Monday, October 10, 2016

Plant profile: Salvia leucantha (Mexican Sage)

Salvia leucantha
Latin name: Salvia leucantha (pronounced "SAL-vee-ah LOO-can-thah)
Common name: Mexican Sage
Originally from: Tropical and subtropical pine forests in central and eastern Mexico.
Blooms: Purple, purple and white, white, or white and pink.
Light: Full sun!
Water: Drought repellent
Drainage: Excellent
Height x width: 3' x 6'
USDA Zones: 8-10
Where to find in P. Garden: In the left bed, the brights bed, and the very top bed.

Salvia leucantha
"Danielle's Dream"
Salvia leucantha is a surefire winner in the San Francisco garden, producing flowers for almost 12 months of the year that hummingbirds love, staying evergreen in our climate, and only needing one satisfying and easy chop back to 6" in the winter for them to spring back up looking fabulous. And hey - if you forget to do that they don't look bad.

They even have a lovely round shape and grow nicely in between other plants too, creating a lovely purple accent in any garden. No wonder they're so popular!

Salvia leucantha
"Santa Barbara"
Oh, and did I mention they don't care about drought? You cannot kill them. In fact, they're even super easy to root from cuttings or layers on the ground.

We have three different types. The regular species has bi-colored, velvety-textured flowers consisting of white corollas and longer-lasting funnel-form purple calyxes that arch all over the plant nonstop.  You'll see these all over the Bay area.

Salvia leucantha
"Santa Barbara"
Then there's the slightly more compact all-violet colored "Santa Barbara" and a new one for us called "Danielle's Dream" that has which calyxes and pink flowers.

I have heard of an all white one called "White Mischief" and a deeper purple one called "Midnight" and if I see them for sale I'll be picking them up for sure.

Salvia "Anthony Parker"
Growers crossed Salvia leucantha with Salvia elegans to make another excellent plant we have: Salvia "Anthony Parker". This one has a shorter flower season but the color is a stunning deep purple and again the plant is super tough, so worth the wait. Can someone please breed a few more Salvia leucantha hybrids?


  1. Gotta love Pennsylvania! Nothing better than growing some beautiful salvia here.

    1. Hah! We’re on Pennsylvania Avenue, not in the state of Pennsylvania. But I do appreciate the sentiment! :)


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