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, in all respects 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 Botanical Gardens 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.
Information about Salvia leucantha 'Midnight' displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.