Mexican Bush Sage - Knowledgebase Question

Bloomington, IL
Avatar for lbell95
Question by lbell95
October 2, 1999
I bought a Mexican Bush Sage plant back in May and it's done really well. When I got it it was about one foot tall with a couple stems but now it is about four feet tall and putting out beautiful blooms. I wanted to know if I should cut it back in preparation of winter?

Answer from NGA
October 2, 1999
I'm assuming that you have Salvia leucantha which is commonly called Mexican bush sage. It's usually cold tolerant to about 25 degrees F.

Here's some pointers on getting plants ready for winter from "Perennials for Dummies" by Marcia Tatroe and NGA.

1. Cut back on watering as temps. cool. This signals plants that it's time to go into dormancy and helps "harden" them off.

2. If you had any insect problems, remove any plant debris and mulch from that area so eggs and disease won't overwinter.

3. Place a fresh 4-6 inch layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants.

4. If your temps. are regularly below 0 degrees Farenheit, don't cut back the perennials until late winter or early spring. The dead foliage helps protect them from cold.

5. After the ground freezes, cover the whole bed with a loose layer of straw or hay. Leave it until early spring and then gradually remove it as temps. warm. Don't remove it all at once.

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