Pruning and Care of

Texas Sage


    Star-Tip 1001

Gardening Tips for successful and beautiful Landscapes and Gardens

Texas Sage (Leucophyllum sp.)

The Texas sages make up a large family of shrubs that are sure to have a variety to fit nearly every desert landscape type. They are among the most fool proof of the low water use shrubs and in the past few years we have seen a wide selection a local nurseries. Texas sages are characterized by small round leaflets that can be almost silvery to dark green in color. Flower color is always in the purple range.    

These shrubs are native to the arid Desert Southwest and they are star performers even when given very little care.  They require full sun and well-drained soils. Moderate frost will not bother them and they thrive in our sweltering summer heat.

Excessive pruning and shaping will reduce the quantity of blooms you receive.

This will also causes the plant to use more water and the over all lifespan of the plant is shortened.


Leucophyllums can fill a wide range of landscape needs including screening, focal points, foreground or background plantings. They are excellent for wildlife habitat. They garnered their nickname “the barometer plant” because when the first drop of humidity enters the air during the monsoon season, the gorgeous purple flowers burst from their buds in a spectacular show of color. 

Once established they can survive on little to no supplemental irrigation and can in fact die from over watering. With their thorn less stems and minimal litter, they will make a child-friendly low maintenance addition to your landscape.



Where it is too hot and dry to grow much else, try this plant !



Texas Sage are beautiful drought tolerant plants, well suited to xeriscaping.



There is one slight quandary involved in growing and pruning these shrubs. To leave them more natural looking, to prune-to-shape or to shear them, these are the decisions to make. They seem to periodically produce a dazzling display of purple flowers no matter what pruning decisions are made. However, after several years, they grow thin, tall and sprawling, and often are wild looking and less attractive when they aren't blooming. Pruning late in the spring will remove the bud wood that is necessary for blooms.


Shearing: Mostly the recommendation is to avoid shearing and let the plant grow more naturally. If you like however, you can shear them regularly, and they’ll make excellent hedges. Frequent shearing unfortunately, reduces the number of blossoms, and can make the shrubs very thin internally. This can diminish the plants health and hardiness.


If it is desired to leave the Sage looking more natural selective pruning can be accomplished. In this practice the goal is to use regular by-pass pruners and attempt to prune each branch to differing lengths. The end result is that the shrub is maintained at a more manageable size while the internal foliage continues to be produced, thus keeping the plant healthier and looking more natural. Some folks may still opt for more vigorous pruning since their plants are in locations where space is limited and the shrubs must look neat and well-kept.


It is possible to occasionally hard prune, and let the shrubs blossom unchecked in between prunings. It should be noted that following hard pruning the bare stems are a bit unattractive until new growth appears.

Leucophyllum can bloom late spring through late summer, especially after we get some summer rain. Late spring pruning may diminish spring blooming, so try to complete your pruning by early spring.