There are literally hundreds of varieties of salvias. With so many available, it is difficult to choose which one you need to plant in your yard. If you want salvia that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies such as the cloudless sulphur, I have just the one for you.
In spite of the fact that the vast majority of the salvias are native to Mexico, Africa, South America, Eurasia, and elsewhere, the one I am recommending is native to parts of the Southeast, including Georgia. Like so many of the salvias, it is called red salvia or scarlet sage. However, the one I am referring to bears the scientific name Salvia coccinea.
This plant grows one to two feet tall and blooms from late spring into the fall. Bright red blossoms are borne on tall slender stalks. If you take a close look at a flower, you will find it is tubular in shape.
It grows in a wide range of soils ranging from sandy to clay-laden. It will grow in gardens situated in full sun as well the shade.
Scarlet sage plants can be established from both seed and seedlings. Seedlings are readily available at many nurseries. It can also be easily grown from seed. In fact, once it becomes established it usually reseeds itself year after year.
My wife and I have grown it in large pots, patches and mixed in with other butterfly and hummingbird nectar plants. The versatile plant has done well in all situations.
Since the numbers of hummingbirds has increased dramatically during the past week or so, we have been enjoying watching hummingbirds visiting the bright red blossoms of red salvia and the other hummingbird nectar plants that are currently blooming in profusion in our yard.
Although have been seeing more butterflies in our backyard lately, cloudless sulphurs remain scarce. As such, cloudless sulphurs have yet to be seen at our scarlet sage blooms. However, I know that, as we move toward autumn, the cloudless sulphur population will explode and ruby-throated hummingbirds will then be vying with cloudless sulphurs for the opportunity to nectar at our red salvia.
I have purchased plants purported to be red salvia that were far from hummingbird and butterfly magnets. Perhaps they were cultivars of Salvia coccinea that simply don’t produce as much nectar as the true native red salvia.
If you find and plant the right one, I don’t think you will be disappointed.