Salvia bright red (Salvia coccinea) for that it received its specific name, which has scarlet flowers. And her popular variety is romantically named Lady in Red.
Supposedly, it originally grew in Mexico, like many other types of salvia, but now it is distributed throughout South and Central America, the southern United States. It is the only perennial sage with red flowers on the American continent. The plant has naturalized in Australia and on several islands in the Pacific Ocean. Europe became acquainted with this plant more than 200 years ago, as evidenced by old British catalogs. But, as an ornamental plant, it never received wide distribution in the world due to competition with sparkling salvia.
The plant grows as a weed in light forests, among flat coastal vegetation, on disturbed soils, roadsides, in gardens, in fields among crops. It is a long-lived perennial in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions.
Salvia bright red is a plant in the Lamb family (Lamiaceae)which is easily grown from seed and is cultivated in temperate climates as an annual. Reaches a height of more than 1 m (up to 1.5 m), has pubescent stems, branched from the middle of its height. Leaves are opposite, about 6 cm long and 1-5 cm wide, with a cordate base, narrowed towards the apex, pointed or obtuse, crenate-serrate along the edge, dark green, with a grayish tint below due to pubescence. The flowers are red, form a terminal racemose inflorescence up to 30 cm high, with 3-10 branches. Flowers on short (up to 8 mm) pedicels, 2-3 cm long, double-lipped, the upper lip is obtuse, shorter than the bilobate lower lip. The flowers have small bracts, not exceeding 1 cm. Corolla petals are hairy, fused at the base into a tube, dark red, less often white, salmon, pink. The flower has 2 stamens and a pistil sticking out from under the upper lip. The calyx of a flower of five sepals, 7-10 mm long, is green or purple, due to which the plant looks colorful even in buds. When ripe, the fruits break into 4 narrow-ovoid smooth nuts about 3 mm long.
The plant blooms from July to autumn frosts. Not resistant to frost.
The bright red salvia varieties are few and far between, but most have won prestigious awards. Let's start with the most common variety:
- Lady in red - a variety bred in 1996. Compact, 30 cm tall, with dense inflorescences of bright red flowers with purple calyxes;
- Forest fire - with fiery red corollas and reddish-black calyxes;
- Cherry blossom - up to 40 cm tall, with pink flowers, early flowering;
- Pseudococcinea - subspecies (Salvia coccinea var. pseudococcinea), which is often referred to as a cultivar. Tall, powerful, up to 1.2 m, heavily pubescent, forms many scarlet flowers in each inflorescence. The cups are green. Rare in culture, grown in Great Britain.
- Snow nymph syn. Alba - variety up to 60 cm tall, with white flowers and green cups.
- Lactea - similar to the previous variety, also with white flowers;
- Jewel red - compact, 45-60 cm tall, and earlier (blooms just 2 months after sowing), with red flowers and purple cups
- Jewel lavender - characterized by the same qualities, has lavender flowers;
- Jewel pink - the tube of the flower is white on the outside, inside - pale salmon pink.
As a perennial, this plant survives only in areas with mild winters (temperatures not lower than -12 ° C). In temperate latitudes, the lack of heat is compensated for by a sunny location. In the south, a little shading is possible in the middle of the day.
The soil... For abundant flowering, the soil must be rich, in acidity - from slightly acidic to alkaline (pH 6.1-7.8). Sandy loam is ideal. The place must be drained in order to exclude damping out of the plant due to stagnant moisture.
Top dressing... Salvia bright red can grow on poor soils, but it differs in lush flowering only on rich, fertilized ones. During the season, it must be fed 2-3 times with a complex mineral fertilizer for flowering plants.
Watering... Despite the drought tolerance, abundant flowering can be achieved only with regular, but moderate watering. But excess moisture is detrimental to the plant.
Care... In addition to watering and fertilizing, care consists in weeding and pruning faded inflorescences, which stimulates further flowering.
Pests and diseases... Salvia bright red is prone to powdery mildew. Sometimes it suffers from slugs. It is practically not damaged by insects; aphids can rarely be observed.
Bright red salvia is grown through seedlings so that it has time to bloom in mid-summer. Sowing is done in early March. The seeds of the plant are small, they are sown on the surface of wet soil and pressed, almost without covering. The seeds sprout in the light, so they immediately organize the backlight. Germinate at a temperature of + 21 ... + 24 ° C. If all these conditions are met, seedlings appear in 5-12 days. With the appearance of the first true leaves, the temperature of the seedlings is reduced to + 18 ... + 20 ° C and watering is reduced. Shade from the direct sun. In the phase of 2-3 true leaves, they dive into pots.
To get compact, beautiful plants, grown seedlings are kept in cool conditions, at a temperature of +12 ... + 18 ° C, with additional lighting and feeding with a complex mineral fertilizer with a high nitrogen content. With the end of the frost, the plants are planted at a distance of 30-50 cm, depending on the height of the variety.
Compact varieties of bright red salvia are used in flower beds and beds, like the glittering salvia. They make ornamental parterres and borders bright.
The taller varieties are not as flashy, but they do well in mixed flower gardens in the middle, where they will be supported from lodging by other plants.
Low to medium sized varieties look great in summer patio and balcony containers.
Salvia bright red goes well with plants with bluish foliage - silver salvia, sea cineraria, perovskaya swan-leaved. A beautiful neighborhood is obtained with coleuses and cereals, in the latter case, the flower garden will resemble an American prairie garden. Lobularia sea (alissum) will add its aroma to salvia. Together they will attract dozens of butterflies and other beneficial insects to the garden.