Bring on the hummers with WINDWALKER royal red salvia
Talk about a hummingbird magnet, WINDWALKER® royal red salvia takes the cake. The huge, blood red flowers cloak the plant from late June through October. Unlike previous desert salvias, WINDWALKER® royal red salvia is a larger presence in the garden. At 3-4 feet high and wide, this siren calls hummingbirds from miles away!
When Kelly Grummons of Timberline Gardens crossed Salvia microphylla ‘Raspberry Delight’ (USDA zone 4) with Salvia darcyi now known as VERMILLION BLUFFS® Mexican sage, this particular seedling stood out from the crowd. It grew bigger and faster, flowered earlier and longer and was winter hardy!
Give WINDWALKER® royal red salvia plenty of room. As the stems reach upward, they arch outward, more lax than VERMILLION® BLUFFS. Growing this Salvia VERY dry after establishment keeps it less rambunctious. Plant it in full, hot sun in well drained, rock garden-type soil. A single application of balanced fertilizer in May each year is all it will require to dazzle you for the next 4-5 months! Keep WINDWALKER® royal red salvia more compact by cutting it back around June 1st to about 6-8 inches high. It will branch out and flower at about 2-3 feet in height.
Desert type salvias are truly the queens of the dry garden. Visitors to our garden cannot resist stopping to admire the salvias in the heat of summer after the spring beauties have faded. The color of WINDWALKER® royal red salvia, a true crimson, blood red, is an easier color to combine with other flowers.
In our garden we have paired WINDWALKER® royal red salvia with apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa) with its amazing white flowers and rusty seed plumes. Nearby is WINDWALKER® big bluestem (another Plant Select® 2015 selection). Its blue-purple blades and burgundy plumes make a perfect backdrop to the crimson flowers of WINDWALKER® royal red salvia.
In a mass planting, combine WINDWALKER® royal red salvia alternatively with UNDAUNTED® ruby muhly Grass for a traffic-stopping design. The billowing, copper-red plumes of the muhly Grass soften the bright red of the Salvia. Plant them about three feet apart with the muhly towards the outside of the bed as it is shorter. Desert salvias can be dead-headed in the fall, but don’t cut back the wood stems to the ground until April. Winter watering is not necessary except for the first winter.
View the plant profile here.
WINDWALKER® royal red salvia
Salvia darcyi x S. microphylla ‘PWIN03S’
Size: 46-50 inches tall x 46-50 inches wide
Blooms: blood red, late June through October
Sun: Full sun
Water: Moderate to xeric
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-9
Culture: clay, loam or sandy soils
Thanks to Kelly Grummons, Timberline Gardens for supplying this information.