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Salvia coccinea

Phonetic Spelling
SAL-vee-ah kok-SIN-ee-ah
Description

Salvia coccinea is perennial in warmer climates and annual where winter temperatures are below freezing.  It can be grown as an annual to zone 4 and as a perennial in zones 9 and 10. It will sometimes survive as a perennial in zone 8 when winters are frostfree.

The bright red flowers are an inch long and arranged in loose whorls along the upright stem and bloom continuously from early summer to the first frost. It tolerates drought but will flower more abundantly with watering during dry spells. Scarlet sage is best grown in sandy, fertile soil but will tolerate clay soil with good drainage.

Though it looks similar to Salvia elegans, which has edible flowers, the flowers of Salvia coccinea are NOT edible.  Crush a flower. If it smells like sage or grass it is Salvia cocinea, do not eat.  If it smells like pineapple, it is Salvia elegans and is edible.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

More information on Salvia.

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See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Coral Nymph (also called Cherry Blossom)
    bicolor flowers of white and deep pinkish coral or salmon
  • Forest Fire
    fire-red flowers with reddish-black calyxes.
  • Lady in Red
    shorter and more free-flowering than other cultivars
  • Snow Nymph (also called Alba)
    white blossoms
  • Summer Jewel Pink
    light pink flowers
  • Summer Jewel Red
    red flowers, compact growth
Coral Nymph (also called Cherry Blossom), Forest Fire, Lady in Red, Snow Nymph (also called Alba), Summer Jewel Pink, Summer Jewel Red
Tags:
#hummingbirds#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#red flowers#cut flowers#cottage garden#cpp#deer resistant#borders#pollinator plant#sandy soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Coral Nymph (also called Cherry Blossom)
    bicolor flowers of white and deep pinkish coral or salmon
  • Forest Fire
    fire-red flowers with reddish-black calyxes.
  • Lady in Red
    shorter and more free-flowering than other cultivars
  • Snow Nymph (also called Alba)
    white blossoms
  • Summer Jewel Pink
    light pink flowers
  • Summer Jewel Red
    red flowers, compact growth
Coral Nymph (also called Cherry Blossom), Forest Fire, Lady in Red, Snow Nymph (also called Alba), Summer Jewel Pink, Summer Jewel Red
Tags:
#hummingbirds#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#red flowers#cut flowers#cottage garden#cpp#deer resistant#borders#pollinator plant#sandy soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Salvia
    Species:
    coccinea
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico, southeastern United States
    Distribution:
    Coastal; South Carolina to Florida; west to Texas.
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Long Bloom Season
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    two-lipped, with smaller upper lip and larger lower lip
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Deltoid
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    medium green, hairy leaves are roughly triangular, oval or heart-shaped, with scalloped edges.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Square stems are covered with short hairs as well as long spreading hairs.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Naturalized Area
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heat