Sage and lantana look good

Sage and lantana look good

The native lantana, a variety with orange and yellow flowers, is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant that deer avoid. It is a standard for hummingbird and butterfly gardensPlantAnswers.com
With the winter weather well underway, after a stunning late fall, cool weather flowers are doing well, and some warm weather plants are still putting on a show.

As the name indicates, autumn sage, Salvia gregii, often blooms at its best in fall and early winter. This year is no exception.

Autumn sage, which blooms in pink, red, salmon and white, does best in full sun but also blooms in partial sun. It is one of those rare plants that can withstand the blast of midday sun as a light source.

advertisement

Article continues below this ad

Autumn sage grows to 6 feet tall and tends to become leggy. It thrives best if pruned to the ground every two or three years.

Deer don’t eat fall sage, but it is a favorite nectar source for hummingbirds and butterflies, and it is drought-tolerant.

The second sage that can be observed now is Salvia cocina, also called tropical sage. Salvia coccinea reseeds itself in sun and shade to produce 3-foot stems of small but showy bell-shaped red flowers. Like fall sage, it is not a favorite food of deer but is sought after by hummingbirds.

We expect fall sage and tropical sage to flower well into early winter, but one plant that is not typically flowering now is the native lantana. This year, we’re still seeing lantana plants all over town covered in cream and pink or cream and orange blossoms.

No one who has drawn my attention to the attractive flowers has described it as a rough weed, which is the usual description. It looks good enough this winter to make us forget that the plant’s scientific name is Lantana horrida.

advertisement

Article continues below this ad

Another lantana—the spreading lavender, Lantana montevidensis—also the white version—looks good in area landscapes. This is not unusual for a lavender lantana propagation. However, it traditionally blooms during mild winters. Lantanas, like Salvias, serve as a food source for hummingbirds that still hang around the area.

Salvia greggii and Lantana montevidensis are available in area nurseries. Salvia coxinia seeds are available as wildflower seeds. Lantana horida is sometimes sold at local plant sales, but if you want one, you may have to harvest a piece of the root from a vacant lot or pasture.

Calvin Finch is director of the Urban Horticulture and Water Program at the Texas A&M Institute for Renewable Natural Resources. calvin.finch@tamu.edu

You may also like...

Leave a Reply