How to Grow Leucophyllum — Silver Leaf

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Leucophyllum–commonly called Texas ranger or silverleaf–is an evergreen shrub native to the American Southwest. Leucophyllum has silvery-green leaves and bears bell- to funnel-shaped rose-purple flowers.

Leucophyllum is drought tolerant and is often found in arid or desert gardens where it can be used as a border or hedge plant. Leucophyllum is also salt-tolerant and can be used in seaside plantings.

Leucophyllum is a genus of 12 species native to the American Southwest and northern Mexico.

Get to know Leucophyllum

  • Plant type: Evergreen shrub
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 8 to 10
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 8
  • Height and width: 3 to 8 feet tall and a little wider depending on the variety
  • Foliage: Silvery leaves
  • Flowers: Open bell-shaped flowers
  • Bloom time: Flowers appear at varying times of the year
  • Uses: Shrub for desert gardens; clipped hedges, tall ground cover; Leucophyllum is salt tolerant and can be planted near the ocean.
  • Common name: Texas ranger, silverleaf
  • Botanical name: Leucophylllum
  • Family name: Scrophulariaceae
  • Origin: American Southwest and northern Mexico
 Texas ranger, Leucophyllum frutescens
Texas ranger, Leucophyllum frutescens

Where to plant Leucophyllum

  • Plant Leucophyllum in full sun.
  • Grow Leucophyllum in slightly acid, well-drained soil. Leucophyllum will tolerate salty soil.
  • Leucophyllum thrives in dry soil.

When to plant Leucophyllum

  • Set container-grown Leucophyllum in the garden in spring or fall.

Planting and spacing Leucophyllum

  • Space Leucophyllum 3 to 4 feet apart.

How to water and feed Leucophyllum

  • Keep the soil just moist. Leucophyllum can withstand drought.
  • Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer from spring through summer.

Leucophyllum care

  • Leucophyllum can tolerate hard pruning when reshaping is needed.

Leucophyllum pests and diseases

  • Leucophyllum is prone to attack by scale insects.
  • Stem rot, galls, and powdery mildew can attack.

Leucophyllum propagation

  • Propagate Leucophyllum from greenwood cuttings in early summer
  • Sow Leucophyllum seed in spring where the plant will grow.

Leucophyllum varieties to grow

  • Leucophyllum candidum, violet silverleaf. Dwarf shrub grows to 3 feet tall with rounded compact form; silvery foliage. Cultivar ‘Thundercloud’ has dark purple flowers.
  • L. frutescens, Texas ranger, Texas sage. Grows 5 to 8 feet tall and wide with open branching; silvery, woolly leaves; magenta tubular bell-shaped flowers. Cultivar ‘Green Cloud’ has green leaves and purple flowers; ‘Rain Cloud’ has gray leaves and lavender-blue flowers; ‘White Cloud’ has gray leaves and white flowers.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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