How to Care for a Mexican Sage Bush

The Mexican sage's flowers can attract hummingbirds.
The Mexican sage's flowers can attract hummingbirds. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Mexican sage is a native plant of Mexico and Central America. Also known as velvet sage and its botanical name, Salvia leucantha, its grey-green leaves add soft texture to gardens located in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 11. Tend to the water needs of a Mexican sage bush when it's young to establish it as a long-lived perennial plant. This ornamental plant attracts butterflies and when its purple and white flowers are in full bloom, it also attracts hummingbirds.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden pruners
  • Mulch
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer

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Plant the Mexican sage bush in well-drained soil at a location that receives full sunlight or partial afternoon shade. Add compost to the hole when you set the plant in the ground.

Water the plant twice a week during the growing season of its first two years. Water during dry weather spells in the winter to keep the roots moist. When the plant is established, by its third year, water once a week or more frequently when the weather is hot and dry.

Spread a thick layer of mulch around the Mexican sage bush to retain moisture in the soil and reduce weeds. Pull and remove any weeds that may occur and replenish the mulch layer at least once a year.

Fertilize Mexican sage growing in sandy, rocky or clay soil in the spring, with a layer of compost spread around the plant’s base. Apply all-purpose outdoor plant food, mixed according to the manufacturer's label instructions, in the summer as the plant begins to bud.

Prune Mexican sage in the spring to encourage bushy growth. Cut the top third off all the stems before they reach a height of 2 feet, using sharp garden pruners.

Cut the bush back in late fall. Shear the stems off at ground level with pruners. Apply mulch around the plant to protect it from potential inclement weather.


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