Salvia coccinea is a bushy annual with dark green foliage and 4-inch, bright-red flower spikes. Its flower spikes remain in bloom from early summer until the first fall frost. The plant will grow in all areas of Texas, where the USDA hardiness zones range from 6 to 9. Salvia reseeds itself in hardiness zones 6 through 8 and will survive most winter conditions in southern Texas, where the USDA hardiness zone is a 9. Salvia grows best as a border plant in flower gardens, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies.
Select a planting location for the salvia plant with an acidic to neutral soil that is well draining. A sand or clay loam works well. The area should also receive full sunlight for optimum flower production.
Test the soil pH to verify it is 5.5 to 8.5. Work ground rock sulfur into the soil to lower the pH number and make it more acidic if necessary. Water the soil well and let it rest for two weeks prior to planting.
Work 2 to 3 inches of organic compost into the planting area to increase the nutrient value and moisture retention properties of the soil. Texas soils vary in composition from sandy to clay, and benefit from additional organic matter.
Dig a hole that is twice as wide and the same depth as the container the salvia plant came in. Remove the plant from the container and set it in the hole. Gently cover the root ball with soil and tamp to hold in place.
Fertilize the salvia plant with a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer for flowers every two weeks during the growing season. Start the fertilizer applications approximately two weeks after planting.
Water the salvia immediately after planting to stimulate root growth. Continue to water the plant to keep the soil evenly moist during the growing season when the weekly rainfall is less than 1 inch. Additional water may be required during periods of drought.