Salvia Species, Mexican Bush Sage

Salvia leucantha

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salvia (SAL-vee-uh) (Info)
Species: leucantha (lew-KAN-thuh) (Info)
» View all varieties of Salvias
View this plant in a garden



Tropicals and Tender Perennials


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:

Medium Purple

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From woody stem cuttings

By simple layering

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Foliage Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Huntsville, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Monroeville, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Union Grove, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Green Valley, Arizona

Kingman, Arizona

Charleston, Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Mountain View, Arkansas

Albany, California

Amesti, California

Arroyo Grande, California

Burbank, California

Canoga Park, California

Cazadero, California

China Lake Acres, California

Clayton, California

Corralitos, California

Elkhorn, California

Encinitas, California

Escondido, California

Fairfield, California

Fallbrook, California(5 reports)

Fresno, California

Interlaken, California

Knights Landing, California

Lemon Grove, California

Long Beach, California(2 reports)

Los Angeles, California

Manteca, California

Merced, California

Moreno Valley, California

Mountain View Acres, California

Northridge, California(2 reports)

Oakland, California

Oakley, California

Oildale, California

Ontario, California

Pajaro, California

Palm Springs, California

Pomona, California

Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Redwood City, California

Ridgecrest, California

Sacramento, California(2 reports)

San Anselmo, California

San Diego, California(2 reports)

San Francisco, California

San Pablo, California

San Rafael, California

Santa Ana, California

Spring Valley, California

Ventura, California

Villa Park, California

Vista, California(9 reports)

Watsonville, California

Yucca Valley, California

Apopka, Florida

Belleview, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Deland, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Homestead, Florida(2 reports)

Inverness, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Jupiter, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Largo, Florida

Lithia, Florida

Longwood, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

North Fort Myers, Florida

Pensacola, Florida(2 reports)

Pompano Beach, Florida

Quincy, Florida

Riverview, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Winter Park, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Ashburn, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Douglas, Georgia

Flowery Branch, Georgia

Nicholson, Georgia

Rincon, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Indianapolis, Indiana

Derby, Kansas

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Hebron, Kentucky

Prospect, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Covington, Louisiana

Homer, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

Florence, Mississippi

Petal, Mississippi

Raymond, Mississippi

Saint Louis, Missouri

Pahrump, Nevada

Rodeo, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Averill Park, New York

Deposit, New York

Southold, New York

Charlotte, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Hillsborough, North Carolina

Holly Ridge, North Carolina

Kure Beach, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina(2 reports)

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Grove City, Ohio

Milan, Ohio

Brookings, Oregon

Harbor, Oregon

Charleston, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina

Ladys Island, South Carolina

Manning, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Okatie, South Carolina

Orangeburg, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Knoxville, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Alice, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Atlanta, Texas

Aubrey, Texas

Austin, Texas

Belton, Texas

Brady, Texas

Bulverde, Texas

Cleburne, Texas

College Station, Texas

Conroe, Texas

Copperas Cove, Texas

Dallas, Texas(2 reports)

Deer Park, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Devine, Texas

Elgin, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas(3 reports)

Georgetown, Texas

Houston, Texas(3 reports)

Humble, Texas

Irving, Texas(2 reports)

Kingsland, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

Port Lavaca, Texas

Portland, Texas

Rowlett, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Wells, Texas

Zapata, Texas

Doswell, Virginia

Dutton, Virginia

Gloucester, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Manassas, Virginia

Smithfield, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 5, 2021, Mary94949 from Novato, CA wrote:

This frost-tender plant grows roots easily from tender shoots placed in water. Many people prune it back hard in late fall in my zone 9, and it grows back very fresh and bushy by late March. It blooms regularly for over 6 months (March - November) in coastal California.


On Jun 1, 2019, Kai_Ote from Lemon Grove, San Diego, CA wrote:

Does very well in the southwest. Drought tolerant but not xeric. We planted ours in strong sun (10+ hours daily) on a variable dripline, giving each bush 5 to 10 minutes of water twice a week, increasing the drip volume as they matured. Not especially fragrant, but attracts desirable wildlife for naturalistic landscaping: songbirds like the low cover they provide; hummingbirds, honeybees and butterflies will hit every single blossom for the nectar. Once established, they appreciate a good prune back in the late summer or fall after all the soft purple and white buds have dropped off. Trimmed to within three feet of the ground when dormant, a winter-watered Mexican Bush Sage will then bounce back in the spring with luscious new shoots that flower well into summer. (You can find some well te... read more


On Nov 24, 2017, tranquilityva from Doswell, VA wrote:

This plant is an annual for me in zone 6b-7 in central virginia. I live out in the rural area and it gets colder than z 7. I love this plant. From a stick almost in the spring to a 6' circle in fall it is a standout. I have trouble finding it in the spring as box stores call it a sage and get it with their herbs! I get the purple and white ones but just recently saw the solid purple. Nice but not as yummy as the purple and white.

I notice everyone says alkaline soil but mine is quite acid, some areas 5.0. I use a lot of compost which is beginning, after 5 years of this new garden, to turn more neutral but no where near alkaline.

I haven't noticed seeds on the plant but will look for them next year. But the best $3.50 plant I buy


On Dec 28, 2016, AFinSD from San Diego, CA wrote:

Even though my spouse and I did not have success growing this plant in our garden, I still love this plant because of the way it attracts hummingbirds (they're my favorite birds).

My spouse and I have seen this plant grow successfully in many Southern California locations, most notably next to the Rose Garden at the South Coast Botanic Garden in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.

Here is a link to their website for anyone who is interested:


On Nov 22, 2016, no_regrets from San Diego, CA wrote:

Planted a handful of these in an area of our property that gets intense summertime sun and heat, with only overspray from lawn sprinklers to give relief from the drought conditions. I didn't pay too much attention until, toward the end of the season when everything else was starting to look rather tired and spent, this plant absolutely EXPLODED with intense purple blooms all over. And it just won't stop! It's Thanksgiving week and they look as fresh as they did months ago, like they're frozen in time. I'm waiting for them to stop blooming so I can cut them back... but it hasn't happened yet. Amazing! I only wish I had planted more of them in other parts of our yard.


On Dec 10, 2012, arthurb3 from Raleigh, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

A beautifull plant. The flowers are fuzzy and I cannot resist touching them!


On Apr 1, 2012, Sandwichkatexan from Copperas Cove, TX wrote:

Grows huge every season. It dies back in the winter and rebounds nicely every year . Hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers like a magnet .


On Nov 5, 2011, XemaSab from Redding, CA wrote:

I've tried it three times, and every time it just hasn't survived the winter. I don't know if the cold is killing it or if it's rotting out in our wet winters, but I've given up on it.


On Jul 8, 2011, 2QandLearn from Menifee, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

When I was growing up, my Mom put a berm in the backyard, & among the plants she covered it with, was one of these. It was shaded in the morning by a Pomegranate tree, but it grew & flowered wonderfully. Mom always pruned it in what I thought an unusual way: When the main flower spike on the end of a stem was done flowering, she removed the ENTIRE stem all the way back to the main stem. When this was done regularly & consistently, a new stem would quickly grow & start flowering, & the ones cut off were even more quickly replaced by others that were just waiting their turns! I later tried allowing all the flowers on each stem their turn to develop, thinking they might all become large spikes like the main ones on the stem ends . . . but they ever did, and the plant quickly became rangy ... read more


On Nov 26, 2010, rntx22 from Puyallup, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is my absolute favorite salvia. Fuzzy flowers and leafs, and the pests leave it alone! I've had horrible mealy bug infestations in my garden on all my other salvias, but they don't touch this one. The hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and sphynx moths love it! It's been in bloom since spring and is still looking gorgeous in late November.


On Oct 2, 2009, mswestover from Yulee, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Gets woody at the base. I trim it in mid summer. It spreads and will take over a flower bed quickly. Blooms Oct-Nov zone 9a. Hummingbirds like it.


On Sep 14, 2009, sillybug5 from Hyannis, MA (Zone 7a) wrote:

A real knockout, graceful plant with furry looking amazing flowers, blooming at the end of the season. Hummers and butterflies are thrilled with it. Gorgeous!!!


On Oct 8, 2007, Lily_love from Central, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

I've thise Salvia for several years now, its growth habit seems a bit of restraint. It's in full bloom this time of year. Although, classified as 7b. Sometimes, due to microclimate influences; many zone 8's plants proven to be adaptive here where I'm.


On Feb 7, 2007, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:

Last year for the first time growing it (the purple/white one and the all purple one). I had plants of the all purple one growing in the ground and in a pot. I had the purple/white one growing in a pot.

Love them both! Furry and you 'just want to touch them' each time you walk past them.

Seemed to me that the ones I had in the ground bloomed sooner than the ones I had in large 20" plastic containers on the patio (all of them were in full sun).

Blooms late in the season.


The all purple variety is a big favorite of my husband! In 2006, I had two of the all purple Salvias growing in the ground next to the driveway and he really loved seeing them every day they were in bloom. I found a different spot, b... read more


On Jun 4, 2006, Sheila965 from Rincon, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a VERY hardy plant. After a year, it will spread by root. I had to dig it up and move it earlier in the spring, so I cut it way back. I was so scared I had lost it. It is now blooming beautifully! I even shared the new shoots with my mom.


On Feb 9, 2006, Horseshoe from Efland, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

Wonderful, easy-to-grow salvia! Blooms late summer and will bloom past our first frosts/freezes! Adds great color for late in the year. A butterfly magnet also!


On Apr 12, 2005, Tomatoholic from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love this plant. It is so interesting. It blooms my favorite color too. I have two of if blooming and the other is not blooming at all. They are planted in the same area so they get the same sun/water/etc. Any suggestions out there how I can get the other one to bloom? I live in Austin, TX. These are new plants I got a few weeks ago from Red Barn Nursery. Thanks.


On Aug 8, 2003, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is a very tough, big ever-blooming salvia. In frost-free zones it is important to cut it back regularly, as it will continue to expand until it overruns all its neighbors. I have actually seen it start to break apart granite boulders. Tends to have a rather ungainly, somewhat wild appearance if allowed to grow without occasional pruning.


On Jul 13, 2003, meek wrote:

A really good landscape plant, likes an alkaline un- improved soil to slightly dry, plant can run by suckering along bottom edge so cut these out for new plants. Plant on 4-6 foot centers as they can eaisily be 3-5' round and tall. Cut back hard in fall to 1' in warmer (no frost) climates and it comes back like a true herb. Have seen hummingbirds feeding on this and have yet to see a major pest.
Have had extremely good luck on drip irrigation with emmiters 6" from base.


On Jan 20, 2003, Lavanda from Mcallen, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Even if you have only one of these in your garden, the hummers will come!


On May 3, 2002, loisbeth wrote:

5-6' gray-green foliage on shrub-like plant produce 18" spikes of purple flowers with white tips. Must be kept dry in winter. Prune in mid-summer for better branching. Needs well drained soil.