Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ seems to be a really hot plant this summer. Several of these flowers are in bloom on the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, and I have a couple blooming on my hellstrip in Greenfield.
Visitors to the Bridge have written and asked the name of this beautiful shrub. It took me a while to identify it because I think of it as an annual and not a shrub. However, Monrovia Nursery calls it a shrub and in zones 8-10 it is a perennial. It has a very airy habit and the two tone flowers are delightful. Under ideal circumstances it will reach three feet tall with an equal spread.
Monrovia calls this a waterwise plant because it does not need much watering once it is established. It loves the sun and heat. I have planted this on my curbside garden which gets a lot of shade during the day so it is less floriferous right now, but on the Bridge of Flowers where it gets full sun it is still blooming energetically. I will find a sunnier spot for it next year.
The photo is from Monrovia by Richard Schiell.