My wife and I are big fans of native saliva named red salvia or scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea). We like the fact that it is easy grow from seed, very attractive, and blooms for weeks on end.
In the past, we have planted patches of the plant in flower gardens containing a variety of flowers. It has performed extremely well when cultivated in this manner.
This year my wife decided to experiment planting red salvia in a large ornamental container standing along the rail of our deck. To say the least, this experiment proved to be a success.
The salvia has done well in the pot. In fact, it has grown a couple of feet tall. Some folks might consider this a bit “leggy” for their taste; however, its tall stature is all right with us. The scores of plants growing close to one another gives the salvia plants the appearance of being a small shrub.
One thing I have liked about the plants growing in this setting is we have found we pay closer attention to them than if they were growing in a garden. Since we walk by them several times a day, we have many opportunities enjoy their beauty and study their blooming habits.
We have also come to recognize that pollinators tend to visit the flowers more often earlier than later in the day. I am sure this is linked to nectar flow being greater in the morning.
The red salvia is in full bloom right now and providing us with some fantastic butterfly and hummingbird viewing opportunities. For example, with an influx of cloudless sulphurs, more often than not, the blossoms are hosting a few beautiful bright yellow butterflies.
Whereas throughout most of the summer, cloudless sulphurs seem elusive, those currently visiting our potted salvia are extremely tame. In fact, they often allow us to walk up with a yard or less of them without ever removing their long, thin proboscis from a salvia bloom.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are also regular visitors. One morning this week, my wife was standing within five feet of the salvia plants when two rubythroats flew up and fed with paying her any attention. That was truly an exciting experience.
If you have never considered planting red salvia in a container, you might want to consider trying it next year. If you do, I am sure you a pot of red salvia will provide you with hours of gardening and wildlife watching pleasure.