Salvia coccinea

Salvia  coccinea

Salvia  coccinea: An upright open shrub 60-80cm H,  with bright red vermillion flowers for most of the year for a sunny position.
Salvia coccinea
Salvia coccinea

Salvia coccinea is often grown as an annual or perennial, enjoying a sunny / semi shaded position. Also a taller variety to 1-1.2m H is available- same flowers and growing conditions.

Flowers: are a vermilion/ red colour, semi tubular with a small broad hood, extended stigma and stamens and a large broad middle lobe. The whole flower is the same colour except a more concentrated colouring around the throat area, this acts as a beeline into the flower.

Flowers appear in pairs closely situated on long green stems above the foliage, to attract passing insects. Flowering occurs for a long time from spring through summer and  autumn and into winter in mild districts. These attract both small birds ,bees and other insects.

Calyces: are all green, slightly hairy, sparsely ribbed with small pointed lobes.

Leaves: are a mid green, broad cordate ( heart shaped), slightly hairy on both sides of the leaf. Veins nicely indented and small rounded crenations around the margins. All stems are green, hairy, square and thin.

Salvia  coccinea is a very useful plant for a semi shaded dryish position under trees and shrubs, lighting  up an area with their bright vermillion red flowers.
As the plant is upright, open and thin, they can be very useful behind small hedges or those narrow beds along the side of the house. Their narrow structure makes them very useful  as a filler plant, popping them in where there is a vacant space.
All forms of S. coccinea are frost tender, so either a protected sunny position or dappled shaded area would be ideal.
There is a taller form growing to 1.2mH, but not often found.

Pruning: If the plants are looking a bit tatty at the end of autumn, then either treat like an annual and remove, but if you would like to grow the plants on, then trim off all flower heads and cut back to a new shoot. When that has grown sufficiently, then they can be reduced again to a stronger new shoot. Cut out any dead or weak stems and clean up around the base.
Feed and mulch to keep the root area warm during the winter months, then top up the feed and mulch in spring to keep the plants cool during summer.

Propagation: is easily done from tip cuttings taken from new young growth.
Seed.These plants do produce copious amounts of seed heads. Sow seed in warmer months. Seedlings may appear which can be potted up. If growing more than one variety of S. coccinea in fairly close proximity, then it’s best to wait until they flower before planting out to make sure of the variety. They are very promiscuous so they can produce a mixed bunch of colours.


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