How to Plant Sage Shrubs in Texas


The Texas sage (Leucophyllum candidum) is not really a sage but is related to the snapdragon and penstemon plants. It is a tough, drought- and heat-tolerant perennial appropriate for USDA hardiness zones 8 through 10. New varieties are available with different growth habits that make the Texas sage, or Texas ranger, suitable for almost any landscaping condition, including commercial landscaping applications. The Texas sage produces purple, pink or white blooms, depending on variety, when humidity levels increase. That is why it is often called the barometer plant or rain bush.

Step 1

Locate an area of the garden that is well-drained and receives full sun or the most sunlight each day that is possible. The planting area must get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, but preferably more. Look for an area where the Texas sage can grow to its full size without pruning. A Texas sage does not adapt to pruning well and is best left in its natural form. Some varieties grow to 8 feet tall and some much shorter, so pick a variety that is appropriate for the space you are planting your Texas sage.

Step 2

Clear the area of weeds and rocks and enrich the soil by adding a 1-inch layer of compost over the planting area and mixing it into the top inch of soil. Rake the area smooth.

Step 3

Dig a hole that will allow the Texas sage to be planted at the same level as it is planted in the container. The width of the hole should be wide enough so the root base can be surrounded with a solid layer of soil leaving no air pockets. A rule of thumb is to dig the hole three times wider than the root base of the plant you are planting.

Step 4

Place the Texas sage into the planting hole. If the hole is not deep enough and there will be some roots exposed, take the Texas sage out of the hole and dig the hole deeper. Once the hole is dug to a sufficient depth, set the plant into the hole and begin refilling with the planting soil. The planting soil should contain the compost you originally added to the soil. It is okay to add another shovelful of compost during the planting process, if desired. Add water to the soil and compost mix as you add it into the hole to create a good seal around the roots of the Texas sage and avoid the formation of air pockets.

Step 5

Add a 1-inch layer of mulch around the root base of the Texas sage. Although Texas sage is drought tolerant, it does best if there is some organic matter over the root base and in the soil to prevent drastic variations in soil moisture levels. Add extra water only if the plant looks stressed or if there is a long time with no rain, for example, 4 to 6 weeks. However, for new plantings, deep soak the plant every 2 weeks for the first summer for best results. To deep soak the plant's roots, run a slow stream of water the width of a pencil from the water hose over the root base of the Texas sage for 20 minutes

Things You'll Need

  • Texas sage plant
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Rake
  • Mulch


  • Desert-Tropicals: Texas Sage
  • MSWN: Texas Rangers
  • USDA: Hardinessl Zone Map
Keywords: Texas sage, Texas ranger, grow leucophyllum

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.