Texas sage roots are slow-growing, evergreen plants that take roughly 2 years to establish fully. Once stable, they can grow as much as 6 ft (1.83 m) in height and width. The secret lies in their elaborate root system that tends to grow deep into the soil.
Texas sage roots grow 2-3 times as deep as their root balls’ height. It takes them about 2 years to become fully established, so giving their roots enough space for growth is important. Their roots grow deep because they’re drought tolerant and can store water from deep within the soil.
In this article, I’ll explain why Texas sage plants’ roots grow deep into the soil and why focusing on your plant’s root health early on is essential. I’ll also discuss how to provide your plant with good-quality soil for optimal growth by ensuring it drains fast and registers on the alkaline side of the pH scale. Let’s start!
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Why Are Texas Sage Roots So Deep?
Texas sage roots are so deep because they are drought-tolerant plants and can survive with very little water. The depth of their taproots allows them to seek and store water from deep in the soil. Texas sage roots must be given enough room to grow and spread, so they don’t strangle the root ball.
A common issue with Texas sage is root rot. This is typically observed in those planted in acidic soil with high nitrogen content and soil that doesn’t drain efficiently. Texas sage is best planted in the ground so its roots can enjoy ample growing space.
See What Are The Signs Of Overwatering Plants?
The plant hole must be at least 2-3 times as deep and wide as its root ball (source).
The quality of your soil will provide the foundation for proper root growth and overall plant health for your Texas sage. You can take additional measures to ensure that soil drainage and pH levels are ideal before planting your Texas sage.
How To Ensure Optimal Soil Drainage
Testing for soil drainage is an excellent way to ensure your plants enjoy long and healthy lives. It will also help keep your gardening dilemmas to a minimum since you’ll encounter fewer issues with your plants.
Here’s how to test your soil for proper drainage:
- Dig a hole in the planting area. It should be about 12 in (30.48 cm) wide and 12 in (30.48 cm) deep.
- Pour water into the hole. Allow it to drain naturally.
- Once fully drained, fill the hole again with water. The waiting game starts.
- Grab a watch or timer. Take note of how long it takes for the water to drain completely into the soil.
In well-draining soil, the water level should decrease by about 1 in (2.54 cm) per hour. Anything faster than this indicates that your soil is too loose and sandy. Texas sage plants don’t like extremely dry conditions, especially if you can’t commit to watering it as often as needed to keep the soil fairly damp.
A slower rate indicates poor soil drainage, and the soil will remain wet and soggy after watering or rainfall, harming your plant’s health.
If you live in an area where it often rains or the soil in your garden isn’t ideal for growing Texas sage, consider planting them in raised beds or deep pots with alkaline, well-draining soil. You can also turn to soil amendments to help increase your garden soil’s drainage rate.
Here are some options to help improve soil aggregation:
- Compost. This is a fantastic way to make use of discarded organic matter (twigs, leaves, kitchen scraps, etc.). Make sure to allow these to decompose naturally before utilizing them for your soil (source).
- Manure. Ensure you incorporate only well-rotted manure into your soil (source).
- Perlite and vermiculite. These volcanic elements help increase drainage while holding water longer in the soil and improving oxygen flow.
- Horticultural sand. Unlike ordinary sand, horticultural sand no longer contains salts that potentially damage plants.
- Peat moss, sphagnum peat, and coco coir. Apart from improving soil drainage, these also provide nutrients to the soil.
- Wood chips, wood ash, and grass clippings. These organic soil amendments help prevent soil from clustering so water can drain more freely.
How To Ensure Proper Soil pH
Soil pH indicates its alkalinity or acidity. It’s measured on a 1-14 scale, where 7 indicates neutral ground. A measurement below 7 indicates soil acidity, while a figure above 7 indicates alkalinity. Testing your soil’s pH will help determine if it’s ideal for growing Texas sage.
A soil pH meter (link to Amazon) will do the trick. Simply insert the probe into the soil at least 3 in (7.62 cm) deep, and you’ll see the results within seconds. This pH meter can also measure your soil’s moisture and nutrient content and the quality of light it receives.
Texas sage grows best in neutral to alkaline soil. If you find your soil pH unfit for growing Texas sage, consider adding these elements to the soil to increase its alkalinity:
- Pelletized or powdered limestones, agricultural lime, or dolomite lime
- Wood ash
- Crushed eggshells or clamshells
- Baking soda
- Bone meal
If your soil is too alkaline, see our guide to Identifying And Managing Alkaline Soil.
All About Texas Sage
Texas sage is a woody, flowering shrub known for its fuzzy, silver-gray leaves. It’s popular and well-loved because it is easy to care for, is drought-tolerant, and is not overly sensitive to temperature fluctuations.
Too much water, fertilizers, and pruning are not appreciated by this plant. Gardeners also use Texas sage to help stabilize loose earth, and it can even thrive in warm temperatures, dry conditions, and poor-quality soil.
Texas sage is great for enhancing outdoor spaces, especially when its star-shaped white, magenta and lavender flowers begin to bloom. This slow-grower can provide shelter for small animals and birds. Deer, typically destructive in gardens, are repelled by Texas Sage due to its strong fragrance.
Texas sage is a hardy plant that can thrive in dry conditions and with very little care. The key is to ensure it enjoys an ideal environment for growth, starting with providing it with suitable soil early on.
Proper root growth will influence your plant’s overall health. Ensure the roots can grow deep into the soil by planting them in a space 2-3 times deeper than their root ball, so they can seek and store valuable water.
Make sure the ground is on the alkaline side of the pH scale and is fast-draining.
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