Sun exposure:
Full sun
South facing, west facing
Position in border:
Front, middle


Well Drained / Light / Sandy

Perennial sages are worth their weight in gold in ornamental borders, thanks to their summer-long displays of spiky, nectar-rich flowers.

Salvia x jamensis 'Hot Lips' bears large, open-mouthed, bicoloured white and red blooms throughout summer, on compact, scented, bushy plants. In very hot weather some blooms may be fully red or white, and white blooms tend to be more common as day length decreases in late summer. 'Hot Lips' is perfect for planting near a bench or path, where you can enjoy its pretty blooms and fragrant foliage. The flowers are extremely attractive bees and other pollinators.

For best results grow Salvia x jamensis 'Hot Lips' in well-drained soil in full sun. Plants may need protection in extreme winters.

Frequently asked questions

How do I prune Salvia 'Hot Lips'?

Prune Salvia 'Hot Lips' from late-winter to early spring, ideally before new growth emerges. Remove any dead or damaged stems at their base, taking care to make clean cuts just above a bud or leaf node.

Prune back the outer stems by about one-third of their length to encourage branching and denser growth. This will keep your 'Hot Lips' salvia bushy and compact. 

Deadhead spent blooms throughout the growing season to encourage more flowers to form.

How do I divide Salvia 'Hot Lips'?

'Hot Lips' salvia can be divided but you will have more success from taking cuttings. Take semi-ripe cuttings from non-flowering stems in late summer, trimming them to 8cm, just below a leaf. Remove the lower leaves and dip each cutting in rooting hormone powder, and then push into gritty compost. Water and place in a propagator with a lid, keeping the cuttings at room temperature. Pot them individually after the cuttings have shown signs of growth and keep them under cover for winter, then plant out into their final growing positions from mid-spring.

How do I move Salvia 'Hot Lips'?

'Hot Lips' salvia are best moved when young, as older, woodier plants might struggle to thrive after being moved. If you do need to move your 'Hot Lips' salvia, water it thoroughly the day before and dig the new planting hole in advance. Then simply dig it up, taking care to damage as few roots as possible, and replant into the new hole immediately, watering thoroughly. Continue to water regularly for a week or so until the plant reestablishes.

For large, woody salvias, it's best to take semi-ripe cuttings in late summer and plant them out as new plants the following spring.

Why have the flowers on my Salvia 'Hot Lips' turned white?

Salvia 'Hot Lips' typically has red and white flowers but, as day length decreases from late summer, the blooms are more likely to be all-white. What's more, extremely hot weather may trigger the plant to prduce all-red or all-white flowers. This is perfectly normal and the flowers should emerge the following spring with the original red-and-white colouration. 

Plant calendar

Take cuttingsyesyesyes

Salvia ‘Hot lips’ and wildlife

Salvia ‘Hot lips’ is known for attracting bees and other pollinators. It has nectar/pollen rich flowers.

Is known to attract Bees
Is not known to attract Beneficial insects
Beneficial insects
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Butterflies/​Moths
Is known to attract Other pollinators
Other pollinators

Is Salvia ‘Hot lips’ poisonous?

Salvia ‘Hot lips’ has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Cats
Is not known to attract Dogs
Is not known to attract Horses
Is not known to attract Livestock
Is not known to attract People
Plants that go well with Salvia 'Hot Lips'