy tropical weather. It has 1 in. felty wavy-looking ovalish alternate leaves with silvery pubescence. The five-lobed tubular flowers have spotted throats. The flowers appear after summer rains, sometimes covering the plants with purple blossoms for a spectacular week long display. Two-valved capsules filled with small wrinkled seeds follow.

Silverado Sage was once sold as 'Bertstar Dwarf'. It is an evergreen, grows 4' by 4', has a rounded form and is exceptionally full and dense even at the base. This purple sage prefers full sun, but can get by on 4-6 hours of direct sun per day. It must have exceptionally well drained soil. Water it conscientiously until it is well established, then treat it like the desert plant it is. Overwatered plants will get floppy and resist blooming.

This species is hardy to 10?F (-12?C). Plants may survive temperatures down to 5?F (-15?C) or lower, but they will drop their leaves. They bloom best in hot, humid weather.

Hope this answers all your questions about Silverado Sage.

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