Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Painted Tongue
Salpiglossis sinuata

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salpiglossis (sal-pee-GLOSS-iss) (Info)
Species: sinuata (sin-yoo-AY-tuh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

12 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)
Scarlet (Dark Red)
Gold (Yellow-Orange)
Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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7 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive margoknits On Jan 19, 2013, margoknits from Concord, CA wrote:

Salpiglossis sinuata is susceptible to Verticillium wilt. A small plant can die very quickly. Avoid planting in the same place each year. 'Kew Blue' is the variety with the beautiful blue flowers. I have some problems with my intense summer heat

Positive 461gardener On Jun 14, 2008, 461gardener from San Francisco, CA wrote:

I've been growing this stunning plant for many years in San Francisco. Even non-gardeners are intrigued, asking "what is that?"
I concur with another poster that one should over-plant, because there is an inexplicable failure rate ..... suddenly one of them will shrivel up and look completely desiccated right next to others that remain vibrant and healthy.
Does anyone have any theories about this phenomenon?

Neutral berrygirl On Mar 5, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

This Chilean native is cousin to the petunia and was introduced in 1824 to the U.S. Its name Salpiglossis comes from two Greek words meaning trumpet and tongue.

Positive absinthium On May 12, 2006, absinthium from Spring Valley, CA wrote:

Truly fantastic plant when it is happy. In SoCal plant in fall for best bloom. Plant more than you need. I lose about 25 percent to some sort of quick decline/death. They are fine in the morning, near death in the evening. No gross evidence of predation. Plants next to them are fine. I assume some sort of borer or other insect rather than disease. Other than that very easy. My soil is not so fertile, my watering kind of lax, they don't mind.The truly huge number of flowers and their fantastic colors and designs are completely worth it. A plant in full bloom is like a 2 foot wide bouquet.

Positive Ursula On Feb 13, 2005, Ursula from Santiago
Chile (Zone 9b) wrote:

This Chilean Native plant has its natural habitat at the foot slopes of the Andes Mountains and is sometimes found at the coastal cordillera, in full sun exposures and well drained soil.

In our zone 9b it is an herbaceous perennial, reaching 50 to 80 cm height (20 to 31") and a diameter of 30 cm (1'). They bloom during spring, producing white, red, blue, yellow (and all colours inbetween) 5 cm large flowers, with very contrasting veins of a different colour. Salpiglossis is very easy to cultivate, is a fast grower and blooms the first year from seeds. A good choice for new gardeners.

Propagation: sow directly in nutrient rich soil (compost/regular garden soil rate 2:1) in early spring and pick once the plantils have two real leaves.

Dedhead if you want a long blooming time.

Salpiglossis requires staking or the support of other plants.

Positive PudgyMudpies On Jun 21, 2004, PudgyMudpies from Stockton, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Absolutely beautiful flower. The stems are sticky, but the bloom more then makes up for it. I wish I had planted mine in with other plants for support, they are leaning over. Oh, and a tip on the seeds:
the first time I planted them I had no luck with just surface sow. Then I bought more from seed savers & there were instructions on the package. They need darkness to germinate. So I did the surface sow & then put a piece of cardboard over the tray & that worked.

Positive salpiglover On Jul 11, 2003, salpiglover from Randolph, VT wrote:

I have grown Salpiglossis from seed many times and I love everything about this plant. One of the great joys is the amazing variety of color combinations and the surprise of not knowing exactly what might pop up in your garden. The most varied and interesting variety I have found to be the Bolero mix. Royale and Casino have some beautiful solid colors, but less overall variety. By far the most beautiful shade I have ever encountered was a true clear blue with yellow veining at the annual garden at Elizabeth Park in Hartford, CT (grown from Bolero mix). I have never had the joy of growing this shade myself. It should be a separate color.

Positive Weezingreens On Aug 7, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

Salpiglossis blooms all summer long in our mild weather. I especially like them in hanging baskets. The Chocolate variety is so dark it benefits from a light backdrop of some other flower, such as white lobelia. Royale Mix has an amazing wealth of colors ranging from deep rose with colbalt blue to yellowy mustard with crimson. The flowers remind me of a rich old tapestry.

Neutral poppysue On Aug 11, 2001, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

Salpiglossis is not widely known for such a beautiful annual. It's flowers are 2-inches wide and each bloom has a delicate painting of contrasting veins that make them fascinating to look at. Related to the petunia, the plants are similar in shape and grow up to 18-24 inches tall and 6-inches wide. They prefer good soil in partial shade and may decline in the hot sun. Stake them with twigs to keep them from flopping.


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

Auburn, Alabama
Seward, Alaska
Phoenix, Arizona
Concord, California
Livermore, California
Long Beach, California
Merced, California
Richmond, California
Rough And Ready, California
San Francisco, California
San Jose, California
Santa Clara, California
Vernon Rockville, Connecticut
Sandpoint, Idaho
Westchester, Illinois
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Barbourville, Kentucky
Quincy, Massachusetts
Moorhead, Minnesota
Raleigh, North Carolina
Brookings, Oregon
Eugene, Oregon
Gold Hill, Oregon
Mill City, Oregon
Lebanon, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Austin, Texas
Cascade-fairwood, Washington
Port Angeles, Washington
Pullman, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Shoreline, Washington
Port Edwards, Wisconsin

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