Salvia splendens (Red)
Common names: Scarlet Sage, Annual Sage, Scarlet Bedding Sage
Scarlet sage is one of the most commonly grown ornamental Salvia species. It is cultivated as a bedding plant in many countries
Indefatigable bloomer, Scarlet sage (Salvia splendens) is a tender perennial that is mostly grown for its dense, usually brilliant scarlet flowers (therefore its common name) although new selections include attractive shades of rich purple, pink, blue, lavender, salmon, white and bicolor. Hummingbirds love its brilliant blossoms, but deer do not!
Prized by gardeners for its ornamental blossoms, it has an outstanding effect in beds, borders, containers from late spring to frost. A valuable addition to cottage gardens, cutting gardens and effective for edging too! Best in mass plantings with other annuals.
Easy to grow, fairly pest and disease free, it requires little deadheading, attracts butterflies and blends nicely with any other annuals or perennials for the best effect!
It is a woody herb, growing up to 90 cm tall. Leaf stalks are 3-4.5 cm long, hairless. Leaf blade is ovate to triangular-ovate, 2.5-7 cm long, 2-4.5 cm wide, smooth, margin toothed, with a tapering tip. Flowers are borne in 2-6-flowered racemes, up to 20 cm. Bracts are ovate, red, enveloping flowers in bud. In bud, the inflorescens looks like overlapping bracts. Flower stalks are 4-7 mm, red hairy. Sepal cup is red, bell-shaped, about 1.6 cm in flower, dilated to 2 cm after maturity. Flower tube is scarlet, 4-4.2 cm, velvety, slightly dilated at throat. Upper lip is straight, somewhat concave, oblong, 8-9 × ca. 4 mm; lower lip shorter than upper. Thrives in full sun in light, humus-rich, moderately fertile, moist, well-drained soils.
Perennial in zones 10 – 11, it may be grown as an annual in cooler areas.
May be grown from seeds, starting indoors 6-8 weeks prior to the last spring frost date.