Scarlet Sage

Scientific Name:  Salvia Splendens

Light:  Full sun to part shade

Zone:  10-12;  grown as an annual

Height:  12 to 24 inches

Width:  9 to 18 inches

Flowers:   June to frost; red.  Cultivars are available in various shades of red, pink, blue, lavender, orange, white, purple and bicolor.


Fall Color:

Butterflies: attracts

Birds:  Yes

Hummingbird:  attracts

Deer Resistant:  Yes

Insects/Pollinators:  attracts

Native: No, Native to Brazil

Idea Garden:

Propagation:  Start seed indoors around St. Patrick’s Day in Carroll county. Do not cover the seeds as they need light to germinate. Seeds should germinate in 14 days at 65 to 70F.  Set out seedlings or purchased plants after Mother’s Day.

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.


Salvia is a rich and diverse genus with over 900 known species worldwide, great landscape potential. S. splendens is one of the most commonly grown ornamental Salvia species. Flaming red is the signature color of this striking, fragrant plant which bears flowers in profusion on tall, erect spikes. Newer hybrids with pink, purple or white flowers add to the appeal of this long-time garden favorite.

Cultivars / Varieties

  •  Bonfire – 18″; Knee-hi, scarlet-red, thick spikes, early flowering.
  • Cover Girl –  7″; Very early, excellent in packs & reliable in garden. Stocky scarlet spikes.
  • Flare –  14″; Profusion of bright red spikes w’ dark-green foliage.
  • Lighthouse Series  – 24-30″ spreading 12″; Deep, vibrant colors. The only tall S. splendens on mkt today. Bushy plants display long-lasting color in the garden. Makes a low maintenance, heat resistant, background plant in landscapes. Suitable large containers. Purple, Red.
  • Maestro –  8-10″; Early flowering with dark-green foliage, heart shaped leaves & compact deep scarlet flower spikes. 
  • Magic Series – 14″; Weather tolerant, early, compact plant w’ dark-green foliage & strong spikes.  Red & White, Scarlet.
  • Mojave –  8″; Heat tolerant, very deep-red, big thick spikes. Glossy dark-green foliage. New spikes cover the old.  Early.
  • Reddy Series –  6″ container, 10″ garden spreading 10″; Genetic dwarf with unique non-stretching habit.. Stocky spikes above dark-green foliage. Bright Red, Lavender, Pink, Purple, Scarlet Bicolor, White, White Surprise (bicolor white calyxes & scarlet-red corollas).
  • Sahara – 12″; Strongly base branching, robust but stays short, with dark-green foliage & thick compact scarlet-red spikes over a long season. Excellent garden endurance against heat and humid conditions.
  • Saint John’s Fire – 12″; Very early flowers bright red.
  • Salsa Series  –  12-14″; Will flower in 9-10 weeks. Great, long blooming garden performer in sun or partial shade.  Light Purple, Scarlet.
  • Salvano – 12″; Multiple vivid-red flower spikes.  Vigorous growth & robust frame provide long season color.
  • Scarlet King  – 11″; Excellent scarlet-red color.
  • Sentry  – 8″ container, 10″ garden; Intense deep red, densely packed flower spike. Extremely early, compactly branching and durable in garden.
  • Sizzler Series  — 12″; Dark-Green foliage. Blooms early on compact plants. Burgundy, Burgundy Halo,  Purple, Red, Salmon.
  • Top Series – 14″; Robust landscape & garden habit. Burgundy, Scarlet.
  • Vista Series – 12″; Early flowering.  Dark-green leaves.  Lavender, Purple, Red, Red & White, Salmon, White.


Scarlet Sage  – Missouri Botanical Garden

Specialty Cut Flowers by Armitage & Laushman

Salvia splendens – North Carolina State Extension

 Salvia – Cornell University 

Recommended for Wildlife by

 For the Birds, Butterflies & Hummingbirds: Creating Inviting Habitats – Virginia Extension

Photo Credits

 lezumbalaberenjena, CC BY-NC-ND – 2.0


Additional information




Part Sun, Sun


Loam, Moist, Wet

Flower Color

Blue, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White

Flower Season

Fall, Summer

Wildlife Value

Beneficial Insects, Deer Resistant, Food for Birds, Hummingbird, Nectar

Notable Features

Containers, Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Long Blooming

Local Availability

Available, Widely Available


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Scarlet Sage”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *