How & When to Prune a Furman's Red Sage Plant
Furman's Red Sage is a red-blooming cultivar of the species Salvia gregii, also known as Autumn Sage. It is a small, woody herb with a shrub growth habit that reaches up to 4 feet in height and is prized for being a low-maintenance, flowering plant. It is planted in beds and borders and en masse as tall ground cover and low hedging or edging. Regular light pruning and occasional hard pruning keep it blooming and compact.
Trim away spent flower stalks, dead stems, branches or any signs of diseased tissue throughout the growing season immediately when you see them. Cut back to a point of healthy tissue or all the way down to the crown of the plant an inch or two above the soil. To keep plants tidy and free blooming, prune and remove dead flower stems frequently.
Prune your Furman's Sage plants for height and spread in the early spring to make way for new green growth. Reduce the length of branches as desired, placing cuts in proportion to the natural shape of the shrub. Cut away any branches that are lying on the ground in the soil and any branches that have died over the winter down to the crown. Remove up to, but no more than, one-third of the living plant mass in one pruning session.
Rejuvenate your Red Sage in the spring every few years or as needed by pruning out one-third of the oldest woody branches that have the least number of leaves on them. Cut the branches down to the crown of the plant and pull them from the canopy and compost or discard them. Spread the pruning cuts evenly throughout the plant so that new green growth will emerge to fill out the round shape evenly.
Sage is a woody perennial plant classified as a subshrub. The older it gets the thicker and woodier the stems get. In warm climates, sage is pruned year-round to use in culinary dishes, but it appreciates a rest during the winter when it does not produce as much. These bare stems should be pruned back right above the new leaves. Take off one-third of the new growth. Sage should never be cut all the way to the ground; it will not recover. Stop pruning and harvesting large quantities of sage after the beginning of September in all regions.
- Pruning shears
- Small scissors
- USDA Plant Data Base Profile: Salvia gregii
- Sunset Plant Finder: Salvia greggii 'Furman's Red'
- Fine Gardening Magazine; Pruning Subshrubs; Debra Knapke
- Illinois Times; Sage Advice to Cut Thyme; Jennifer Fishburn; August 23, 2006
- Sunset: Salvia Officinalis
- Washington State University: Using Garden Sage Wisely