Salvia microphyla ‘Hotlips’

5 Jun

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I e grown ones similar to this in the past, but I love this particular cultivar for the variable flowers. In cooler weather, they open solid scarlet red. With more heat they get red lips but varying amounts of white in the center, till when it is really hot they are all white. I don’t expect here in the PNW to see all white flowers often, but we get cool weather for much of the summer so I am looking forward to the changing dance of the flower colors.

It just recently started blooming for me this last week or so, and most of the flowers are of course bright near solid red, but one flower does have the bicolor effect.

Another reason to love it… The hummingbirds certainly like it as much as I do! I saw one industrious (or just plain hungry) female carefully inspect each flower, the. Went back to double check she got each one! That’s a sign of a good humflowers! *grin*

Past experience tells me these are short lived here, so I’ll need to get in the habit of propagating it by cuttings or seed every year. This is hardly a problem since I wouldn’t mind having more of it. It generally stays bushy and fairly compact. I didn’t prune it last year, which may have encouraged earlier blooms than I might have otherwise, but next year I think a trim in February or early March will be in order. And of course, take cuttings of the trimmed branches. I need to start doing that more with the lavenders too…

At any rate, if this little shrub is hardy for you, and you want to attract hummingbirds, this is a reliable standby. Even if not hardy, keep it in a pot a d try overwintering in a garage, like you would for fuchsias.

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