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Products > Leucophyllum frutescens 'Los Alamitos'
 
Leucophyllum frutescens 'Los Alamitos' - 'Los Alamitos Texas Sage
   
Image of Leucophyllum frutescens 'Los Alamitos'
 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Scrophulariaceae (Figworts)
Origin: Southwest (U.S.) (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pink
Bloomtime: Summer
Height: 6-8 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10° F
Leucophyllum frutescens 'Los Alamitos' (Texas Sage) - A large upright dense semi-evergreen shrub to 6 to 8 feet tall by as wide with half to one-inch-long gray-green felty leaves and pale rose-pink flowers that are funnel shaped with 5 petals in 2 lips. In full bloom in summer and fall, the flowers can smoother the plant with color.

Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate infrequently or not at all once established - an extremely drought and heat tolerant plant, though flowers heavier after some irrigation in summer. It is tolerant, and in fact prefers, alkaline soils and is hardy to about 5 degrees F, so useful down to USDA zone 8 but does not like poorly drained wet soils or shade. Is often sheared and tolerates this treatment well but certainly looks better when only lightly pruned in late winter or early spring to maintain shape or even opened up to expose its branching structure and gray barked stems - later pruning can be done but risks removal of developing flower buds. Though evergreen, foliage is sparser in winter with new leaves emerging in spring.

Leucophyllum frutescens is native from Northern Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas) north into Texas through the Rio Grande Plains and Trans-Pecos area into New Mexico where it grows on rocky slopes. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'leukos' meaning "white" and 'phyllos' meaning "leaf", in reference to the white foliage of Leucophyllum frutescens. The specific epithet means somewhat or becoming shrubby or woody. This species is considered to be one of Texas's most outstanding native plants and has been declared the official Texas state native shrub. It is sometimes called "barometer bush" because flowering is triggered by higher humidity or rain. Other common names include Texas Ranger, Texas Rain Sage, Cenizo, Texas Silverleaf, Ash-bush, Wild Lilac, Purple Sage, Senisa, Cenicilla, Palo Cenizo and Hierba del Cenizo.

The 'Los Alamitos' cultivar is a plant that was growing at the historic Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens in Long Beach. It was never determined when the original plant at that garden was planted but cuttings of it were taken in the late 1980s and a plant from these cuttings was planted in the Santa Barbara garden of Carol Bornstein, then Director of Horticulture at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. This plant grew into a large open shrub about 7 feet tall by as wide by the time we took cuttings of it for our crops in 2011. This plant was removed by new owners when the house was sold in 2014. 

This information about Leucophyllum frutescens 'Los Alamitos' displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.