How to Grow Scarlet Sage Flowers (Salvia splendens)

growing salvia splenden

by Jennifer Poindexter

Are you in the market for a colorful, low-maintenance flower to brighten up your home? Don’t overlook scarlet sage, which is also commonly known as salvia splenden.

This flower looks like most other salvia which grows tall and proud. From this mounding plant with long stems, comes beautiful tube-shaped blooms.

These flowers produce blooms in colors ranging from white, pink, lavender, red, orange, and more! If you’d like to grow this colorful flower around your home, be sure you know what it needs before you get started.

I’ll share information ranging from growing conditions, to caring for scarlet sage, and even how you can protect this plant in its growing location. 

Here’s what you should know to grow scarlet sage around your home or garden:

Growing Conditions for Scarlet Sage

Scarlet sage has a few specific growing conditions which must be met. However, these flowers can be grown in the ground or in a planter.

The main thing is that they’re provided with well-draining soil. It doesn’t matter if you plant these flowers in nutrient-dense dirt or in areas with loamy or even rocky soil.

It just matters that water can reach the roots of the plant and drain away quickly. If the roots become too saturated, it can lead to root rot.

You must also grow these flowers in full to partial sunlight. This equates to the flowers receiving around six hours of direct sunlight wherever they grow.

Ensure the area has enough space for the flowers as well. As previously mentioned, this is a mounding plant.

They’ll grow to be around two to four feet tall and one to two feet wide. Keep in mind, this plant is only hardy in planting zones ten and eleven.

Therefore, it’s grown as an annual in most locations. You may plant these flowers in spring once the temperatures reach 70-degrees Fahrenheit.

Scarlet sage will bloom and put on a display of color from summer through early fall. By providing these flowers with the right growing conditions, they should add natural charm to your growing space.

How to Plant Scarlet Sage

The most common methods to growing scarlet sage is to purchase seedlings or start the flowers from seed yourself.

Should you choose to purchase seedlings, begin by picking a growing location with all the necessary growing conditions.

Prepare the soil for planting, dig a hole to the same depth as the container the seedlings are currently growing in, place the plants in the hole, and backfill with dirt.

Press firmly around the base of the flowers to ensure no air can reach the roots of the plants. If planting multiple scarlet sage seedlings, be sure you leave a foot of space around each plant in all directions.

The other method to growing scarlet sage is from seed. You should start your seeds six to eight weeks prior to the final frost date.

Remember, scarlet sage doesn’t handle frost at all. Therefore, if the temperatures drop below 32-degrees Fahrenheit, your plants could be in trouble.

It’s best to wait until the temperatures are steadily at or above 70-degrees Fahrenheit to move seedlings outdoors. When you’ve researched your final frost date and know the timing for starting seeds is correct, fill a growing tray with well-draining soil.

Place two seeds per cell in the growing tray to ensure you have a back-up in case one seed fails to germinate.

Lightly cover the seeds with soil. They shouldn’t be fully covered as they require light to germinate. Mist the soil with a spray bottle of water.

The dirt should remain consistently damp but never soggy. By misting it with a spray bottle of water on a regular basis, this should be easy to maintain.

Place the seeds in an area where they’ll receive plenty of light and are kept at temperatures around 70-degrees Fahrenheit.

It should take around two to three weeks for the seeds to sprout. Once sprouted, continue to care for them by providing light, warmth, and consistent moisture.

After the plants have formed true leaves, they should be ready to harden off and move outdoors. Plant them using the instructions stated above.

Remember, these flowers need space. Ensure there’s one foot of space between each plant and a foot of space between each row of flowers.

If you’re interested in growing scarlet sage around your home, use the instructions for the method you’d like to use, and start growing these flowers as soon as the temperatures are correct in your planting zone.

Caring for Scarlet Sage

When I tell you that scarlet sage is a low-maintenance flower, I’m talking seriously low-maintenance. If you can handle deadheading the blooms when necessary, watering the plants on occasion, and fertilizing one time per year, you should have no problem caring for scarlet sage.

Let’s start with how to water this plant. I recommend watering your scarlet sage flowers deeply. Not only does this ensure they receive enough water and encourage healthier plants, but it’s also less work on your part as the gardener.

Practice deep watering by applying water to the plants for a longer period of time, fewer days of the week.

If you’re growing flowers in a container, the water should drain from the bottom. If you’re growing scarlet sage in the ground, ensure you’ve applied enough water that the roots are thoroughly saturated and the ground surrounding the flowers is damp as well.

As the days pass, the plants will begin to seek out water. If they’re in the ground, they’ll dig deeper which creates a deeper root system. This typically equates to a healthier plant.

You shouldn’t water the plants again without testing the soil. Insert your finger into the dirt. When it’s dry to your first knuckle, it’s time to water the flowers. If not, hold off on applying water for a day or two until you test the soil again.

Keep in mind, container grown scarlet sage should require water more frequently as they have less soil to pull moisture from.

The next thing you must do to care for scarlet sage is fertilize your flowers in the spring. It’s best to use a slow-release fertilizer that will consistently feed the plants throughout the growing season.

Finally, you should deadhead your scarlet sage flowers. As blooms begin to die, remove them. Not only does this keep your plant looking better, but it also encourages more blooming.

By ensuring you practice these three items of care for your scarlet sage flowers, they should remain healthy and vibrant around your home during their blooming cycle.

Garden Pests and Diseases Which Can Impact Scarlet Sage

Are you ready for scarlet sage to become even easier to grow? This plant isn’t typically impacted by any type of disease.

Ensure the plants are spaced adequately to provide proper airflow. This should keep the foliage dry and fungal issues at bay.

Also, be sure you plant in well-draining soil and containers to avoid the roots from rotting due to oversaturation.

Another fun fact about scarlet sage is it only has a few pests you must concern yourself with because of its heart-shaped foliage.

The leaves of the plant produce a fragrance that most pests tend to dislike. Therefore, even deer and rabbits leave this flower alone.

Whiteflies, slugs, and snails do still find their way to this plant from time to time. You may treat them using an insecticide.

Slugs and snails may also be handpicked, or you can apply coffee or diatomaceous earth to the base of the flowers.

The caffeine in the coffee is a deterrent for slugs and snails. Diatomaceous earth creates a dangerous terrain for the pests to crawl over to access your plant.

Keep these pointers in mind should your flowers develop a pest problem. However, in many cases, scarlet sage will go unharmed because it attracts so few pests or diseases.

You now know what you must to successfully grow scarlet sage around your home or garden plot. These flowers are stunning and an excellent way to draw pollinators to your home.

If you need a low-maintenance flower to add charm to your landscape, scarlet sage could be the right choice for you.

More About Scarlet Sage

blooming scarlet sage with text overlay flower gardening how to grow scarlet sage flowers

The post How to Grow Scarlet Sage Flowers (Salvia splendens) appeared first on Gardening Channel.



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