Scientific: Salvia splendens
Common: garden sage, scarlet sage
Family: Lamiaceae, the mint family
Origin: South Brazil rain forests

Pronounciation: SAL-vi-a SPLEN-dens

Hardiness zones
All zones
USDA All zones

Landscape Use: Herbaceous border bedding plant, garden color, accent, mass color, and container plant.

Form & Character: Herbaceous perennial grown as an annual in the Phoenix area, small but upright and stiff. colorful bright and cheery.

Growth Habit: The cultivated form of garden sage is seldom branched producing a terminal floral spike the height of which varies by cultivar from 8 to 30 inches tall. Note however, that in its native south American habitat it might attain an amazing height of 8 feet.

Foliage/Texture: Leaves are opposite, ovate, glabrous with crenate margins and prominent veins, medium green to 3 inches long on green stems sometimes angular; medium texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Multiple flower bract colors ranging from white, pink, salmon, red, to deep purple born on a terminal racemose spike. Fruit a paper capsule and can reseed in moist urban gardens.

Seasonal Color: Free flowering and can be grown in Phoenix most anytime of year with appropriate protection.

Temperature: Tolerant of all but high heat during monsoon. Productive in Phoenix when temperatures are between 40o and 105oF.

Light: Full sun to partial shade from western sun.

Soil: Well-drained soil with a high organic matter content is needed. Applications of a complete fertilizer with enhanced phosphorus will enhance bloom, especially in the Phoenix area.

Watering: Provide regular water to maintain luster.

Pruning: Deadhead spent flower spikes to prolong bloom period and promote new flower spikes, otherwise leave alone.

Propagation: Seed

Disease and pests: Nematodes, tobacco mosaic virus, curly top leaf virus.

Additional comments: Salvia is a rich and diverse genus with over 900 known species worldwide, great landscape potential. S. splendens is one of the most commonly grown ornamental Salvia species. It is cultivated as a bedding plant in many countries. It is grown everywhere in the United States as a bedding plant and there are now cultivars with various flower bract colors. Check out this purple one! In Phoenix, it is a tender annual used primarily as spring and early summer bedding plant.