Conserving water in the garden has always been important in some parts of the country, for example if you live in the sunny and dry southwest. Today more and more people in many areas are gardening as much as possible without using additional water – we even have a name for this, ‘Xeric’ gardening. The key to success when you need or simply want, to reduce the amount of extra watering you do, is to choose the right plants. A great place to look for them is in dry areas, and when we can do that in our own country, we are also growing native plants, so we get a double benefit.
The best places to look would of course be hot, dry places where plants have adapted over millennia to dryness, and in the southwest we find a great garden plant, worth growing anywhere, and that is the Texas Sage. This super-drought-resistant plant is attractive, and very resistant to dryness and heat, but grows a bit big and sprawling for the garden, reaching 6 or even 8 feet tall. The Desperado Texas Sage, a smaller, more compact form, is therefore the one to choose when you want beauty and enormous resistance to drought in an attractive plant for your garden.
Growing Desperado® Texas Sage Plants
The Desperado Texas Sage is a bushy plant that grows a little more than 4 feet tall, and spreads about 4 feet wide. It has many upright stems, densely covered in inch-long silvery gray leaves that look a little like the leaves of the sage you use in the kitchen for turkey dressing, although the two plants are completely unrelated. At different times the upper parts of the stems become packed with flowers that are shaped like an irregular bell, about an inch long and wide. These are a lovely vibrant violet-purple color, and they make a great garden show.
This handsome plant can flower at any time of year, in any month, depending on the weather. When there is a little rain, or it becomes very humid, then the flower buds will rapidly develop and burst into bloom. In Texas this plant is sometimes called Barometer Bush, because it predicts the weather in this way. This means you will be surprised with flowers at any time – and everyone loves to receive a surprise bunch of flowers. This plant is so attractive that it was the official Native Shrub of Texas in 2005.
Uses in Your Garden
Use the Desperado Texas Sage as a specimen plant among rocks and gravel, or plant in a row as a casual barrier along a fence, or beside a walkway or driveway. Grow it with other xeric plants, like Yucca or Agave, for a great look, and no need for watering at all. It needs no special care and this super-tough plant almost never suffers from pests or diseasesf, unless the ground is too damp. You can trim it with shears at any time – before or after flowering is best – but don’t trim too much or your plants will become thin and bare lower down. The best way to keep it bushier is to just remove the tips of the shoots so that they branch out a little more.
The Desperado Texas Sage loves heat and sun, and it doesn’t love wet feet, so plant it in dry, well-drained areas, such as sunny slopes, or in ground that contains lots of sand or gravel. If you naturally live in a very dry area with low rainfall all year, then this will be easy. In areas where summers are dry, but winters wet, then it is even more important to grow this plant in dry places. It’s a great choice if you have wide overhanging roofs, or covered areas where rain doesn’t penetrate too much, and the ground is almost always dry. This plant cannot get too much sun, and it doesn’t like to be in shade at all. It grows well in zones 8 to 10, but it will also grow in zone 7 if you have dry soil, and the winters are dry. It with withstand winter cold much better in dryness than in wet, and it will tolerate temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit in dry conditions, but only down to 15 degrees in wetter ones.
History and Origins of the Desperado® Texas Sage
The Texas Sage, or Cenizo, Leucophyllum frutescens, grows wild in southwestern Texas, close to the Mexican border, and into Mexico. The variety called ‘Greado’ is a compact version, with brighter flower colors, probably selected by an unknown person from wild plants or seedlings. It is sold under the tradename of Desperado®, which really sums up just how tough this great plant is, and how it survives hardship and drought without complaining, bursting into colorful flowers at the first opportunity. Avoid Texas Sage plants that are not a specific variety, as they will be much larger and much less attractive. Desperado is very superior, and the demand for this variety is always high. With the intense interest in xeric gardening, growing native plants, and water conservation, the demand is high, so if you need this plant, then order now, as our stock will soon be gone.