Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pucker Up!

I think the biggest hummingbird magnet in my garden is 'Hot Lips' sage.

'Hot Lips' in front of 'Knockout' roses

'Hot Lips' is supposed to be white with red on the bottom "lips" of the bloom.  Most of the time, there is a mixture of all red, all white, and some with the intended "lip" coloring.  No matter what color the individual bloom, the entire plant is an eye-catching addition, and attracts hummingbirds with an amazing appeal.

Salvia macrophylla 'Hot Lips'

This cheerful plant is a beautiful and striking addition to any garden.  'Hot Lips' likes to stay hot, and is only hardy in zones 8 - 10 (worth trying in 7 - 11).  But whether you can plant it in the ground or need to use it as an annual,  I highly recommend putting this unusual salvia in your garden.

'Hot Lips' with 'Homerun' rose in front

Grows in full sun, can take part shade, drought tolerant, and deer resistant.  Really, what more could you ask for?  Supposedly an evergreen, but I would consider mine deciduous.  Use it as a companion planting under climbing roses, as a filler plant for a large bed, in a large drift in your perennial garden, or as a container planting.

'Hot Lips' under the climbing rose 'America'

Just remember - wherever you put it, the hummingbirds will be puckering up!


  1. Oh, I love it, Holleygarden! I've never heard of this salvia. I hope it'll like the Florida deluges and humidity! I especially like your use of it at the feet of climbers. Just beautiful everywhere!

  2. It's definitely a hummingbird magnet in my garden and is probably my most carefree plant.

  3. Hmmm, good suggestion. I lost some blue saliva this winter (we had a colder than normal winter) and would love to replace it with something red! Drought tolerant would be a huge plus as I can sometimes be a neglectful water-bearing gardener in the summer when life gets busy! :)

  4. I don't have hotlips though it does look very pretty, but I do find that the sages draw the most wildlife for the buck, thats for sure!

  5. I think...maybe...if I'm correct...I might...just maybe...have a 'Hot Lips' that wintered over for me. As soon as it blooms I'll know. I love how you've partnered your plants. Great photos!

  6. Sherry - I would think it would love Florida's heat! It's a good one to try!

    Ginny - Carefree is definitely right. I've lost one to a late freeze, I think. But the others are about to take over! Next year I'll have to thin out and trim way down!

    Jenni - I'm a stingy waterer, so my plants either learn or suffer. This one doesn't skip a beat.

    Jess - This one is definitely always extending dinner to a bee, butterfly, hummer, or some other bug!

    Grace - I hope yours did. I've noticed the 'lips' come and go - I think with the change in temperature. Just makes it all the more interesting, I think.

  7. I always have my eye out for easy to care for perennials. The bloom is very similar to a bleeding heart I have. I really like the red and white contrast.

  8. I've seen some hot lips here [zone 7] and they did survive the winter. The bees and hummingbirds do indeed love this plant. Holleygarden, I really like how you paired them with roses.

  9. Star of the show in my garden Holley too. Rave about the colour changes but could you send a few hummingbirds my way to complete the picture.

  10. The 'hot lips' plant is very nice & looks great in your flower bed. I'm always looking for easy to care for plants. Kelli

  11. It looks wonderful with your Roses. Very pretty together.
    Goldenray Yorkies

  12. A Salvia that really does go well with your Roses Holley. I have seen this beauty in the garden centres here, only used as an annual in Scotland of course.

  13. Great pairing with the pink roses and the partly pink salvia (I've only seen blue or red salvia before). And what a great image to think of the hummingbird kissing each "hot lips" flower!

  14. StoBlogger - I love the white and red bleeding heart, too. And I love looking for the 'lips' in the coloring of this plant.

    Lynn - I heard contrasting information, so I'm glad to know it has survived in a zone 7 garden. The fact that the hummingbirds love it so much is an added bonus.

    Laura - No hummingbirds to spare! :) I really have tried to increase the number of hummingbirds, and my efforts are just starting to pay off!

    Kelli - I hope you can find it there, and that it is hardy for you. Do try it - it's a fun plant to have.

    Cher - I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't clash with America. In fact, that has become one of my favorite combinations.

    Alistair - It's a great annual. I've heard of people overwintering it in their basement or garage!

    Kate - You hit it - the red and white combine to give a pink tint. I think that's why it goes so well with pink roses.

  15. I love this plant. In fact I like "hot lips" over the more common red salvia greggai. It is perfect the only thing is that it is brittle so a wondering basketball does do some damage. Thanks for the post!

  16. Kelsey - It does have a very interesting pattern! Sorry to hear that it won't stand up to a basketball!


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