Salvia coccinea 'Forest Fire'
Common Name: Texas sage 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to October
Bloom Description: Fire-red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10. In St. Louis, it should be grown as an annual in average, evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It is best located in full sun in northern areas, but appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot southern summers. It prefers sandy loams with sharp drainage. In St. Louis, seed should be started indoors 6-8 weeks before last spring frost date. Plants grown from seed sown directly in the ground after the last spring frost date will bloom late. Set out seedlings or purchased plants after last frost date. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional bloom. Plants freely self-seed in warm winter climates.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Salvia coccinea, commonly called Texas sage, bloody sage or scarlet sage, is a red-flowered sage that is grown in St. Louis as an annual. It carries the distinction of being the only U.S. native sage to have red flowers. It is native from South Carolina to Florida west to Texas and Mexico, primarily being found in sandy forested areas, along roads and in waste/disturbed sites in coastal plain areas. It typically grows 1-2’ tall. It generally will survive winter only in frost-free areas. Flowers bloom in loose spikes (racemose inflorescences) from mid summer into fall. Ovate to triangular green leaves (to 2” long) are toothed and pubescent.

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 scarlet.

‘Forest Fire’ is a cultivar that features two-lipped, tubular, fire-red flowers (to 3/4” long) with reddish-black calyxes.


No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to downy and powdery mildew. Aphids, whiteflies and slugs may appear.


Mixed borders, beds.