Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Autumn Sage
Salvia x jamensis 'Hot Lips'

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salvia (SAL-vee-uh) (Info)
Species: x jamensis
Cultivar: Hot Lips

Synonym:Salvia microphylla

» View all varieties of Salvias

9 vendors have this plant for sale.

50 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Tropicals and Tender Perennials

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 61 photos.
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28 positives
No neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive DisHammerhand On Apr 25, 2014, DisHammerhand from Fontana, CA wrote:

Star performer for me. I planted it under a London Plane tree. Sun or shade, it flowers prolificly. It can tolerate drought but looks much better with periodic water. Flower factory and hummingbird diner. Two years running I've had hummingbirds nest in the hedge next to the sage. When it heats up it flowers less then bursts back into bloom in Fall.

Makes huge thick weed smothering blanket. Conserves soil moisture for the tree it's growing under.

I am planting more of them this year.

Positive dirob2 On Jun 26, 2013, dirob2 from Sutherlin, OR wrote:

I live in western Oregon and when we moved into the house Hot Lips was in the garden. We enjoyed it very much for a few years and then one spring it was dead. We had no idea the name or plant type and searched for the last couple years online and at the stores. I tried describing it on online forums and no one came up with this plant. Today I found one at the local store. Now I know the name and if it should die back again I can replace it. We had had a harder winter than normal the year it died. We are zone 8ish. The bees just loved it and we are working hard to encourage the pollinators around us to be happy with all the bee die-offs and such so it is an important addition to our garden.

Positive mpabbott1 On Jun 23, 2013, mpabbott1 from (Mary) Poway, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant grows like wildfire. I never water it, and apparently the little rain we get here is enough. Hummingbirds are always around this plant. We give it a hard trim in the winter.

Positive blumz On May 9, 2013, blumz from Trussville, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Hot lips salvia is one of the most beautiful plants in my gardens. It is evergreen in my area - 8a. I had to move it a couple of times because it grew larger than the tag said. Each time I moved it, I cut it back and it came back more beautiful than before. So I now just make a practice of cutting it back to about 1-1/2 feet in early spring. It is full, lush and gorgeous. Grows to about 3-1/2 to 4 ft. tall and wide for me. Hummers love it and everyone who visits my gardens fall in love with it.

Positive rainiershadow On May 4, 2013, rainiershadow from Lake Tapps, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I got this plant last year and it bloomed great! This year the leaves are coming out but I wonder if I should have pruned the tops of the branches? They are bare and it doesn't look like leaves will be forming so it seems the tops are dead. Is it too late to cut the tops of the branches where there are not leaves? It is now the beginning of May and I don't see any flowers coming yet? I am in Zone 8b Sumner WA

Positive loovejonesx On May 2, 2013, loovejonesx from Durham, NC wrote:

Have had this flower for at least 6 years now around my mailbox here in zone 7b & it really seems to do better when it's ignored. There are years that it comes back with loads of buds, & years that it does nominally well, BUT IT ALWAYS PUT ON A PRETTY GOOD SHOW. I get white flowers, red flowers & the trademark red & white mix & it seems to thrive on hot days.

Positive XemaSab On Nov 5, 2011, XemaSab from Redding, CA wrote:

This is my favorite plant in my whole yard. I have 11 of them, and not only have they thrived on our 115 degrees in the summer and 45 inches of rain in the winter, they've done well in full sun areas, heavy shade areas (I planted Vinca in that corner and it died!), and everything in between, all on a xeric water regimen plus a nasty claypan!

Positive carlipop On Apr 25, 2011, carlipop from Stromsburg, NE wrote:

I purchased a hot lips salvia last summer and love it! I live in Zone 5 so wasn't sure how the plant would do, but was pleasantly surprised when it grew to about 3 foot tall and consistently bloomed until early October when I pruned it and dug it up to bring inside for the winter. I currently have it waiting patiently for spring in my basement with sunlight coming in through a south window. It has new growth and is ready to bloom again! I would absolutely recommend this plant for other gardeners in Nebraska! It is beautiful.

Positive GreeneLady On Apr 7, 2011, GreeneLady from Oak Island, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

What can I say? This plant loves to be forgotten. I discovered this by accident when my sprinkler system malfunctioned while were were on vacation, so for 2 weeks in the heat of a dry Georgia summer, it got no water. When I came back, everything else in that flower bed was nearly dead, except this plant. It was not only surviving, it was THRIVING! I've never cut mine back. Here in zone 8, it still had a few blossoms going at Christmas time. I have not had any luck with propogation from cuttings. Dividing the root ball seems to be the only way to go for me.

Positive tulpen On Mar 14, 2011, tulpen from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

I have a variety of different colored salvias including this one in my garden. They add beautiful color, butterflies, bees and hummingbirds love them (very important to me) once established they require low water and maintenance. I do prune regularly (but easy too) to keep them in shape and I think it encourages blooming. Also they don't require "fancy" soil and I personally don't fertilize even though that might be good. Sun to part/shade but the more sun the better. A favorite for me!

Negative LeslieT On Mar 14, 2011, LeslieT from Bellaire, TX wrote:

I grew this plant for several years and found it unattractive most of the time. I loved the blooms, which changed color depending on heat levels. However, no matter how I cut the plant back, it consisted mainly of stems with leaves clustered at the end of its woody stems. All you really saw was woody stems with a few blooms. I finally gave up on it.

Positive sllawrence On Mar 14, 2011, sllawrence from Kerrville, TX wrote:

I have an established (4 year old) 'Hot Lips' salvia in the NW area of my garden in the Texas Hill Country. This past winter (2011), we had abnormally low and extended, dry hard freezes of 9 degrees, with windchills into the (minus) -2 degrees. This plant suffered cold damage but did not die back to the ground, and is coming back very nicely now.

One note of caution, this plant spreads! It puts out underground runners in an attempt to takeover a large area of the garden. I have been using the new clumps as passalong plants. I also add that I have had the occasional solid white and solid red bloom on this plant, as well as the bicolor 'hot lips' red and white. Intense heat doesn't faze it.

Positive bmmibmmi On Feb 26, 2011, bmmibmmi from Kenwood, CA wrote:

Anyone have prunning tips for the Hot Lips? My hedge grew profusely this year but now, in winter about half of the upper section has died back pretty far. How far shoudl I cut it back if at all and when?

Positive bbshouse On Oct 20, 2010, bbshouse from Billings, MT wrote:

I haven't seen this plant since I moved here from Texas in 1994. So I was excited when I was given 8 of these plants in April. The truck they had been on froze overnight. The store had thrown them away because they looked dead. A friend that worked there "rescued" them and brought them to me. I planted them, cut the dead branches back to the ground and watered them. Within 2 weeks they were blooming and now are 3 ft tall and approx 2-4 ft wide. They've bloomed non stop since May. I'm interested to see how they survive our Montana winter. If they come back next spring, I'll be dividing them next fall to share with all my friends.

Positive BJames1 On May 23, 2010, BJames1 from Elizabeth City, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Nice salvia! I love how the colors can change from solid red to solid white to a red-white combination! Blooms in mass in the spring and sporadically and in large flushes throughout the summer for me. A little leggy, but otherwise a great garden performer. What can I say? I will always fall for some 'Hot Lips.'

Positive HalfKneegrow On Apr 17, 2010, HalfKneegrow from Oakland, CA wrote:

We grow this plant at my job in Berkeley, Ca and it does great, in ALL DAY sun. Gave it as a gift and it does great in San Francisco also, with much less sun. ..and those flowers? fuhgeduhboutit!

Positive hymenocallis On Jan 20, 2010, hymenocallis from Auburn, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have had Salvia microphylla for several years and it survived a week and most of another one below freezing this past two weeks and it didn't flinch. I don't know what it's limits are bit 13 degrees didn't do anything but burn a few leaves on it. It is 4 ft x 8 ft. Still flowering and a great plant.

Positive Mr_LeFleur On Oct 21, 2009, Mr_LeFleur from Bothell, WA wrote:

A humming bird came to get nectar from the flowers just moments after I planted it:)
I haven't seen a humming bird up close in years.
The blooms are also bright and last a long time.
I can't wait to have a whole field of it in the future:)

Positive ladyschweig On Jan 5, 2007, ladyschweig from Culpeper, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I bought two small pots of "Hot Lips" late last Spring. They were very cute. When the blooms decreased I was disappointed...until late summer and into the fall. The plants would not stop growing or blooming! I was so impressed I searched for more. I found a "Cherry Sage" that made a very nice partner. I now have develped a rage for sage and I am searching for a variety of colors. Hot Lips is still very dear to me, though.

Positive Marilynbeth On Nov 19, 2006, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:

Grew it for the first time this season (found it at Lowe's) and I love it! It got more beautiful as season progressed. I don't know if I'll get any volunteers from it, but if it doesn't winter over, then I'll have to look and find another.

Positive lunavox On Jun 9, 2006, lunavox from Seattle, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I live in metro Seattle, and I saw a hummingbird visit my container garden for the first time EVER to eat nectar from this salvia. Hummingbirds have been coming by regularly in the evening since this started blooming a month ago. It's great. :)

Positive ineedacupoftea On Jun 8, 2006, ineedacupoftea from Denver, CO wrote:

10F? Not true. A friend outside of town (average ten degrees cooler in the winter) on a windy hill grows her Salvia 'Hot Lips' in a Xeric Garden. I waited curiously over winter to see if they would return; Two of two have indeed survived a winter that saw at least 0F on her hill. Dry winters may help.

It blooms well with little water. Summer heat (100F+) and drought are not impairments. Most flowers are nearly pure carmine, some are "lipped."

Positive Leehallfae On May 16, 2006, Leehallfae from Seattle, WA wrote:

In addition to being hardy in Garden Zone 7b (Seattle), it is a lovely plant.

Blooms in May, and the fragrant leaves are also very nice.

Positive grikdog On Aug 23, 2005, grikdog from St. Paul, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I just tried this this year. It does well in pots. I also took several cuttings this August which rooted almost immediately.

Positive librarianlanell On Feb 2, 2005, librarianlanell from Spring, TX wrote:

The 28 degree dips during the winter didn't even phase this plant (just north of Houston.) Mine are planted in semi-shade in well drained soil. They get tons of water one month and none the next and look great!

Positive clantonnaomi On May 24, 2004, clantonnaomi from Iredell, TX wrote:

This plant is definitely hardy in Zone 8 - central Texas. I have had mine for a couple of years and they have not even died back to the ground. A wonderful salvia and the red and white blooms are so unusual!

Positive kviolette On May 23, 2004, kviolette from Raleigh, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant is more cold hardy than indicated above. It wintered over in Raleigh, NC (Zone 7b/8a) after being planted in October. No winter protection other than whatever leaves fell onto it and was not cut back until April. It did die back nearly to the ground but it is growing fine now. Much more mature plants came through winter in the area with little die back.

Positive poozak On Jan 3, 2004, poozak from New Braunfels, TX wrote:

What a great plant in Deer Country. I drove away from our one gallon, planted a year ago and we never did a thing to keep it alive during the six month's absence. Big bushy three-footer now. I love this plant and plan to grow a bunch of it. Have fun! P.

Positive Happenstance On Aug 27, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

As the season progresses the flowers will be red/white, solid red, pinky red. This is normal for this cultivar and the same branches will also make the bi-color flowers. Makes for a real show of color.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Queen Creek, Arizona
Cabot, Arkansas
Alpine, California
Berkeley, California
Carlsbad, California
Citrus Heights, California
Clayton, California
Clovis, California
Crescent City, California
Davis, California
El Cerrito, California
Fairfield, California
Fontana, California
Fremont, California
Hemet, California
Irvine, California
Kenwood, California
Knights Landing, California
Los Angeles, California (2 reports)
Miranda, California
Mission Viejo, California
Oakland, California
Oakley, California
Penn Valley, California
Poway, California
Redding, California
San Jose, California
San Leandro, California
Shingletown, California
Sonoma, California
Stockton, California
Ventura, California
Walnut Creek, California
Grand Junction, Colorado
Wilmington, Delaware
Brooksville, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Lake City, Florida
Naples, Florida (2 reports)
Niceville, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Riverview, Florida
Wellborn, Florida
Winter Park, Florida
Yulee, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Clarkesville, Georgia
Cordele, Georgia
Cornelia, Georgia
Guyton, Georgia
Harlem, Georgia
South Amana, Iowa
Hebron, Kentucky
Bel Air, Maryland
Billings, Montana
Lincoln, Nebraska
Stromsburg, Nebraska
Ocean Grove, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Elizabeth City, North Carolina (2 reports)
Fuquay Varina, North Carolina
Kannapolis, North Carolina
Morehead City, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (2 reports)
Saint Pauls, North Carolina
Edmond, Oklahoma
Hugo, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Salem, Oregon
Sutherlin, Oregon
Columbia, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Ladys Island, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
North Charleston, South Carolina
Alpine, Texas
Arlington, Texas (3 reports)
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Bryan, Texas
Bulverde, Texas
Cibolo, Texas
Conroe, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Fate, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)
Garland, Texas
Houston, Texas
Iredell, Texas
Katy, Texas
Kerrville, Texas (2 reports)
New Braunfels, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Princeton, Texas
Spring, Texas
Spring Branch, Texas
Kaysville, Utah
Roy, Utah
Alexandria, Virginia
Arlington, Virginia
Brandy Station, Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Bothell, Washington
Cathan, Washington
Concrete, Washington
Issaquah, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Poulsbo, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Sumner, Washington
Vancouver, Washington (2 reports)
Pewaukee, Wisconsin

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