A smart choice for arid climates, water-wise landscapes or rock gardens, the Texas ranger shrub (Leucophyllum frutescens) prefers these harsh settings where other plants wither and die. This woody evergreen produces gray-green foliage and trumpet-shaped purple, pink or white flowers. The flowers appear after rain showers in summer and attract hummingbirds. Texas ranger grows well in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10, where it thrives in full sun and low-nutrient, fast-draining soils of any pH. Texas ranger requires little care to remain healthy.
1 Water the Texas ranger shrub in summer if its soil dries completely. Apply 1 to 2 inches of water from a garden hose directly to the ground to moisten the shrub's entire root zone. Water the plant only during the morning to allow moistened foliage time to dry before nightfall. Never allow the soil to become soggy because this encourages crown rots and fungal diseases.
2 Prune the shrub in the late winter or early spring when it is dormant. Cut out any dead or broken branches with a pair of pruning shears. Make each cut 1/4 inch above an outward-facing leaf bud, lateral branch or branch base. Remove any crossing branches that rub against other limbs. Trim back vigorous or leggy branches by one-third, cutting them 1/4 inch above a lateral branch or leaf bud.
3 Pull weeds and pick up debris from the ground around the plant every two to four weeks. Discard the weeds and debris in a trash bin. This will eliminate hiding places for harmful insects, fungal spores and other diseases pathogens while eliminating competition for water and nutrients.
Items you will need
- Garden hose
- Pruning shears
- Sterilize the pruning shears in 50 percent bleach solution before and after pruning the shrub to prevent spreading diseases.
- Do not add compost to the soil or fertilize the Texas ranger shrub as fertile soil promotes weak, leggy growth.
- Never shear this plant, as it will develop a thin layer of foliage with a bare interior.
- Wear gloves when pruning the plant to protect your hands from scratches or cuts.
- Do not eat a Texas ranger's leaves to avoid any adverse effects. Do not allow children to play near the plant unsupervised or plant the shrub near children's play areas to prevent them accidentally eating parts of it.
- Floridata: Leucophyllum Frutescens
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Leucophyllum Frutescens
- University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension: Leucophyllum Frutescens
- Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture: Texas Sage, Texas Ranger, Texas Rain Sage, Cenizo, Texas Silverleaf, Ash-bush, Wild Lilac, Purple Sage, Senisa, Cenicilla, Palo Cenizo, Hierba Del Cenizo
- Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images