Salvia ‘Hot Lips’: Should weather most winters without a problem.
What is it? A bushy ornamental sage that puts out a profusion of eye-catching bicolour blooms in white and lipstick red (hence the name) from July to October. Height and spread: 90cm x 60cm.
Plant it with? Perovskias, sedums and blue-flowered salvias such as S. nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ for a pretty but tough drought-proof border, or put it in a bright red pot on the patio for instant impact.
And where? ‘Hot Lips’ is classified as a half-hardy perennial, but it should weather most winters without a problem, especially in the southern UK; tuck it up with fleece in the colder months if you are worried. Offer it full sun, well-drained soil and a sheltered spot. Take cuttings in mid to late summer as a backup plan.
Any drawbacks? It all depends how hooked you are on the two-tone flowers. Their colour can vary according to the temperature, with lipless all white or all red blooms appearing from time to time.
What else does it do? The foliage has a yummy blackcurrant aroma when you crush it or brush past. If the plant gets too floppy, prune it in spring and ‘Hot Lips’ will leap back into life.
Buy it Order five plants for £10.99 or 10 for £15.98 (prices include UK mainland p&p). To order, visit our Reader Offers page. Supplied as plug plants; delivery May to June.