Scarlet sage (Salvia splendens) is an ornamental flowering plant. It is a clump-forming, tender perennial, woody herb, growing up to 90 cm tall. Leaf stalks are 3-4.5 cm long, hairless. The 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 inflorescence 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 the throat. The upper lip is straight, somewhat concave, oblong, lower lip shorter than upper. It flowers a good part of summer and autumn.
Species: S. splendens
Scientific Name: Salvia splendens
Common Names: Scarlet sage or Tropical sage
How to grow and maintain Scarlet sage:
It thrives best in full sun to part shade.
It grows well in an average, evenly moist, well-drained soils. It also grows easily in pots of ordinary peat-based mixes.
Water regularly, Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. During winter, reduce watering. Allow the top inch of soil dry between each watering.
Regular feeding with water-soluble fertilizers is required. Fertilizers recommended for flowering plants are suitable. Use them as per rates mentioned on the fertilizer packets.
Pinch off the entire flower spike as soon as it gets old and faded. This will initiate new growth and flowering. Fertilizer can be added a week after clean-up.
It can be easily propagated by seed or by cuttings. Start seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Set out seedlings or purchased plants after last frost date. If desired, cut back and pot up several plants in fall or take cuttings in late summer for overwintering in a bright but cool sunny window.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pests or disease problems. Watch for spider mites, thrips, and Spittlebugs. If you notice any pests around your plant try using an organic pesticide or an insecticidal soap to keep them under control.