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Salvia, Hot Lips

Buy Any 3 Perennial Plants or Bulbs & Save 20%

Short Description

A stunning show throughout summer.

Full Description

Delicate red and white blooms create a stunning show throughout summer. Some flowers will bloom in solid red color attracting bees and hummingbirds. With a little protection, this Mexican introduction will happily over-winter in zone 6.
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Item#: 19816
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Product properties

Zone This refers to the USDA hardiness zone assigned to each part of the country, based on the minimum winter temperature that a region typically experiences. Hardiness zone ranges are provided for all perennial plants and you should always choose plants that fall within your range.


Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun

Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

24 inches

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

15-18 inches

Bloom Season The time of the year when this product normally blooms.

Fall, Summer

Resistant To Adverse garden conditions, such as heat or frost, deer or rabbits, that this product can tolerate well.

Deer, Drought, Heat

Plant Shipping Information

Plants begin shipping on:

Sep 12, 2016

(Click here for fall shipping schedule)


Item 19816 cannot ship to: AA, AE, AK, AP, AS, CN, FM, GU, HI, MH, MP, PR, PW, VI
See all Burpee plant shipping restrictions for your state

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Introduction to Perennials
Perennials return year after year blooming on their own. Watch this introduction and discover how easy and rewarding growing perennials can be.
Watch video
Perennials Tour #1
Take a garden tour and see favorite perennial plants in a garden setting. In this video- Shasta Daisy, Ornamental Grass, Butterfly Bush, Echinacea and Hydrangea.
Watch video

Salvia: Indoor or Direct Sow or Potted Plant Perennial

How to Sow and Plant

Salvia may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or sown directly in the garden in summer, or grown from potted plants.

Sowing Seed Indoors:

  • Sow indoors 10-12 weeks  before the last frost
  • Barely press the seeds into seed starting formula
  • Keep the soil evenly moist at 70 degrees F
  • Seedlings emerge in 15-21 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 2 pairs of true leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots
  • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning.  This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Sowing Directly in the Garden:

  • Direct sow after all danger of frost in full sun in a well-drained but moisture retentive soil
  • Remove weeds and work organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth.
  • Sow seeds evenly and thinly and barely cover with fine soil.
  • Keep evenly moist.
  • Seedlings will emerge in 15-21 days.
  • Thin to 12-18 inches apart when seedlings are about 2 inches tall.

Planting Potted Plants:

  • Select a location in full sun in a well-drained but moisture retentive soil
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12 inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
  • The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure) benefits all gardens and is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods.
  • Plant on a cloudy day or in late afternoon to reduce transplant shock.
  • Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
  • Unpot the plant and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root growth.
  • Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
  • Use the plant tag as a location marker.
  • Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.

How to Grow

  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their germination.
  • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For perennials, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time.  Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
  • Careful watering is essential in getting perennials off to a good start. Water thoroughly at least once a week to help new roots grow down deeply. Soil should be damp at about 1 inch below the soil surface. You can check this by sticking your finger in the soil. Water early in the morning to give all leaves enough time to dry.  One inch of rain or watering per week is recommended for most perennial plants. You can check to see if you need to add water by using a rain gauge.
  • Until plants become established, some protection from extreme winds and direct, hot sunlight may be necessary.  Good air movement is also important.
  • After new growth appears, a light fertilizer may be applied. Keep granular fertilizers away from the plant crown and foliage to avoid burn injury. Use low rates of a slow release fertilizer such as Garden-tone, as higher rates may encourage root rots.
  • “Deadhead”, remove spent flower heads to encourage continuous flowering and prevent seed development.
  • Remove and discard foliage after a hard frost in fall.
  • In colder regions, apply another layer of mulch (1-2 inches) after the ground freezes in fall. Evergreen boughs (from Christmas trees) provide additional protection. Remove this mulch in the spring.

Growing Tips

  • Many gardeners do not cut back perennial flower seed heads in the fall, but wait until early spring before the new foliage appears. This provides food for wildlife over the winter.
  • These versatile, colorful plants are widely grown in mixed borders, formal mass plantings, wildflower gardens, cottage gardens, and containers.
  • Salvias make great cut flowers.
Full Sun
24 inches
15-18 inches
Bloom Season
Fall, Summer
Resistant To
Deer, Drought, Heat
Ornamental Use
Beds, Borders, Container, Cut Flowers
Planting Time
Fall, Spring
Life Cycle
Salvia, Hot Lips is rated 4.571428571428571 out of 5 by 7.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful in the picture Just bought these the end of April, and received what appeared to be 3 small plants that seemed a tad banged up from shipment in one cup. Planted it on a cloudy day in a nice huge pot for our deck. So far only one is doing well, & even looks like it'll bloom soon. The 2nd is trying to come up, but looks like the third is dead without any chance of recovering, or blooming :( I buy all my plants mainly for hummingbirds, & butterflies, and for the price expected a bit bigger established plant. Sure hope the one isn't dead!!! Hard to say if I'd recommend it yet, but from the pictures I would. Trying to add pictures, & it say's 100% uploaded then it puts error, please try again. Don't want to show the dead plant?!?
Date published: 2016-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hot Lips Salvia This makes a wonderful Long lasting filler for floral arangements.
Date published: 2015-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful but BIG I love this plant and have it in several spots around my yard. However it gets MUCH bigger than noted, especially when it gets late afternoon shade. My plants in sun are 3' tall by 4' wide. My protected plants are 4'x5'!! This is easily remedied with a haircut but they seem to enjoy some room so don't plant too close to them. The bumblebees love them.
Date published: 2015-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hummer Delight I bought this salvia as an accent for my blackeyed Susans and hot colored coneflowers. It's blooming it's heart out. Good for attracting hummingbirds!
Date published: 2014-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great garden addition I think this is my favorite salvia, and the hummers definitely agree. It's been a steady bloomer, pairing well with other plants, and has matured nicely. The deer walk on by it which I love. Actually, the deer walk on by everything in my perennial garden, as I don't plant anything they like.
Date published: 2013-10-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hummingbird favorite I was worried about these when I received them- seemed too small to do much. However, they exploded into three foot diameter bushes in two months. They were filled with flowers all summer, and the hummingbirds adored them. So far, four of my six are showing signs of life, and I have hope for the other two coming out of a dry and very cold winter for these plants. They were decidedly not evergreen in Zone 6, the visible parts of the plant dying in winter. I pruned back hard and have new growth coming from the soil and crowns only, so we shall see. I would be tempted to plant again even if they were only annuals (looks like I won't have to though).
Date published: 2013-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this plant! I tripped over this plant a few years back at me neighborhood Lowe's and it was a huge success with my local I can't find it anywhere..except here! Rejoice!
Date published: 2009-05-19
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