It’s tree and shrub planting season, y’all! Fall is the best time to plant, replace, and transplant shrubs in your landscape. Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens), also called Cenizo, just happens to be one of my favorites, so today I’m highlighting some of the different varieties this native shrub comes in. 

I remember, before I knew anything about the nursery business, I bought four Texas Sage shrubs to add to my landscape. I purchased one, than found the other three at later dates. Little did I know, nor did I do any research, that I had actually bought at least three different varieties. Nope, I didn’t pay attention to labels back then. Fast forward through the year and I found myself with four Texas Sage shrubs with various heights, and foliage and bloom color! (See pic below.)

Let my rookie mistake be a reminder to you to do due diligence and research each and every plant that you purchase. One plant name can hold many varieties, and this is common among a great number of plants at the nursery. Take a look at a few of my favorite varieties and their characteristics below, followed by basic care of all Texas Sage shrubs. I hope you’ll find the perfect one for your landscape this fall.

(Don’t judge! We all make rookie mistakes! To the untrained eye, Texas Sage can look the same during their small transplant stage. Research your plants!)

5 Texas Sage (Cenizo) Options for San Antonio Landscapes

  1. Silverado Texas Sage (Cenizo)
  2. Green Cloud Texas Sage (Cenizo)
  3. Lynn’s Legacy Texas Sage (Cenizo)
  4. Compact Texas Sage (Cenizo)
  5. Desparado Texas Sage (Cenizo)

1. Silverado: The silver-gray foliage on Silverado Texas Sage is evergreen with pink-magenta flowers that appear in abundance summer through fall, especially a week or two before rain is on the way (more about that later). Silverado grows about 4′ tall x wide, and is a great option to use for a hedge choice.

2. Green Cloud: The foliage of Green Cloud matches its name. Green foliage is peppered by rose-magenta blooms throughout the year. This variety actually tends to put out more blooms than some other varieties. Green Cloud grows about 6′ tall x wide. Plant in full sun, well-draining soil.

3. Lynn’s Legacy: This happens to be one of my absolute favorite Texas Sage varieties, although it can sometimes be hard to find. When Lynn’s Legacy is in bloom, the onlything I can say is, WOW! The lavender blooms are incredibly profuse and more prevalent than some of the other varieties throughout the year. Green foliage is dense, and grows in a uniform shape, reaching 5′ tall x wide. You can plant this one right next to the reflected heat of sidewalks and driveways and it doesn’t mind at all.

4. Compact: One of the smaller versions of Texas Sage, the compact variety grows only 3′ tall x wide, making it a great options for foreground shrubs, or even containers. Silver-gray foliage gets adorned with lavender-magenta blossoms spring through fall.

5. Desperado: Shimmering, silvery-green foliage and lavender blooms are prevalent on Desperado Texas Sage. The 5′ tall x 5′ wide stature of Desperado allows for you to use this shrub as a stand alone specimen or incorporate it into other beds or mass plantings. Desperado has silvery-gray foliage with lavender-pinkish-purple blooms that generally appear summer through fall.

These three pics below feature from left to right: Green Cloud, Compact, Desperado. These are just to show you the different variations in foliage and even bloom color. Read your labels; research your plants!

Texas Sage is one of our native plants that brings on tons of blooms a couple weeks after the rain.
Compact Texas Sage in a landscape.
Desperado Cenizo up close.

Care for Texas Sage (Cenizo)

The general care for Texas Sage is:

  1. Plant in full sun to partial sun. 8 hours minimum of full sun is preferred or it can grow leggy.
  2. Plant in well-draining soil (tolerant of poor soils, but not soils that don’t drain well.)
  3. Water to establish, but once established, Texas Sage is very drought tolerant. In extreme periods fo heat and drought they may need supplemental irrigation.

Texas Sage are evergreen, native, deer-resistant, pollinator-friendly, drought and heat tolerant shrubs that are excellent choices for our climate here in San Antonio. They are cold tolerant to 5° (and mine survived SNOVID). In 2005 Texas Sage was named the official Texas Native Shrub of Texas. They have also been nicknamed the “barometer” shrub as their blooms are initiated by high humidity in the air or excessive soil moisture in the soil either before or after rains.

The five varieties of Texas Sage that I listed are still just a few of the options you can choose from. There is even one called White Cloud that, you guessed it, blooms white flowers! I highly encourage you to consider these shrubs if you are looking to add to your landscape. They are low maintenance, water-savers and I think you will love them!

~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy