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Friday - August 08, 2014

From: Catasauqua, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Shrubs
Title: Sages in Catasauqua, PA
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I want to buy a Texas Sage tree but I live in PA. Can I bring the tree indoors during winter?

ANSWER:

  Well – Of course you can bring the tree indoors for the winter [assuming you plant it in a pot!].  The question I’m concerned about is will the tree thrive in your area of Pennsylvania in general.   The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.  For where you live - - A Texas Sage is most certainly not native, so from our point of view you will be fighting a serious uphill battle trying to keep it alive.

  When you say Texas Sage, it could be either Salvia texana (Texas sage) or Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo).  In either case, they are native only to the Southwest.   They have very similar comments as to growing conditions, the following is an edited down version of this.

GROWING CONDITIONS

Water Use: Low 
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade 
Soil Moisture: Dry 
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Found in limestone soils of consistencies ranging from sandy to clay and rocky caliche 
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2) 
Conditions Comments: According to legend, cenizo tends to bloom in conjunction with rainfall. Cenizo is easy to grow so long as it has good drainage. Though this species is the most irrigation-tolerant of the genus, it is susceptible to cotton root rot if soil does not have good drainage and remains moist. Humidity and high night temperatures are lethal. Cenizos should not be fertilized or over-watered. Drought- and heat-tolerant. During very cold winters, may lose a few leaves. 

This is my concern, the Sage needs full Texas sun, dry alkaline soil, and very little water.  In essence, you would need to provide the Texas climate in Catasauqua,  PA.

  Now, I don't know why you called the Texas Sage, but as a stawart supporter of natives I would like to suggest some natives that might do better in Pennsylvania.   Perhaps instead consider  Salvia azurea (Pitcher sage),  Artemisia frigida (Prairie sagewort)Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage), or Artemisia ludoviciana (Louisiana artemisia). These  are sages that are native in the Mid-Atlantic. These would be much better choices that you can expect to thrive in Pennsylvania.  In fact, Artemisia frigida (Prairie sagewort) grows well into Canada and Alaska. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas sage
Salvia texana

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Texas sage
Salvia texana

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Pitcher sage
Salvia azurea

Prairie sagewort
Artemisia frigida

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Louisiana artemisia
Artemisia ludoviciana

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