SALVIA microphylla ‘Hot Lips’
One of the hardiest salvias of all, this shrub to 1 m is covered in bicolor red and white flowers most of the year.
There are about 900 salvias distributed through most part of the world, making it the largest genus in the mint family. Hundreds of varieties are also now in cultivation as ornamental, culinary herbs, or as both (the name salvia derives from the Latin salve meaning to heal, as the aromatic leaves of many species have long been used for medicinal purposes). Salvia flowers are two-lipped and have among their representatives some of the best blues, purples and most intense reds to be found among garden plants. They are also generally hardy and free flowering, and attract either bees or birds to the garden. A truly versatile group. Most are best grown in a sunny position in free draining soil with moderate soil moisture. The shrubby species generally tolerate only light frosts while perennial species are often more frost hardy. Salvia 'Hot Lips' is a reliable and hardy shrub to 1 x 1 m. The lower lip of the flower is white with a prominent red lip, and flowers occur continuously through the warmer months (note, the first flowers in spring are often pure red}. Hot Lips can be cut back hard at virtually any time to encourage new growth and more flowers.