How to Trim a Purple Sage

Miss Chen
Purple sage (Salvia leucophylla) is an evergreen plant that typically grows 3 to 6 feet tall, though some individual specimens have been known to reach 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Purple sage shrubs have aromatic gray-green vegetation, an attractive, airy form and fragrant lavender-pink blooms. They thrive in full sun but need no water once established, which makes them ideal for drought-tolerant landscaping. Plants also tolerate freezing temperatures. This distant relative of culinary sage is best pruned minimally, to support general plant health and encourage optimal flowering in the landscape.

Step 1

Prune purple sage only with a purpose, because any unnecessary trimming will only diminish the amount of attractive, fragrant flowers.

Step 2

Make major pruning cuts only when purple sage is dormant, near the end of the winter when the coldest temperatures have passed.

Step 3

Assess the shrub and its condition thoroughly before making any additional pruning cuts. First cut off dead, diseased or otherwise damaged branches and stems.

Step 4

Stand back to study the plant's symmetry and general proportions, walking all the way around if necessary. Make your next cuts to enhance overall balance.

Step 5

Trim lightly to remove dead branches and stems -- or to make corrective cuts you may have missed earlier -- at any time during the year.

Step 6

Deadhead spent purple sage flowers for a neater look if desired, but this isn't absolutely necessary because dried flowers look fine too -- and leaving them gives seeds a chance to develop and disperse.
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