hot lips

I’ve heard salvia connoisseurs talk down about this plant, Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips,’ mostly because it’s getting to be so commonly available in areas where it grows easily. But of all the sages in my garden this one has been the best performer.

Living in a sunny spot with dry-to-average garden water, the plants are covered with these flowers year-round, hitting a peak in the fall.


Common or not, the flowers make the plant really interesting. Most are two colors, a combination of scarlet and white, with no two flowers exactly alike. But often you’ll get flowers that are almost all white or all red. I’ve heard that cold weather seems to bring out the white, and that syncs up with what I’ve seen. But at the same time you’ll often still have multi-colored flowers–all on the same plant.

The growth habit is like a lot of sages, meaning the plant has the lines of a chocolate truffle left on a warm dashboard. For me, so far it grows about 30 inches tall by 60 wide. It’s supposedly hardy down around 20 degrees, but don’t expect many flowers when the frost starts up.

If you can grow it, this could be a good candidate for your list!

4 thoughts on “hot lips”

  1. I love it too, it is justly popular. This was one of the plants offered for sale at the Garden Walk our Master Gardener Association hosted last year, and this one sold out first. A nice complement to the more common purple colored salvia cultivars.

    FYI love the melted truffed description – I’m hijacking that phrase!

  2. Susan, I guess chocolate is never buried very deep in my thoughts! Feel free to recycle the phrase. I’ve been thinking about plant shapes in relation to food a lot lately. Tree-shopping presented me with lots of lollipops…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *