November 15, 2019

Pucker Up

Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips'

Janine Pineo Photo | Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’

Bees love it. Butterflies love it. Even hummingbirds love it. And why not when the name is ‘Hot Lips’? Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ is a native of Mexico and is unique for its bicolored flowers of red tips and white lips. The species is a perennial shrub in the southwestern U.S. and makes an excellent annual for Maine. In Greek, microphylla means “small leaved,” noting the fact that the leaves are, indeed, quite minute. Interestingly, the color of the flowers change depending on the temperature. During the heat of summer, the flowers can lose their bicolor and be just red or white. But when the temperature cools toward autumn, the bicolored blooms return.