Loggee's Greenhouse is offering Hot Lips Salvia plants and if you have never grown it, take a look. The photo is from their site.
The first time we saw Hot Lips, it was blooming its head off last fall at the Tulsa Zoo. We had to have it. Blossom's Garden Center in Muskogee had the plants and we put in two.
This year's weather was somewhat un-summer-like. Other than July, we had rain, rain, and more rain.
So, our Hot Lips is just now doing its blooming best. But, it was about this time of year we saw them blooming beautifully at the zoo, too. So maybe fall is their time to shine.
Plant Delights says Hot Lips was discovered in Mexico and that they are hardy to our zone 7. "This wild selection of the Mexican Salvia microphylla was introduced by Richard Turner of California after the plant was shared with him by his maid, who brought it from her home in Mexico. The fast-growing, 30" tall x 6' wide clump is adorned with stunning bicolor flowers with red tips and white lips. When the nights warm in summer, the new flowers are all red with an occasional solid white one. As fall approaches, the flowers again will be bicolor red and white."
I agree that it is a must have.
My experience propagating Salvia is decent - 70% (but not consistent) success. So when I took cuttings of Hot Lips today, I took a bunch and put them into a rooting mix of sand, vermiculite, perlite and peat-based potting mix after dipping ends and leaf nodes in rooting hormone.
Territorial Seed sold out this year but I love what they said about Hot Lips.
"Salvia microphylla Pucker up! You'll fall all over yourself when this beauty smiles at you. In a head turning bicolor of snow white with a crimson kisser, and stretching 36 inches tall and wide, Hot Lips can't help but be noticed. It sneers at heat, drought, and even deer while blooming from mid summer through fall. Mingled with Black and Blue salvia the effect is dignified and patriotic. Hardy in zones 7 and up."
Now that I recall that they are deer resistant, I'll put them along the fence where the deer like to snoop for next summer's garden.