Water the Texas sage plant deeply to a depth of at least 3 inches the day before hard pruning it.
Sanitize your pruning shears with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol before using them on Texas sage plants to avoid infecting the plant with pathogens.
Texas sage is one of many common names for Leucophyllum frutescens, a species of of flowering shrub native to the deserts of New Mexico, Texas and northern Mexico. The silvery leaves and summer flower display of Texas sage endears it to many gardeners, particularly in areas where rainfall is scant and drought-tolerant plants are desired. Texas sage requires little maintenance if grown in dry, sunny conditions, but it sometimes grows too large or becomes leggy and must be pruned to improve its shape and control its size.
Hard Pruning Texas Sage
Hard prune Texas sage shrubs in late winter to control the size of the shrub and improve the density of the foliage. Observe the natural shape of the shrub before pruning it to guide your work.
Prune away the previous two years of growth using pruning shears. Focus on altering the length of the stems not the number of the stems overall. Cut each stem at a slight angle just above a set of leaves.
Trim off no more than one-half of the height of the shrub. Avoid removing whole branches from the Texas sage shrub since it will negatively impact the natural form.
Discard the Texas sage branches in a compost pile or green waste bin.
Tip Pruning Texas Sage
Prune Texas sage shrubs lightly during the growing season to encourage foliage production and increase branching.
Pinch off the soft tips of the branches as they appear. Remove just the soft, newly emerged foliage no more than 1 or 2 inches from the tips of the branches.
Cease tip pruning in late June or early July in preparation for blooming. Allow the shrub to bloom normally then remove the flower heads using pruning shears once they are spent.
Discard the clippings in a compost pile or green waste bin, or use them to propagate new Texas sage plants.
Samantha McMullen began writing professionally in 2001. Her nearly 20 years of experience in horticulture informs her work, which has appeared in publications such as Mother Earth News.