Salvia, Big Mexican Scarlet Sage 'Tequila'

Salvia gesneriiflora

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salvia (SAL-vee-uh) (Info)
Species: gesneriiflora (ges-ner-ee-ih-FLOR-a) (Info)
Cultivar: Tequila
Synonym:Salvia gesneraeflora
» View all varieties of Salvias



Tropicals and Tender Perennials


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:


Dark Purple/Black

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Mid Winter




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

By simple layering

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Amesti, California

Charter Oak, California

Fallbrook, California

Ferndale, California

Los Angeles, California

Pasadena, California

Redlands, California

Richmond, California

Roseville, California

Sacramento, California

San Francisco, California

Temecula, California

Palm Coast, Florida

Kalama, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 1, 2017, derbeh from Los Angeles, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have this wonderful sage planted beneath a guava tree and it has grown up into the tree, well over 7 feet tall so far. It sprawls through the shady garden and is now blooming with beautiful bright scarlet blooms, almost 2" long with black calyces. When the hummingbirds feed, they have to stick their head all the way into the flower, which makes it look like they are wearing bright red hats. I have started several new plants by allowing the stems to come into contact with the ground, where they form roots. Once the roots are well established, i cut the main stem and then pot the newly rooted plant. Well worth it for the sage collector!


On Mar 31, 2007, deckerce from Covina, CA wrote:

This plant grew out of bounds, smothering other plants as it grew. I had professionals remove the plant, which had stems as thick as 2". Wild flower seeds have not sprouted in the area where it grew, although the same seeds sprouted profusely elsewhere. Does anyone know if the plant produces allelopathic chemicals?
I will say that hummingbirds liked the flowers, but there are better behaved Salvias. I bought the plant as a little rooted cutting at a Huntington plant sale a few years ago. When I had it removed, it covered an area 12' in diameter. Maybe if I had put it in an unwatered part ot my property, I wouldn't have had this problem.


On Feb 22, 2005, drdon from Temecula, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

We are growing this cultivar along with the 'Mole Poblano' cultivar. They froze a bit in our zone during a really severe frost and a few branches broke under the weight of the first snow we've had since 1967, but they came out of their winter rest cycle full blast. The flowers are so bright that visitors to our garden thought they were fakes.


On Jan 26, 2005, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Species information: subshrubby perennial bearing ovate, scalloped, hairy, mid-green leaves to 4" long with heart-shaped bases. From early spring to mid-autumn, many branched stems bear terminal racemes of numerous, softly hairy red flowers.

Outdoors, grow in light, moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil in full sun. During growing season, water freely and apply balanced fertilizer monthly. Protect from excessive winter moisture if grown outside. During winter, water very sparingly and maintain low to moderate humidity (if indoors).

If starting from seed as an annual. Sow seed at 61-64 deg F or after all danger of frost has passed.
Zones 9-10.