How to grow Radio Red Sage | Panda Anku

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Ken Lain of the Watters Garden Center in Prescott, Arizona shared Plant of the Week last Friday. Here’s your breakdown on how to grow Radio Red Sage.

How to Grow, Ken Lain, Plant of the Week, Radio Red Sage, The Mountain Gardener, Trumpet Vine, Watters Garden Center,

The longest blooming crimson sage heralding spring with continuous blooms that spread into fall. Hummingbirds and gardeners alike fall for this knee-high bloomer, which deserves a prominent spot in the garden’s hottest spots. Keep lightly pruned for a low informal hedge or a single specimen in borders or yard containers. Spear and deer proof.

Autumn sage is a wild growth native to the Southwest in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. It is a small, deciduous shrub that grows up to 3 feet tall and wide. Its small, dark green leaves have a slightly sticky coating. Brightly flavored 1″ flowers appear on 6-10″ spikes from spring through fall. Autumn sage comes in a wide range of flower colors including red, pink, fuchsia, purple, orange, yellow and white. The most heat tolerant are the pink and fuschia flowering varieties.

Its compact size, rich green foliage, long flowering period, and hummingbird profusion that attracts flowers have made this small shrub a mainstay in the southwestern garden. Use Autumn Sage in container gardens, planters, or as a border for landscape colors.

  • Botanical name: Salvia greggii
  • Common names: Fall Sage, Autumn Sage, Cherry Sage, Gregg Sage, Red Chihuahua Sage, Red Texas Sage
  • Size: 3’x3′ feet
  • Flower: Red, white, yellow, orange, salmon, fuchsia, purple, red-violet and burgundy
  • heyday: spring to autumn
  • Leaves: Small, pale green with a spicy-spicy scent
  • Growing zone: 7-11
  • Flower: 1 inch flowers with a distinct hump on the upper lip, a flared bilobed lower lip at right angles, fragrant and edible.
  • problems: Resistant to damage from pests, diseases and animals such as deer, elk and spears. Spit bugs were observed in summer.
  • wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

Radio red sage care

Autumn sage is well suited for tubs, borders or mass plantings. The branches emerge near the base of the plant, resulting in a vase-shaped appearance. Small 1 inch flowers from spring through fall. It tolerates heat and requires little additional water after the plant is established. The historically red-flowering plant has been improved and different colors are now available. Salvia is adaptable to many garden soils and is attractive to both hummingbirds and butterflies.


For your fall sage plant to reach its full potential, it needs full sun for about six hours a day.


Soil should be rich and well-drained for best flowering.


New plants need water to establish themselves, so make sure they get adequate watering. A small plant with fewer leaves will require less water than a large leafy plant in bloom. Give your sage a deep bath twice a week during the summer. This can be reduced to once a week if a monsoon rain occurs. You should water this plant twice a month during winter or when the soil feels dry.


Growing fall sage needs a lot of nutrients. Feed 7-4-4 all-purpose feed three times a year for amazing flowers. This natural food is sprinkled like salt and pepper around the base of the plant every Easter, July 4th and Halloween for incredible results.

Varieties of sage in autumn

For large, showy flowers, you’ll want to plant the following varieties:

Radio Red – The brightest red of all sages

Mica Heatwave is a new pure white that sparkles in the gardens.

Ignition Purple is the latest purple to hit the market

Furman’s Red is the strain that started the fall sage craze


Salvia prefers pruning in late winter and early spring, before new leaves form. March is the ideal month to shape and prune this woody perennial shrub. Autumn sage benefits from midsummer pruning and revitalizes the plant. Pruning in midsummer encourages a second bloom of massive buds.

Grow in containers

If you’re growing fall sage in a container, make sure you plant it in a pot with adequate drainage holes. Fill the post with Watters potting soil and plant straight into this super growing medium.

How to plant fall sage

This article was written by Ken Lain. He can be found weekdays at the Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott or can be contacted through his website at or

Get more gardening tips from the Watters Garden Center in the Mountain Gardener Column on Signals A

Watters Garden Center, open house, The Mountain Gardener, Ken Lain, Lisa Watters-Lain,

Prescott Valley Outdoor Summit

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