Scientific: Leucophyllum laevigatum
Common: Chihuahuan sage
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Origin: Rocky slopes of high Chihuahuan desert at 4,000 to 8,000 feet

Pronounciation: Lou-co-FIL-lum la-e-vi-GA-tum

Hardiness zones:
Sunset 7-24
USDA 8-11

Landscape Use: Warm season accent shrub, background plant, informal hedge and/or screen, xeric landscape designs.

Form & Character: Evergreen shrub stiffly open and spreading, informal.

Growth Habit: Moderate to 3 to 4 feet height with near equal spread.

Foliage/texture: Small to 1 inch long, elliptic to obovate green nearly sessile leaves cling tightly to erect stiff stems and branches; medium fine texture.

Flowers & fruits: Many axillary light purple flowers bloom on new wood, fragrant, fruit inconspicuous.

Seasonal color: Flowers episodically during warm season. Like other Leucophyllum species, peak flowering in late summer to early fall.

Temperature: Tolerant

Light: Full sun, rank form if too shaded.

Soil: Like other Leucophyllum species, Chihuahuan sage prefers alkaline soils that are well drained.

Watering: Give Chihuahuan sage no supplemental water during winter. However, apply supplemental water during summer particularly if monsoon rains fail.

Pruning: Prune only once per year during late February/early March to any desired size and then sit back and LEAVE IT ALONE the rest of the year.

Propagation: Seed and cutting (softwood or semi-hardwood). Very occasionally will reseed in urban landscapes.

Disease and pests: Texas root rot

Additional comments: Chihuahuan sage is a nice alternative to L. frutescens var. green cloud with a slightly different flower color and more open habit of growth. Here an image showing a comparison of the blooming colors and growth habits of L. laevigatum (on the left) and L. frutescens (on the right). There is a trade-marked, white-flowering variety of Chihuahuan sage called White Snow that was selected by Greg Star and is grown by Mountain States Nursery in Glendale, Arizona.

Horticultural note: Imperative in developing more sustainable practices for irrigated landscapes is the need to balance landscape plant pruning and watering intensities. Water less and plants will grow more slowly. This means that their pruning needs to control height and spread will diminish and less green waste will be generated. Now that's what I call a step towards sustainable landscaping.