Scarlet Sage Salvia splendens 'Vanguard'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
scarlet-flowered sage 'Vanguard'


The Scarlet Sage 'Vanguard' is a radiant and showy plant, particularly known for its vividly colored flowers which are often a striking shade of scarlet red. The flowers present themselves in dense, elongated clusters that rise prominently above the foliage. The blossoms are tubular, providing an eye-catching contrast against the green backdrop of leaves. The foliage consists of pointed, oval-shaped leaves that maintain a bright green hue, adding to the lush and vibrant appearance of the plant. The leaves are slightly serrated on the edges and have a somewhat velvety texture. This particular variety blooms prolifically and is commonly used in garden beds, borders, and containers where its colorful presence garners a lot of attention. The combination of its brilliant flowers and green foliage creates a bold statement in any garden setting. The Scarlet Sage 'Vanguard' is also favored for its attractiveness to hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators, as its nectar-rich flowers are a valuable food source for these creatures.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Scarlet Sage, Tropical Sage, Red Sage, Red Salvia

    • Common names

      Salvia splendens 'Vanguard'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Scarlet sage is generally considered non-toxic to humans. There are no significant symptoms of poisoning associated with ingestion of this plant because it is not known to be poisonous. However, consuming any plant material may cause mild stomach upset due to individual sensitivities.

    • To pets

      Scarlet sage is also generally considered non-toxic to pets such as dogs and cats. If ingested, the plant is not likely to cause poisoning, but as with humans, ingestion of plant material can sometimes result in mild gastrointestinal upset in some pets.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-3 feet [30-90 cm]

    • Spread

      1-2 feet [30-60 cm]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Visual Appeal: The plant features vibrant red flowers that enhance the aesthetic of gardens and landscapes.
    • Attracts Pollinators: It is known for attracting bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, which are beneficial for pollination.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, it requires minimal care, making it an ideal choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.
    • Drought Resistance: Salvia splendens 'Vanguard' can tolerate dry conditions, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Heat Tolerance: It performs well in hot climates, maintaining its beauty even in high temperatures.
    • Continuous Blooming: The plant has a long flowering season, providing color from spring to frost in some regions.
    • Versatility: It can be used in various garden designs, including borders, containers, and as bedding plants.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Salvia splendens, commonly known as scarlet sage, can be used as a natural dye, providing a range of colors from greens to browns depending on the mordant used.
    • In art, the vibrant flowers of scarlet sage can be pressed and included in floral compositions or herbarium collections for their aesthetic appeal.
    • The plant is sometimes used in educational settings, such as schools or botanical workshops, to teach students about pollination and plant growth processes.
    • Scarlet sage can be employed in companion planting to attract pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds, which may benefit the surrounding plants in a garden.
    • The plant's striking red flowers can serve as a natural indicator of pH changes in soil when used in bioassays for soil testing purposes.
    • In culinary presentations, the bright blossoms can be used as an edible garnish to add color and a touch of elegance to dishes, although they are not widely recognized for their taste.
    • Scarlet sage can play a role in mindfulness and relaxation spaces, as their vivid color and presence can contribute to a calming and aesthetically pleasing environment.
    • As a photography subject, the vibrant hue and structured form of scarlet sage make it a popular choice for botanical photographers and hobbyists.
    • In fine crafts, dried scarlet sage flowers can be incorporated into potpourris, offering visual variety and texture.
    • During festive seasons, particularly in the winter holidays, scarlet sage can be used as part of decorative arrangements due to its bright and cheerful red flowers.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Scarlet sage enhances the fire element due to its vivid red color, which can be used to boost energy and passion in the south area of a space or garden to attract fame and recognition.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Scarlet sage is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Wisdom: The genus name Salvia comes from the Latin word salvere, meaning "to save" or "to heal," often associated with wisdom and knowledge.
    • Longevity: Many species of Salvia are known for their long-lasting blooms, symbolizing endurance and long life.
    • Immortality: Scarletsage's vibrant colors that resist fading can symbolize an everlasting life or spirit.
    • Healing: Historically, Salvias have been used for medicinal purposes, making them emblematic of healing and physical well-being.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    To properly water Scarlet Sage, it's important to keep the soil consistently moist, especially during hot, dry periods. Water them thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, usually once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions. Provide about 1 gallon of water per plant each time you water, ensuring the water penetrates deeply into the soil to encourage strong root growth. During the winter months, reduce watering since the plant's growth slows down and it requires less moisture.

  • sunLight

    Scarlet Sage thrives best in full sun to partial shade. The ideal location is one where the plant receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. However, in very hot climates, some afternoon shade is beneficial to prevent scorching. Ensure your Scarlet Sage is placed in a spot where it will get ample morning light, which is less intense but sufficient for growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Scarlet Sage prefers warm temperatures and does not tolerate frost well. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 70°F and 85°F. It can survive minimum temperatures of no less than 50°F; however, it will not thrive if exposed to prolonged periods of cold. Protect these plants from freezing temperatures by bringing them indoors or providing cover outdoors if an unexpected frost is forecasted.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Scarlet Sage promotes bushier growth and more abundant flowering. Prune or pinch back the tips of the stems in late spring to encourage branching. Throughout the blooming season, regularly deadhead spent flowers to encourage new blooms. The best time for extensive pruning is in early spring before new growth begins, but light pruning and shaping can be done throughout the growing season.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Scarlet sage thrives in a well-draining soil mix with rich organic matter; incorporate compost or peat moss into a potting mix for nutrition. The soil pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, ideally between 6.0 and 7.0 for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Scarlet sage should be repotted every 1-2 years or when it outgrows its current pot to encourage healthy growth and prevent root crowding.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Scarlet sage prefers moderate to high humidity levels, but it is adaptable and can tolerate lower humidity environments commonly found in homes.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Use bright indirect light, well-draining soil, and maintain consistent moisture.

    • Outdoor

      Place in sun to part shade, ensure good soil drainage and space plants for air flow.

    • Hardiness zone

      10-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life of Salvia splendens 'Vanguard', commonly known as scarlet sage, begins with seed germination, typically in warm temperatures after the danger of frost has passed. Once germinated, the seedlings develop into young plants with characteristic green foliage. As they mature, the plants undergo vegetative growth, producing sturdy stems and leaves, followed by the development of vibrant red flower spikes which are the hallmark of the plant. After pollination, typically by hummingbirds, bees, or butterflies attracted to its bright blooms, the flowers produce small seeds. The plant then enters a period of senescence, where it starts to decline, completing its annual lifecycle. In frost-free regions or with protection, scarlet sage can behave as a short-lived perennial, potentially regrowing from the base the following season.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for Scarlet Sage, which is the common name for Salvia splendens 'Vanguard', is by seed. Typically, propagation takes place in late winter or early spring, ahead of the growing season. To propagate, one should start by filling a seed tray or small pots with a well-draining seed starting mix. The tiny seeds are then sprinkled onto the surface of the moistened soil and lightly pressed in, but not covered, as they need light to germinate. The tray should be placed in a warm, bright spot, but out of direct sunlight, maintaining a temperature of around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius). Seeds usually germinate within two to three weeks. Once seedlings are sturdy enough, they can be transplanted to their final growing location after the danger of frost has passed, spacing them about 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 centimeters) apart to accommodate their growth.