Red Velvet Sage, Harvest Sage, Sabra Spike Sage
Salvia confertiflora Pohl is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Salvia. It was named and described by Johann Baptist Emanuel Pohl in Plantarum Brasiliae Icones et Descriptiones in 1833.
This species was discovered by Mr. Pohl in the Serra dos Órgãos, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1833.
I bought this Salvia confertiflora from an Ebay seller from Arkansas along with several other plants in the spring of 2012. I have bought many plants from him and they are always very good. He has a great selection of plants and has been selling on Ebay since 2000.
I planted the Scarlet Sage along the brick sidewalk in the middle part of the garden at the mansion. I had doubled the size of the garden for 2012 and it was an exciting summer for sure…
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11 (30 to 40° F)
Size: 4-6’ + tall and 4’ or so wide
Light: Sun to light shade
Soil: Average, well-drained soil
Water: Average water needs
The serrated leaves are a soft green with yellow undertones. They can grow around 7″ long x 3 1/2″ wide. Information says the stems, petioles, and new leaves have brown hairs but I didn’t notice that. However, I did notice the hairy inflorescences.
I am not sure where the common name “Red Velvet” comes from because the flowers are orange-red. The velvet part could come from the large, velvety leaves. The species name, confertiflora, means “crowded with flowers” or “crowded flowers”.
The backyard at the mansion was a combination of full sun to part shade. It gets pretty hot and humid in the summer so most plants appreciated a little shade in the afternoon. Even what wanted full sun was usually shaded by taller plants at some point during the day.
The Salvia coccinea is a multi-branched plant that can grow up to 6 feet or taller and at least 4′ wide. Their size has kept them from becoming a popular garden plant. I had to keep the plant staked to keep it from falling over.
The inflorescences on the Salvia confertiflora can grow to close to 24″ long. The stems are covered with tiny brown hairs as are the calyces on the flowers. The flowers themselves were bright orange-red and weird. Even when they were fully open, it looked like they weren’t. They were just like a little tube but the hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees loved them.
<<<<2013 IN MISSOURI>>>>
After I sold the mansion in January 2013, dad asked me to move back to the family farm in mid-Missouri. SO, in February, I gave up a couple hundred potted plants and moved back to my hometown. I made a new flower bed on the south side of their home and amended it with composted cow manure I call “The Good Stuff”. I bought several more plants from the same seller on Ebay, including another Salvia confertiflora.
The Salvia confertiflora wasted no time getting acclimated to its new home. I was trying to make adjustments myself. Going from the awesome backyard at the mansion to the farm was like a culture shock… It took four years to get the backyard at the mansion cleaned up and looking good, now I have to start over. It was much different than before…
Many plants that become large grow very fast. That was certainly the case with the Salvia confertiflora. Next time I have one I think I will measure it every couple of days.
The leaves have sort of a rough texture that is hard to explain.
The grasshoppers were pretty bad in 2013 and had to give every plant at least a few nibbles. They ate the leaves of this plant off and on, but they weren’t really fond of it. The Cannas were on the right side of the Salvia confertiflora and they really liked them.
It seemed like eventually, word got around and they more or less stopped feeding on it.
They even had to eat the flower buds.
Even though the grasshoppers ate most of the buds at first, they stopped that, too.
I seem to have more photos than words…
AWESOME! Even though they are fairly late bloomers, they still are a plant to be admired.
Sooner or later we have to face the cold weather and say goodbye to our plant companions until we meet again. I would like to have at least one of these every year but it would be even better if they would self-sow. It would be even better if I lived somewhere it didn’t get cold…
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.