Written by Don Richardson 

Tropical Sage/Red Salvia (Salvia Coccinea)
Plant Type
Perennial Herb
1-3’ tall, 2’ wide
Sun Exposure
Full sun - full shade
Soil Type
Mostly sand – clay loam
Soil pH
6.1-8.5 Acidic - Alkaline
Bloom Time
All year
Hardiness Zones
7b-11   Florida Native
Moist, well drained
30°F – Drought tolerant 
Self-pollinates, reseeds easy
Edible Plant
Medicinal Plant
Any reference to medicinal or culinary use of plants or plant parts should in no way be considered an endorsement by The Ocala Food Forest or its staff. Research is crucial in safe and proper consumption or experimentational use of any plant.

The Salvia Coccinea, or Tropical Sage plant, is a beautiful and eye-catching addition to any garden. It is a shrub-like perennial which has a wide variety of colors and blooms all year round in warmer climates. This tropical sage is perfect for gardeners who are looking to add an exotic touch to their outdoor spaces. Let’s explore why the Salvia Coccinea should be the next plant you add to your garden!
Appearance & Growth Habits 
Salvia coccinea is an upright shrub that can reach 4 feet tall when mature. It has lance-shaped leaves with pointed tips and smooth edges that are olive green in color on top and purple underneath. These leaves grow directly from the stem of the plant. The stems are woody and can be either single or multi-stemmed at the base of the plant. Typically, these plants bloom throughout summer until fall and produce dark red flower spikes that are approximately 2 inches long. The flowers have two lips with four lobes each and bright yellow stamens in the center of each bloom.
Growing Requirements & Tips 
Tropical sage can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11; however, it must be brought indoors during colder months of winter if you live outside these zones. When growing outdoors, it prefers full sun to partial shade with well-drained soil types such as loamy soils or sandy soils with a neutral pH balance (6-7). It does not tolerate wet or damp soil so make sure to water adequately but not too much as this may cause root rot. Fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer for best blooming results throughout the season. Deadheading spent flower spikes will promote more blooms over time. Pruning should be done after flowering has completed in order to shape and maintain size control of your plants if desired.  
The Salvia Coccinea is an easy plant to care for due to its low maintenance requirements. It requires regular watering during the summer months in order to keep the soil moist; however, during the winter months water needs to be reduced as this will help prevent root rot. Fertilizing every month during spring and summer with a balanced fertilizer will help promote healthy growth of this plant. Pruning can also help encourage more vigorous growth by removing dead or diseased branches as well as encouraging new flower production from dormant buds.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Attracting Wildlife 
The Salvia Coccinea not only looks great in gardens but it also attracts lots of wildlife due to its flowers which produce nectar that hummingbirds love! This tropical sage plant will also attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators which helps support local ecosystems while enhancing your garden's beauty at the same time.
 As you can see, adding a Salvia Coccinea plant into your garden is an excellent choice no matter what type of climate you live in! With its low maintenance requirements and ability to attract wildlife with its colorful flowers, this tropical sage makes for an attractive addition that will bring joy into your outdoor spaces all year round! So don't delay - go out there and get planting today!


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