[Image: Lady in Red salvia]
Scarlet sage is scientifically known as Salvia coccinea. This is a species of salvia that looks like a perennial but is generally not cold-hardy in Louisiana. It is a re-seeding annual in the majority of the state but can be an “in-ground” perennial in warmer summer locations.
All salvias do best in full sun. They prefer well-drained soil and can be planted spring through mid- to late summer. Flowering is abundant during summer and fall, and the plants attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Pinch plants back occasionally to control height and encourage more blooms.
Varieties include the popular Lady in Red, Snow Nymph (white flowers) and Coral Nymph (coral, pink flowers). A new group is the Summer Jewel varieties, which include a pink and a red form. Summer Jewels grow to 18 inches compared to heights of 30 to 36 inches for the other varieties.
Scarlet sage plants are easy to grow from seed and many varieties are All-America Selection winners.