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Item # Packet size Nett Weight Number Seeds(approx) Price Qty
Small 0.35 g 100 seeds $2.00
Medium 0.70 g 200 seeds $3.50

Please note: all seeds are sold by weight and seed count is approximate.

To keep seed prices low much of our seed is semi cleaned. More Info

 

Beautiful spikes of bright red flowers that continue all summer long until frost kills them. Salvia bonfire is very showy and really brightens the garden. It also attracts humming birds who are one of the few critters that can reach the nectar in the tubular flowers. Mostly grown as an annual it can act like a perennial in warmer areas (zones 8+). Easy to grow from seed and flowers within 6-8 weeks from sowing. Needs full sun for best results and a well drained soil does not like it wet. Does well in pots and makes a great accent to patios and decks. Plant close to the house so you can enjoy watching the humming birds. You will be glad you did.

Description of Scarlet Sage 'Bonfire' (Salvia splendens).
Tall upright slightly bushy plant that is perennial in warmer zones (8+) but is usually grown as an annual in all other zones. Leaves will fall from the plant in winter in almost all zones. Leaves are mostly oval with a pointed end (known as obtuse) with strongly serrated edges and puckered between the veins. Leaves can be up to 3 inches (7.6 cm) long and mid to deep green and attached to the stem in opposite pairs by longish leaf stalks. Each stalk can be up to 16 inches (40.6 cm) long and may branch from the leaf nodes towards the top of the stem. Many stems can arise from the same plant, or it may have just one central stem with many branches. Each branch terminates in a flower spike. that can be up to 12 inches (30.4cm) long. Flowers are arranged in densely packed whorls on the spike. Each flower is tubular in form and up to 1 inch (2.54cm) long with a protruding upper section. Both petals and bracts are bright scarlet in color and each flower can last for a week or more. Flowers open from the base of the spike towards the top so each bloom can last many weeks. Eventually the flowers die and fall off leaving the bracts which changed color to mid brown and protect the seeds. From seed plants can begin flowering in as little as 8 weeks and will continue until the frost kills them.

Growing Scarlet Sage 'Bonfire' (Salvia splendens) from Seed.
Seeds need light to germinate so do not cover. For early displays sow seeds indoors in late winter in small individual pots or cell trays. Keep soil moist but not wet until the seeds germinate and grow. This is best done by spraying the water so the seeds do not accidently become mixed with the soil and loose light. Place in bright light, a south window or grow lights no more than 18 inches (45.72cm) from the seed tray and keep at 65-70 F (18.3-21 C) until they germinate. If in a open tray carefully remove the seedlings as they develop and pot into their own pots. Grow on until they reach at least 3 inches (7.62 cm) in height before hardening off and planting outside after all danger of frost has passed. For more details on starting seeds see our General Growing Instructions.

Location and Care of Scarlet Sage 'Bonfire' (Salvia splendens).
Needs full sun to perform at its best. In zones 7 and colder give it full sun. In zones 8 and warmer some shade is required as the hot sun may scorch the leaves. The plants will grow in semi shaded areas in zones 6-7 but they do not grow as tall or large.
They are not really fussy about soil type but it needs to be well drained. they cannot tolerate wet or waterlogged soils.
They do need water and are not drought tolerant. Place in areas where they get good rainfall or supplement with watering. A soaker hose around the base of the plants is an ideal way to distribute moisture easily.
Salvias make good potted plants and can be grown on decks, patios or as accents in the garden just ensure that the pots are regularly watered. The larger the pot the bigger your plant will become so choose carefully. This is an excellent way of getting the plants close to the house windows so you can enjoy the wildlife visiting the flowers.
Red salvias are fairly heavy feeders so offering them fertilizer during the year will make your plants bigger and stronger. Adding compost to the soil before they are planted is a good start, then a liquid fertilizer once a month or in strong growing locations twice a month is ideal. Plants can become large and bushy with such treatments. They will still grow well with just soil compost if you cont have time to feed them but they will not be as large.

For most of the country this plant is grown as an annual. It will be killed by winter frosts and decimated by cold winters. Remove dead plants either in the fall or early spring.
In warmer zones (8+) they act as perennials but may loose all their leaves in winter. Before pulling out check carefully to see if roots are still alive or you could remove plants that will give you flowers next year. Mulching around the flowers roots can help it to fend of any cold (not serious cold) and help it through the winter.
In most cases new stems arise in spring but sometimes the stems will regrow leaves. However removing some stems over time can stop the plants from becoming leggy and less attractive.

Some sources suggest deadheading the plants as flowers die to help promote more flowers and keep the plants tidy. While this can be done it is not necessary plants will form many blooms over the season. if you have time to clean up your plants that's a bonus.

Pollinator and Wildlife with Scarlet Sage 'Bonfire' (Salvia splendens).
One of the main reasons many people grow this plant is because its a magnate for humming birds. Having them close to your windows ensures great viewing of these delightful birds. Large pots on the patio or deck can offer beautiful color and visits from these fast moving birds. Other pollinators do visit the flowers one being humming bird moths which are day flyers and often confused for humming birds. Due to the tubular nature of the plants it takes specialist feeders to reach the nectar which is why the humming birds love the flowers so much, not that many insects can reach them.

Pests
Watch out for slugs and snails especially in areas where the plants have some shade. These critters will eat the whole plant if given the opportunity. This is not such a problem in full sun plants unless the plants are watered in the evening and there is a lot of moisture then they may attack at night. To prevent this water plants during the morning hours. Soaker hoses also help prevent this from happening but again watering in the morning provides less opportunity for slug attacks.
Ants can also be a problem as they will bite the back of the flower from outside and rob it of the nectar.

There are also reports of whitefly on red salvia but for the most part if the plants are kept health and strong this is not usually a problem. However ensure that any plants you buy, not matter what are inspected before purchase and rejected if there are any pests on them. Don't bring the problem home with you.