|A tattered gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) |
feeding on a tropical sage.
Tropical sage (Salvia coccinea) is a beautiful, easy-to-grow Florida native wildflower in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It has a long blooming cycle and its flowers are usually scarlet red, but sometimes are pink, even in natural areas. In addition to attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and native bees, tropical sage is the larval host for several sphynx moths.
It's considered to be an annual, but I've had many that have lasted for two seasons and it's a prolific reseeder. So this plant is a wonderful addition to your pollinator gardens and wildflower meadows.
Managing tropical sage
Since this wildflower self-seeds, many times it plants itself in inconvenient places. For me, that often means in my vegetable gardens where the soil is well prepared and receptive to seed gemination. I know what the seedlings look like, so when they are in rows where I've planted crops, I'll transplant them into wildflower areas. It's best to do this when they are small, so they only need to be irrigated a couple of times before they adjust to their new spaces.
|Tropical sage as a container plant. |
|Eastern black swallowtail
(Papilio polyxenes) feeding on a
tropical sage. Our freedom lawn
is in the background.
|Native bees are frequent visitors.|
Tropical sage in bloom for the holidays!
|The bright red flowers of the tropical sage can
be used as festive bouquets for the holidays.
|A tropical sage volunteered in with my
poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima).
|A giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes),|
Florida's largest butterfly nectaring
on a tropical sage.
Listen to your landscape!
Green Gardening Matters,
Here's its plant profile on the FNPS website which includes a link to native nurseries that have it in stock. https://www.fnps.org/plant/salvia-coccinea