There are many different types of salvia plants. One of the most popular and striking salvias is called the red salvia. This tall and spiky red-bloomed plant is easy to grow and rewards a gardener with long-lasting blooms that will put on a colourful show for most of the growing season.
Red salvia can be grown year-round in parts of the UK that have mild winters. In colder regions, salvia can survive in unheated greenhouses. Red salvia is sensitive to cold temperatures and will not withstand temperatures below 0 degrees C (32 degrees F).
Plant red salvia in planting areas that receive full sun each day. Improve the soil with compost so that the soil will retain moisture. The plants should be spaced between 20 and 25 cm (8 and 10 inches) apart when they are initially planted. As they grow larger, they will fill in the space and produce a solid line of red blooms. Keep in mind that the average height of red salvia plants is between 30 and 90 cm (1 and 3 feet) tall. Do not place the red salvia in front of other plant varieties that are shorter than the expected height of red salvia.
To help the soil retain moisture, mulch around the red salvia plants. Spread up to 7.5 cm (3 inches) of grass clippings, shredded leaves or wood chips around the plants and the mulch will prevent weeds, retain moisture, and will help to improve the soil as it decomposes.
Water and food
Red salvias prefer moist soil. If weather conditions are dry during the growing season, keep the soil moist with supplemental water. After planting red salvia in the spring, sprinkle approximately 1 tbsp of an all-purpose fertiliser onto the soil around the base of the plants. As it rains, the fertiliser will soak into the soil and will provide necessary nutrients for the entire growing season.
Clip faded blooms from the stems. If the faded blooms are consistently clipped off, it will encourage the red salvia plants to produce more flowers throughout the growing season. Trimming off the top 7.5 cm (3 inches) of the plants will also encourage the plants to grow out into a fuller, bushier shape instead of a tall, spiky shape.
If the red salvia plants are in an area that is subject to heavy rains or winds, the plants may need staking as they grow tall. Place a thin stake into the ground right next to the main plant stem and gently attach the red salvia to the stake with twine.