Red velvet sage Salvia confertiflora

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
Sabra spike sage


Salvia confertiflora, commonly known as red velvet sage, is a showy perennial plant with a noteworthy appearance. It bears dense, velvety spikes that are often a rich rusty red or reddish-brown color, which gives it its common name. These eye-catching flower spikes are towering and packed closely with small tubular flowers. The texture of the spikes is felt-like, contributing to the velvet impression that makes the plant particularly tactile. The leaves of red velvet sage add to its stunning display. They are large and lush, with an ovate to heart-shaped form, and possess a wrinkled surface that can catch light and create a textured look. The color of the foliage generally ranges from deep green to a frosted appearance, depending on the light exposure and other environmental factors. Overall, red velvet sage has a bushy and upright form, with its stems and foliage creating a dense backdrop for the prominent flower spikes. When in bloom, red velvet sage adds a bold and dramatic touch to gardens and landscapes, often becoming a focal point for both human admirers and pollinators like bees and hummingbirds which are attracted to its rich nectar. Despite its exotic looks, it does not reach for the clouds with its stature, rather focusing on delivering a concentrated splash of color and texture.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Red Velvet Sage, Harvest Sage

    • Common names

      Salvia confertiflora.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Salvia confertiflora, commonly known as Red Velvet Sage, is not widely reported to be toxic to humans. Most members of the Salvia genus are considered non-toxic and are often used in culinary and medicinal applications. However, as with any plant, individual allergies and reactions can occur. If Red Velvet Sage is ingested in large amounts, it is possible that it could cause gastrointestinal discomfort, but there are no well-documented cases of poisoning from this plant affecting humans. Always exercise caution and consult with a medical professional if you suspect poisoning or an adverse reaction after ingesting any part of this plant.

    • To pets

      Red Velvet Sage (Salvia confertiflora) is also not specifically listed as toxic to pets. Members of the Salvia genus are generally considered safe for animals, but individual pets may have sensitivities or allergies. While it is unlikely that ingesting Red Velvet Sage would cause significant harm, it is always important to monitor pets and prevent them from consuming large quantities of any plant material. If your pet shows signs of distress after ingesting this plant, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or unusual behavior, contact your veterinarian promptly.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-4 feet [0.91-1.22 meters]

    • Spread

      2-3 feet [0.61-0.91 meters]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Salvia confertiflora, commonly known as Red Velvet Sage, adds vibrant color and texture to gardens with its striking red-orange flowers and velvety foliage.
    • Attracts Pollinators: The plant is known to attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, which are essential for pollination and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
    • Drought Tolerance: Red Velvet Sage is drought-tolerant once established, making it a wise choice for water-wise gardens and xeriscaping.
    • Low Maintenance: It requires minimal care beyond the establishment phase, reducing the need for frequent watering, fertilizing, or pruning.
    • Seasonal Interest: With a long blooming season that typically lasts from late summer to frost, Red Velvet Sage provides extended visual interest in the garden.
    • Culinary Use: Although not as common as other salvias, the leaves can sometimes be used in small quantities to add flavor to dishes.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antioxidant Activity: Salvia confertiflora may have compounds with antioxidant properties that can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
    • Anti-inflammatory Effects: Some studies suggest that Salvia confertiflora could have anti-inflammatory effects, which might be beneficial in reducing inflammation.
    • Antimicrobial Properties: Extracts from Salvia confertiflora have been shown to possess antimicrobial activity against certain bacteria and fungi.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Ornamental Gardening: Salvia confertiflora, commonly known as red velvet sage, is often used for ornamental purposes in gardens for its striking red inflorescences and attractive foliage.
    • Textile Dyeing: The vibrant red color of red velvet sage flowers has traditionally been used as a natural dye for textiles, imparting rich hues to fabrics.
    • Eco-Friendly Insect Repellant: Red velvet sage has a strong aroma that can naturally deter certain insects, making it a potential eco-friendly option for pest control in gardens.
    • Floral Arrangements: The inflorescences of red velvet sage can be used in cut flower arrangements, where they contribute striking color and texture.
    • Photography: The vibrant and unique appearance of red velvet sage makes it a popular subject for photographers, especially those specializing in plant and nature photography.
    • Companion Planting: Red velvet sage can be planted alongside vegetables and other herbs as a companion plant to help attract pollinators and beneficial insects.
    • Edible Landscaping: Although not commonly consumed, red velvet sage can be included in edible landscapes for its aesthetic value.
    • Permaculture Practices: Red velvet sage can be incorporated into permaculture designs due to its low maintenance requirements and its ability to adapt to various environmental conditions.
    • Mindfulness and Meditation Gardens: With its calming presence, red velvet sage is sometimes used in gardens designed for meditation and mindfulness practices.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Red velvet sage can provide nectar for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies, making it a valuable addition to wildlife gardens.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Salvia confertiflora, commonly known as Red velvet sage, is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Red velvet sage is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Healing – Salvia confertiflora, belonging to the sage family, has a strong association with healing due to the medicinal properties found in many sage species.
    • Wisdom – Historically, sage has been symbolic of wisdom and knowledge, often used to aid in meditation and concentration.
    • Longevity – The plant is often associated with long life and vitality, relating to the health benefits attributed to sage.
    • Protection – Sage, including Salvia confertiflora, is commonly thought to have protective qualities, often used in cleansing rituals to ward off negative energy.
    • Immortality – The enduring nature of sage plants and their persistent growth can symbolize immortality and the human desire for eternal life.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 1-2 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Red Velvet Sage (Salvia confertiflora) should be watered deeply but infrequently, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings to prevent over-saturation and root rot. In warmer climates or during hot seasons, this might translate to watering approximately once a week, delivering around 1 to 1.5 gallons per plant each time, depending on the size and age of the plant. During cooler seasons or in climates with regular rainfall, water less frequently, possibly every two weeks, with an equivalent amount of water. It’s important to ensure good drainage to prevent excess water from accumulating around the roots.

  • sunLight

    Red Velvet Sage thrives in full sun conditions, meaning it requires at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. The best spot for this plant would be in a garden area that is exposed to unfiltered sunlight for most of the day. It tolerates partial shade but flowering is often more prolific when the plant is placed in full sun. Avoid deeply shaded areas to maintain the health and vibrancy of the plant.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Red Velvet Sage prefers a warm climate and does well in a temperature range from 50°F to 85°F. It can survive minimum temperatures down to about 30°F, but frost can damage the plant, so it's vital to protect it during cold spells. The ideal growing conditions are within the warmer part of this range, with consistent temperatures fostering the best growth.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Red Velvet Sage to maintain shape, encourage bushier growth, and to remove spent flower spikes, which can promote additional blooming. Pruning can be done in late winter or early spring, before the onset of new growth. It's often advisable to cut back the plant by about one-third of its height to rejuvenate it and stimulate fresh, vibrant growth. Deadheading, or the removal of old flowers, should be done regularly throughout the blooming season.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Red velvet sage thrives in well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 8.0. For the best soil mix, blend equal parts of garden soil, perlite, and compost to ensure good aeration and nutrient content.

  • plantRepotting

    Red velvet sage should be repotted every 1 to 2 years or when it outgrows its container, to provide fresh soil and encourage healthy growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Red velvet sage prefers moderate to high humidity levels but is quite adaptable and can tolerate lower humidity environments as well.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place red velvet sage in bright, indirect light indoors.

    • Outdoor

      Plant red velvet sage in a sunny spot with well-draining soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Salvia confertiflora, commonly known as Red velvet sage, begins its life cycle as a seed, typically germinating in favorable growth conditions including warm temperatures and moist soil. After germination, the seedling emerges and begins vegetative growth, developing a root system and foliage through the process of photosynthesis. As it matures, Red velvet sage enters the vegetative stage, forming a robust stem and growth of characteristic textured leaves. It then progresses into the flowering stage, where the plant produces erect inflorescences with densely packed, tubular red flowers that attract pollinators. Following pollination, the plant moves into the fruiting stage, developing small nutlets which contain seeds for the next generation. Finally, in some climates, Red velvet sage may die back in winter and re-sprout from the base, exhibiting a perennial life cycle, whereas in other regions it may behave as an annual, completing its life cycle within a single season.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for Salvia confertiflora, commonly known as Red Velvet Sage, is by stem cuttings. The best time to take stem cuttings is in the late spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. A healthy, non-flowering stem about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) long is ideal. The cutting should include at least two sets of leaves. The bottom set of leaves is removed, and the cut end of the stem is dipped into rooting hormone before being planted in a moist, well-draining soil mix. The cutting should be kept in a warm, bright place, but out of direct sunlight to avoid wilting. With proper care, the cutting will develop roots within a few weeks.