Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage, Hummingbird Sage, Etc., Etc…)

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) in the garden at the mansion on 10-11-12, #121-12.

Scarlet Sage, Hummingbird Sage, Blood Sage, Texas Sage, Tropical Sage, Red Sage, Indian Fire…

Salvia coccinea

SAL-vee-uhh kok-SIN-ee-uh

Synonyms of Salvia coccinea (14) (Updated on 1-2-23 from Plants of the World Online): Horminum coccineum (Buc’hoz ex Etl.) Moench, Salvia ciliata Benth., Salvia coccinea L.f., Salvia coccinea var. minima Fernald, Salvia coccinea f. pseudococcinea (Jacq.) Voss, Salvia coccinea var. pseudococcinea (Jacq.) A.Gray, Salvia coccinea pumila Barr & Sugden, Salvia filamentosa Tausch, Salvia galeottii M.Martens, Salvia glaucescens Pohl, Salvia mollissima M.Martens & Galeotti, Salvia pseudococcinea Jacq., Salvia rosea Vahl, Salvia superba Vilm.

Salvia coccinea Buc’hoz ex Etl. is the accepted scientific name for this species of Salvia. It was described as such by Andreas Ernst Etlinger in Commentatio Botanico-Medica de Salvia in 1777. Mr. Etlinger gives credit to Pierre Joseph Buc’hoz for first naming and describing the species in Histoire Universelle du Règne Végetal but I don’t know the date.

The genus, Salvia L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

As of 1-2-23 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 1,012 species in the Salvia genus. It is a member of the plant family Lamiaceae with 232 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

Salvia coccinea is native to several southern states in the US and parts of Mexico, Central America, and down into South America. It is the only Sage native to the U.S. with red flowers. The exact origin is unclear, but some information suggests possibly Mexico and or Brazil.


Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 7-12-15.

I bought my first Salvia coccinea from an Ebay seller in 2012 while living at the mansion in Mississippi. In 2014 I purchased three plants from Harrison’s Greenhouse labeled “Salvia Mixed” that turned out to be Salvia coccinea. I planted them in the beds on the north and south side of the house where they have continued to self-sow and come up ever since. They weren’t flowering when I bought them so I didn’t know one was going to be a pink bi-color.

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 10-3-15, #272-25.

The one I planted in the north bed is bright red. The North bed gets a little morning sun and then again in the late afternoon/early evening. I must say, these red flowers really brighten this area up. You can see them from across the yard.

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 8-7-16, #282-16.

I planted two of the plants from Harrison’s Greenhouse in the bed on the south side of the house in the west corner. One turned out to be red and the other a bi-color pink. I must admit, even though they are pink, they are pretty neat looking. Taking good close-up photos of these flowers is difficult. Most of them are too blurry so I have to take several to end up with a few good ones.

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 8-7-16, #282-18.

They are certainly not the earliest seeds to come up in the spring but eventually, they do emerge. Once they get started, they grow very fast. Next thing you know, they have branched out are loaded with flowers.

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 6-24-17, #349-69.

Family: Lamiaceae
Native: Parts of Southern U.S, Mexico, Central, and South America.
Zones: USDA Zones 7b-10b (5 to 35° F).
Size: 24-26” tall.
Light: Sun to part shade.
Soil: Average, well-drained soil.
Water: Average water needs once established.

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 7-9-17, #355-42.

Salvia coccinea is considered an herbaceous perennial in USDA zones 9 and 10, reseeds in 6 to 8, and grown as an annual in cooler zones.

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 7-11-17, #356-14.

The Scarlet Sage is a fast-growing, multi-branched plant that can grow 2 to 4 feet tall x 2 1/2 feet wide.

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 7-19-17, #357-67.

Although the best known common name is Scarlet Sage, red is not the only flower color. They also come in pink, salmon, orange, and bi-colors. Unfortunately, mine are only red and pink and white bicolor. Some websites say Salvia coccinea doesn’t produce white flowers, but there is a photo of white-flowered plants on Floridata (see link below).

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 8-7-17, #365-17.

The flowers attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. The Museum of Science and Industry in Florida named the Salvia coccinea as their number one nectar plant.

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 8-29-17, #369-72.

The Salvia coccinea is drought tolerant but appreciates a little extra water during the summer. They will grow in full sun to part shade where their bright flowers will light up the area.

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 9-2-17, #370-16.

Although they produce an abundance of flowers and seeds, they have not gotten out of hand. Personally, a few more coming up would allow me to move them to other parts of the yard.

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 10-15-17, #383-11.

Even when temps start getting cooler the Salvia coccinea continues to flower right up until a bad zap. The “F” word…

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 10-22-17, #385-13.


Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 10-22-17, #385-14.

Then I run out of words…

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) on 10-22-17, #385-15.

Even the buds are neat.

The Salvia coccinea came up from seed in 2018 and 2019 but not in 2020. Then, in 2021, a pink and white bicolor came up in the southeast corner bed…

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


Please leave a comment. I would like to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.