Native Garden

Ernest Righetti High School



Salvia_leucantha_Midnight

Mexican Sage - Salvia leucantha

Category: Shrub
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatea) (Mints)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Purple
Bloomtime: Year-round

Salvia leucantha 'Midnight' (Midnight Mexican Sage) - A quick growing shrub that can reach 3-5 feet tall and as wide as it spreads outward at the base from its rootstock. It has young upright stems covered with woolly white hairs and narrow 3 to 4 inch long leaves that are gray-green above and whitish from dense short hairs below. The flowers are composed of velvety purple calyces with extended purple petals, emerging from congested vertices (rings of flowers) extending 6 to 12 inches at branch tips. These flowers are well above the foliage and appear almost year-round along the coast; peak bloom period is spring through fall until first frost. Plant in full sun to light shade and irrigate occasionally to infrequently – is drought tolerant and somewhat rampant growth can be controlled by judicious irrigation practices. Evergreen to 25° F but proven root hardy in our garden to 18° F and possibly lower with mulching. Cut back annually in late winter to maintain best appearance and trim older flowers that weight stems down to encourage more upright growth and a tidier appearance. This plant is the same as the species, Salvia leucantha, except that the flowers are completely purple with no extending white center. Useful in cut flower arrangements fresh and when dried retain flower and calyx colors. This sage is reported to inhabit a wide area in tropical and subtropical pine forests in central and eastern Mexico. The name Salvia comes from the Latin name used by Pliny for the plant and comes from the Latin word 'salvere' meaning "to save" in reference to the long-believed healing properties of several Sage species. The specific epithet comes from the Latin words 'leucos' meaning "white" and 'anthos' meaning flower. We received this plant from the Huntington Botanic Garden in 1984 as 'Dark Form' and first applied the name 'Midnight' in our 1986 catalog to distinguish it from the white flowered form then more common in the nursery trade. It Is also occasionally listed under the name ‘Purple Velvet’. We also continue to grow this white flowered species 
Salvia leucantha, the compact Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara' and the pink and white flowered Salvia leucantha Danielle’s Dream.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Salvia leucantha 'Midnight'.

Source: San Marcos GROWERS

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