Scientific: Salvia coccinea
Common: tropical sage
Family: Lamiaceae, the mint family
Origin: Southern Mexico, naturalized in Hawaii

Pronounciation: SAL-vi-a coc-CIN-e-a

Hardiness zones
All zones depending on use
USDA All zones depending on use

Landscape Use: For mixed flower borders and gardens, accent, mass color, border background, and container plant.

Form & Character: Delicate to sprawling and rangy, not restrained, tropical to subtropical.

Growth Habit: Tropical sage is a short-lived herbaceous perennial often treated as a spring and fall warm season bedding plant in Phoenix. It has a moderate growth rate and can sprawl to 3 feet in height with near equal spread once mature.

Foliage/Texture: Leaves opposite, dark green, pubescent, oval to cordate to 2.5 inches long on slender stems, occasionally pubescent; medium fine texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Flowers are situated on terminal spikes to as much as 12 inches in length, many colors ranging from white to scarlet red including some that are bicolored, to 1 inch in diameter; fruit are an inconspicuous paper capsule that are capable of reseeding in moist urban garden settings.

Seasonal Color: Tropical sage is a free-flowering accent bedding plant throughout the growing season. Most productive during the spring and fall in Phoenix.

Temperature: Freeze intolerant, tropical sage also struggles in the desert heat. It's imperative that it is not placed in western exposure locations in Phoenix.

Light: Full sun to partial shade, shade from western summer sun is mandatory in Phoenix.

Soil: As with many other salvias, tropical sage needs a fertile, well-drained soil amended with organic matter for best performance.

Watering: Regular water is needed to maintain luster and a dense canopy. Drought results in a lose of foliage making the plant look sparse.

Pruning: Head back severely in late winter if you intend to grown tropical sage as a border perennial.

Propagation: Seed

Disease and pests: Nematodes

Additional comments: This salvia gives a nice tropical to subtropical effect. There are many varieties with different flower colors.