Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Scarlet Sage, Scarlet Salvia, Red Sage, Red Salvia
Salvia splendens

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salvia (SAL-vee-uh) (Info)
Species: splendens (SPLEN-denz) (Info)

» View all varieties of Salvias

30 members have or want this plant for trade.

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6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

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By Floridian
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By Eliza
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By agfinchjr
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By Marilynbeth
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There are a total of 9 photos.
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11 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Sandwichkatexan On Jul 15, 2012, Sandwichkatexan from Copperas Cove, TX wrote:

I love this plant ! Its one of those forget about plants that you plant and forget you have it until it smothers itself in flowers. Has survived mild winters here in zone 8 a but is killed in more severe winters . It likes to self sow all over the place and I am always happy to find new plants after a particularly harsh winter. If all of mine were to be killed off it is easily found at almost every garden center at the beginning of spring. so far for the past several years it has either come back from the roots , Or if its a bad winter comes back from seeds it has sown itself. So I have not needed to purchase it every year . Great plant and gives a lively shot of color to partially shaded areas.

Positive flowrjunkie On Apr 3, 2010, flowrjunkie from Playa del Carmen
Mexico (Zone 11) wrote:

I had two varieties of Red Salvia, but found the hummingbirds to be wildly in love with "Firecracker". My original Firecracker Salvia has been blooming for 4 years. In terms of visual qualities, I am actually so-so about the plant itself. But seeing varieties of hummingbirds actually queued in an overhead flight pattern, waiting their pecking-order turn, is why this plant delights me. It seeds itself quite freely, so I am establishing a few more large plants. I deadhead the old blooms - and don't need to be to fussy about how I go about this, as the plants quite promptly and happily replenish themselves. I water almost daily during our long, dry, sunny summers. When the plants have mostly stopped flowering, usually November or so, I cut them back quite a bit; then they regrow to about 2' tall each summer. I feed them a few times a year. My Firecrackers are container grown (as are all my flowers - my patio is concrete) and do best in full sun, though those in semi-shade also do fine.

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Aug 11, 2008, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Salvia splendens grows as a self-seeding annual in my Zone 8b/9a garden. It returns from year to year. I've tried it in several spots in my yard, but the one it favors best is shaded most of the day with about 2 hours of fairly direct afternoon sun. It grows amongst my elephant ears collection. Though I wish it had selected some other spot, I am leaving it where it decided it wants to grow.


Positive Marilynbeth On May 26, 2007, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:

Love growing these 'shorter' Salvias, along with the 'Lady in Red' Salvia to attract the Hummers that visit.

An annual in zone 6.

Positive FloridaG8or On Jan 24, 2007, FloridaG8or from Lake Butler, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have the "fire-cracker" variety, and man am I pleased with it. I planted it into my butterfly garden and it attracted more humming birds than butterflies (although the butterflys liked it also). I am fully aware that North Florida doesn't have much cold weather, but my two red salvias are still blooming from last march, they made it fine through the winter. If you want to have winged friends in your yard, I recomend this plant!

Positive gardener8649 On Sep 21, 2005, gardener8649 from Fort Wayne, IN wrote:

My husband had grown red salvia for years to add color around his house. When I married him last year, I found a flat of "tall" red salvia and planted it behind the small plants. It grew tremendously, especially when I deadheaded the mature blooms and the side shoots came out. It gave a good show from the street because it was tall and brilliant red. I did not have good luck with white salvia. It did not grow well and dried up in the hot weather.

Positive penpen On Aug 20, 2004, penpen from North Tonawanda, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have grown Bonfire here in western NY and it has been a prolific bloomer all summer even this year which has been very cloudy and rainy all summer and it really adds a bright burst of color to the garden. Usually my hummers ignore the annual salvias but they have made frequent visits to these plants this year. It is an annual here but seeds are very easy to collect for subsequent sowing.

Neutral Hornbeam On May 8, 2004, Hornbeam from Chincoteague Island, VA wrote:

Cut off faded flower spikes to encourage more bloom

Positive FastFredi On Aug 30, 2003, FastFredi from RR 5 Clinton, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have been growing the 'Red Hot Sally' variety for approximately 10 years now and saving seed from them for the next year. I recently came across 2 more varieties of Salvia splendens called 'Scarlet Bicolour' and 'Hotline Red'. The hummingbirds just love these plants so I make sure to start them on a staggered seeding schedule so that I have some blooming at all times until finaly a hard frost finishes them off.

Positive suncatcheracres On Aug 2, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

A beautiful plant. It seems every yard in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, has this plant, and I'm glad to find that it will grow further South in zone 8b, Northcentral Florida, as we are usually wetter than Atlanta. But my son, who lives in an Atlanta suburb, tells me they have had 70 inches of rain by August this year--the usual is about 55 for the whole year--so slugs and snails are definately a problem. I've found a good remedy for them is to save and crush up egg shells and sprinkle the shells around plants these annoying pests love, as they don't like to travel over the shells, as the shells cut up their underbellies.

Positive dstartz On Aug 2, 2003, dstartz from Deep South Texas, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is one of the most satisfying plants I have had the pleasure to grow! It seems to thrive on heat and neglect and blooms PROFUSELY almost year round, especially when given ample fertilizer.

It's only pest for me has been a severe infestation of snails during a rather extended rainy spell.

It has grown for me as a tender perennial in zones 8b-9b. It has also come back strong from short periods of drought.

Positive jkom51 On Oct 18, 2002, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I'm growing the 'Firecracker' red variety in Northern California (U.S.) Although drought-resistant, they do not flower well without regular water. Mulching helps as well. I have not had trouble with slugs or snails, nor with aphids.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 7, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

There are at least 10 varieties of this sage. The height range also varies from 8 inches to 3 ft tall. It needs good, well-drained soil.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Chandler, Arizona
Hereford, Arizona
Fallbrook, California
Irvine, California
Mountain View, California
Sacramento, California
Stockton, California
Wethersfield, Connecticut
Brandon, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Lake Butler, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Evanston, Illinois
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Davenport, Iowa
Junction City, Kansas
Lansing, Kansas
Hebron, Kentucky
Holden, Louisiana
Monroe, Louisiana
Crofton, Maryland
Provincetown, Massachusetts
Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Aurora, Missouri
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Rodeo, New Mexico
New York City, New York
North Tonawanda, New York
Staten Island, New York
Newport, North Carolina
Ladys Island, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee
Alice, Texas
Carrollton, Texas
Copperas Cove, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Friendswood, Texas
Grand Prairie, Texas
Katy, Texas
Pasadena, Texas
Port Neches, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Kalama, Washington
Port Edwards, Wisconsin
Kinnear, Wyoming
Riverton, Wyoming

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