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Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage)
Page, Lee

Salvia coccinea

Salvia coccinea P.J. Buchoz ex Etlinger

Scarlet Sage, Tropical Sage, Blood Sage, Red Sage, Indian Fire

Lamiaceae (Mint Family)


USDA Symbol: SACO5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I), PR (N), VI (N)

Several whorls of red to pinkish flowers form an interrupted spike on a square stem.

This showy southern native is characterized by the loose, widely spaced nature of the flowering spike. It is found in the hot sands of the South. The flamboyant, cultivated member of this group, Scarlet Sage (S. splendens), was introduced from Brazil.


From the Image Gallery

68 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual , Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 30 inches tall.
Fruit: Nutlets.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Red , Pink
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec


USA: AL , FL , GA , HI , LA , MS , OH , SC , TX
Native Distribution: Coastal; South Carolina to Florida; west to Texas.
Native Habitat: In sandy soils in thickets, chaparral, in open woods and edges in east and south Texas.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil Description: Caliche type, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: Scarlet sage reseeds easily and will grow in the shade. It has pungent foliage that makes it fairly deer resistant. Periodically trim and deadhead to keep it bushy.


Use Ornamental: Easily grown, Blooms ornamental, Color, Perennial garden
Use Wildlife: Nectar-Hummingbirds, Nectar-Bees, Nectar-insects
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies , Hummingbirds
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High


Propagation Material: Seeds
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Need plants with red flowers to grow in shaded area in yard in Austin.
May 04, 2010
I have a shaded area where all the shrubs die. I would like to plant some flowers there instead of shrubs. What red flower plants can sustain a lot of shade.
view the full question and answer

Edible Native Plants for a Small Austin Garden
March 15, 2010
Hello Mr. Smarty Plants (or Mrs. or Miss, whomever is answering this go'round)! First off, thank you so much for all the help you have given me in the past. Secondly, the company my husband works ...
view the full question and answer

Edible plants native to Austin, TX
August 05, 2009
Hello, I am a chef from Buenos Aires Argentina visiting Austin, Texas and would like to learn about native, edible plants in the region. Please let me know if there are any native, edible plants...
view the full question and answer

Question about Salvia coccinea photos in the Native Plant Database
June 29, 2009
A search for Salvia coccinea in the database resulted in some of the pictures showing frostweed crystals ('am assuming that is an error), as well as some white and bicolor pastel pink & white blooms....
view the full question and answer

Native plants for container gardens in Central Texas
March 11, 2008
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I moved to TX last year, for now living in an apartment with a good-size but shady deck; my garden in VA was full of VA native plants. What TX natives, if any, can I grow in ...
view the full question and answer

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Naval Air Station Kingsville - Kingsville, TX
Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0538 Collected Aug 3, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Research Literature

Reslit 1004 - Tolerance of native wildflower seedlings to imazapic (2003) J. G. Norcini, J. H. Aldrich and F. G. Martini
Reslit 2777 - Using compost for container production of ornamental hammock species native to Florida (2004) S. B. Wilson, L. K. Mecca, P. J. Stoffella, D. A. ...
Reslit 2778 - Effect of paclobutrazol and ethephon on plant height and flower numbers in Salvia coccinea Juss. ex Murray (2008) K. Ohta, X. Liu, S. Muneto, T. Hosoki
Reslit 2779 - Germination response of grassland species to plant-derived smoke (2012) D. W. Schwilk, N. Zavala
Reslit 2780 - Host suitability of some vinca and salvia cultivars to two isolates of root-knot nematodes (2001) R. Mcsorley, J. J. Frederick
Reslit 2781 - The effect of daily light integral on bedding plant growth and flowering (2005) J. E. Faust, V. Holcombe, N. C. Rajapakse, D. R. L...
Reslit 2782 - In vitro culture of several ornamental and medicinal Salvia species (2006) C. Mascarello, E. Mantovani, B. Ruffoni
Reslit 2783 - Reclaimed water and Florida natives II (1992) L. M. Robinson, J. R. Parnell

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

Additional resources

USDA: Find Salvia coccinea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Salvia coccinea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Salvia coccinea


Record Modified: 2023-02-24
Research By: TWC Staff, LAL

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