Native to the Southwest and northern Mexico, these compact, slow-growing shrubs are highly useful and attractive in dry gardens. Most have silvery foli- age and a good show of - to 1-in.-wide flowers with an open bell shape. Flowering may occur at varying times of the year, often after summer showers. In fact, they can bloom in response to increased humidity, flowering a few days before rain and earning them the nickname barometer bush. Need very good drainage. Tolerate heat, wind, and alkaline soil. Resist damage from browsing deer. Use as informal or clipped hedges, massed as tall ground cover, or in mixed dry-country gardens. Unless formally hedged, plants require little pruning. Old, leggy plants can be rejuvenated by cutting close to the ground.
L. candidum. VIOLET SILVERLEAF. To 5 ft. high and wide, with small (-in.), silvery leaves and deep purple flowers. 'Silver Cloud' is a heavy bloomer with very white foliage. 'Thunder Cloud' is smaller than the species (to 34 ft. high and wide) and has deeper purple, more closely spaced blossoms.
L. frutescens. TEXAS RANGER, TEXAS SAGE, CENIZO. To 68 ft. tall and wide, with gray foliage and light purple flowers. 'Green Cloud' has bright green foliage and dark rose or magenta flowers; it may be deciduous in coldest winters. 'White Cloud' has gray foliage and white flowers. 'Compacta', with gray foliage and pink flowers, grows 5 ft. high and wide.
L. laevigatum. CHIHUAHUAN SAGE. Open, angular growth to 4 ft. tall, 5 ft. wide. Tiny, dark green leaves; profuse lavender flowers.
L. langmaniae. Dense grower to 5 ft. high and wide, with bright green leaves and lavender flowers. 'Lynn's Legacy' ('Lynn's Everblooming') flowers profusely over a long period in summer.
L. pruinosum. Open growth habit to 6 ft. tall and wide, with silvery foliage. Purple flowers have a strong fragrance of grape bubble gum.
L. 'Rain Cloud'. Hybrid derived from L. frutescens. Erect growth to 6 ft. tall, 34 ft. wide. Small, silvery leaves; violet-blue flowers.
L. revolutum. Slow growth to about 4 ft. tall, 45 ft. wide, with light green, somewhat succulent foliage. Bears purple flowers that appear in fall, later than for other leucophyllums. 'Houdini' has larger, showier blossoms than the species.
L. zygophyllum. To 3 ft. tall and wide, with gray-green, cupped leaves and light blue flowers. 'Cimarron' is a dense grower with bluish purple flowers tightly packed along stems; leaves have a distinctly cupped shape.