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Texas sage is very drought resistant, which makes it worth considering after experiencing our hot summers. It is a good choice for a corner of the yard not easily reached by watering systems. It needs good drainage and likes full sun, but will stand a little shade. It is tolerant of poor soils and has no pest problems. And it is semi-evergreen in the Tyler area; the leaves will thin out but not disappear entirely unless we have an extremely cold winter.

The most common Texas sage has small gray-green leaves and lavender blossoms during the summer. In addition to different shades of lavender, it is possible to find plants with blossoms of white and pink, and with leaves that are green rather than silvery.

While the typical height of Texas sage is four to five feet, some can reach eight feet and there are also relatively compact varieties. Be sure to choose a type that won't ultimately outgrow its designated area.

Texas sage is the plant referred to in Zane Gray's Riders of the Purple Sage - but it's not really a sage. It is not of the salvia family but is a Leucophyllum. Many people call it cenizo, Texas Ranger or Purple Sage. It is native to desert areas, but has adapted well to our East Texas climate.

Rosemary Moyers, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

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