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June 26th, 2019

Tropical Sage is Perfect for an Island Butterfly Garden

by R.S. Walsh

Tropical Sage (Salvia coccinea) is a vibrant Florida native perfect for an island butterfly garden and an interesting addition to any native landscape in south Florida. Tropical Sage, also known as Blood Sage or Scarlet Sage is a red flowering sage species that thrives in full sun, well-drained soil, is drought tolerant and grows best in the hot and humid weather when other plants suffer. This native plant grows 3-4 feet tall spreading from 1-2 feet in width. The flowers of this species are a bright red color that grows on a long stem out of this herbaceous perennial. This species of saliva looks best when massed together as a tall groundcover. To maintain a neat looking landscape with this species, cut the plant back at the end of the year after it finishes flowering and foliage begins to die.

The Tropical Sage plant is a great wildlife attractor for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds as its trumpet-shaped flowers provide the best access to the nectar. This native beauty provides an abundant supply of nectar due to its blooming from spring to fall and is also a vigorous self-seeder creating dense thickets that provide protection for small birds and reptiles, so it also helps provide garden diversification.

This plant column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, a Sanibel garden center, located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Rd., Sanibel, Florida.

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