When to Prune Mexican Sage?


Mexican sage, or Salvia leucantha, is a popular plant with numerous benefits. Blooming in autumn until the first frost, Mexican sage can provide a beautiful patch of color in any garden just as many other plants are beginning to fade into dormancy for the winter. As with most perennials, pruning Mexican sage will promote healthy, vibrant growth for many years.

Why Prune?

  • Mexican sage is a fast growing, bushy plant. Due to its fast growth, expect to prune at several different points throughout the year to facilitate optimum growth. Pruning is important for several reasons. This fast-growing plant will quickly spread beyond its place if allowed, and proper pruning will keep it in check. Mexican sage also has a tendency to lose vitality over time if ignored, and pruning will stimulate fresh new growth. Mexican sage can sometimes grow so fast that it surpasses its own stem strength. Without pruning, the beautiful flowers in autumn will end up lying in the dirt.

Keep Mexican Sage From Spreading Too Much

  • When controlling for fast-spreading Mexican sage, Backyard Gardener recommends that, "As blooms fade, it is advisable to deadhead your plant." Otherwise, the dead flowers will begin to drop seeds around the base of the plant, ever widening its real estate in your garden. As Mexican sage blooms until the first frost, wait until a hard frost hits in your region and then get out the shears. Lopping off the deadheads will suffice to prevent seeding.

Promote Vitality

  • Pruning for vitality will be quick and easy. Terry Kramer of the Times-Standard suggests, "Come late winter, shear back the plants for a spring burst of fresh foliage to be followed by another round of flowers. If a hard frost nips it back, be patient. Simply prune away dead growth and wait for the warm spring sun." Pruning plants back automatically triggers growth, and in doing so you'll ensure that every year your Mexican sage looks fresh and vibrant.

Set It Up to Bloom Well

  • Mexican sage can hold a special place in that garden, adding color and show when other plants are fading away. Don't sit idly by and allow the flowers to overpower the stems and languish in the dirt. This takes some advance planning, as the stems must be shortened before the plant begins to flower (otherwise you're just cutting off flowers before they bloom). Floridata.com suggests that, "It might be a good idea to prune back your Mexican bush sage in early summer to promote a bushier habit and to keep it from getting so top heavy that stems break off."

Enjoy the Results

  • Pruning Mexican sage will achieve lasting results if done at the right times. You won't have to tend this plant long before deciding the little amount of work is well worth it; Mexican sage attracts hummingbirds in great numbers in addition to its inherent beauty. Keeping this plant healthy and vibrant will certainly bring you rewards.

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