Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Salvia coccinea:
Scarlet Sage

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Form: Herb.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Deciduous.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 1-3' high and 2' wide.
Flowers: Bright red, tubular, about 1" a long, lower lip at a right angle with two lobes, and stamens extending beyond the upper lip, inedible. These flowers are arrayed on terminal spikes about 12" long.
Bloom: All year in frost-free areas.
Fruit: Up to four tiny seeds at the base of each dried calyx (cup-like structure that holds the flower and ovary).
Leaves: Green, broad, pointed, course textured, somewhat hairy, pungent, inedible.
Stems: No thorns.
Wildlife: Attracts bees, large butterflies, and hummingbirds. Usually avoided by mammals.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Coastal southeastern United States into Mexico, Central and South America.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: As annual, 4-7a; as perennial 7b-11.
Heat tolerant: Yes, especially in part shade.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Needs part to full shade during the hottest months of the year.
Water once established: Once or twice a month. It appears better with weekly water during summer heat.
Soil: Well drained, pH 6.1-8.5 (slightly acidic to alkaline).
Mulch: Just before freezing temperatures to protect roots.
Prune: Just before freezing temperatures, cut to ground. In mid-summer, if it is leggy, cut it back half-way to develop a bushy appearance.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed. This plant self-seeds easily.
Uses: Ornamental, wildlife attractor.

Although a member of the Mint family (Lamiaceae), this entire plant is inedible. The butterfly is a Pipevine Swallowtail.

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Salvia coccinea: Scarlet Sage - flower

Salvia coccinea: Scarlet Sage - flowers

Salvia coccinea: Scarlet Sage - with butterfly

Salvia coccinea: Scarlet Sage

Latest update: May, 2021
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