Hot Lips Salvia

This annual perennial that keeps flying off the tables at every nursery has something that others don’t.  What is the secret?  How has it bewitched so many level-headed gardeners?  They keep coming back year after year.  They say “I love this plant, hummingbirds love this plant, plants love this plant.  But it died.  It didn’t come back, It’s gone!”  It doesn’t matter, the people keep coming back for it again and again and again.  This plant named ‘hot lips’,  Salvia macrophylla.  Zones 8-10 (we used to hang with the eights, now they’re too hot and we’ve sunk to seven).  Growth is fast and will reach three feet tall and wide.  Deer resistant—hurray!  A well drained soil is preferred, wet will bring woe.  Someone told me they planted Hot Lips in half sand, half soil, the hole dug two to three times the normal depth and filled with the sand mixture.   And it made it through our wet winter!  Survival in the sand might be the key.  I’m planting it this year.  Really, who can resist?

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