Mexican bush sage: Signals change in season

By Norman Winter, Horticulturist, Author and Garden Speaker

The Mexican bush sage is starting to bloom officially signaling a change of seasons. The air has been a little crisper, and while the trees still have green leaves, make no mistake the day length has changed significantly.
The change in day length means much more than the fact you may be getting up in the dark now. Savvy gardeners will recognize the change through perennials just starting to bloom such as the Mexican bush sage known botanically as Salvia leucantha.

Over the years there has been some funny debate, is it a long period of darkness, or short daylight period that causes them to bloom. Take it from someone who has planted them under flood lights, don’t do it, the blooms will be practically non-existent.

As its name suggests it is native to Mexico as well as other tropical America locales and is a cold hardy perennial through zone 7b. The caveat to that cold hardiness is good winter drainage. Wet winter feet spells doom.

Though it is not perennial in colder regions, it is a plant most worthy of planting as an annual. Imagine if you can September and October full of dozens of spiky blue-violet blossoms standing tall toward the back of your garden.

This spiky texture creates excitement in the garden and is a welcome contrast to round flowers. If you like to dazzle your friends with your flower arranging capabilities then this is a must plant for you. Even when not in bloom the grey-green foliage stands out in the garden. Those of you who like to garden for hummingbirds will find this species to also be their delicacy.

To read more, pick up a copy of the September/October issue of LiveIt magazine.