Making more Plants: Saving Mexican Sage Through Winter

We’ve been planting Mexican Sage in our landscape for the last couple of years. Often taking most of the garden season to mature and flower, It’s a great plant for the late season garden. Unfortunately, Mexican sage is not winter hardy in Connecticut. The good news is it’s super easy to make more plants and to overwinter the plant (see other blog post for making more plants: Mexican Sage).  Here is how I’m able to keep most tropical plants from year to year.  In the spring, you can just take cuttings of Mexican Sage, put them in water and pot them up once they root. This strategy, unfortunately, doesn’t work in fall. For cutting plants in the fall to overwinter, seek out the youngest, non woody, preferably non flowering stems you can find. It will be difficult because this plant flowers so profusely. Instead of placing the cutting in water, stick the cutting directly into sand. Put them into full sun/partial sun or under a grow light and water occasionally. In a month or two, the cuttings will develop roots.

Mexican Sage cuttings stuck in sand.

These cutting were taken about 2 months ago. At this point, about a third of the cuttings have failed and another quarter have yet to develop roots even though the top growth looks healthy. For the plants that had a nice batch of roots, it’s time to pot them up.

Salvia Luecantha

I use regular potting soil and will water occasionally through spring. I’ll continue to control top growth so the plants don’t get too leggy through the winter. Once the warm weather returns, slowly expose the plant back outside taking care not to expose them to too much sun too quickly. A good approach is not to expose them to any more sun, the first day or two, than they were receiving in their winter hiding spot. Slowly acclimate the new plants to their full sun planting spot over a week or so. Don’t forget to keep the plants watered through this transition. There has been years where I’ve nurtured cuttings through the winter, put them outside and I forget to water them for days. By the time I remember about them, it’s too late and I have to start with a newly purchased plant. Enjoy.

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Richard Schipul

For the last 30 years, I have owned the landscape company Designing Eden LLC based in New Milford, CT. We offer landscape designs, landscape installations and garden maintenance services in Fairfield and Litchfield County Connecticut. I am currently the only Nationally Certified Landscape Designer in Litchfield County and sit on the board of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and Mad Gardeners.


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