Salvia splendens
Common Name: scarlet sage 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Brazil
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to frost
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer


Tender perennial that is winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11. In St. Louis, grow as a warm weather annual in average, evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. 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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Salvia splendens, commonly called scarlet sage, is native to Brazil. It is a clump-forming, tender perennial that typically grows to 1-2’ tall on square, upright stems. Features long-tubed, red-bracted, bright red flowers (to 2” long) in dense, erect, terminal racemes from summer to fall. Oval, serrate, dark green leaves (to 3” long). Cultivars are available in various shades of red, pink, blue, lavender, orange, white and bicolor. Many of the cultivars are compact selections growing 8-15” tall.

The genus name Salvia comes from the Latin word salveo meaning "to save or heal", in reference to the purported medically curative properties attributed to some plants in the genus.

Specific epithet means splendid.


Beds, borders, cottage gardens, cutting gardens. Compact selections are good for edging and containers.