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June 2011
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Salvia microphylla – also known as Hot Lips Salvia and Blackcurrant Sage

Salvia microphylla, also known as Hot Lips Salvia and Blackcurrant Sage is a perennial shrub that can grow up to a height of 1 to 1.3 m (3.3 to 4.3 ft) and also about the same in width. It’s native to southeastern Arizona and the mountains of eastern, western, and southern Mexico. “Microphylla”, which in Greek means “small leaved”, is also known as myrtle of the mountains in Mexico. It is used as a medicinal plant and for teas because of its therapeutic effects.
It blooms in the first year and in second year, grows to its full size. The leaves have strong aroma which is mint-like and that of blackcurrant and hence also known as Blackcurrant sage. Its leaves are oval shaped and slightly hairy. The flowers are in whorls and in magenta, red, pink and rose colors in its hybrid forms. It attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and is resistant to deer. It needs full sun to partial shade and well drained soil.

Growing conditions of Salvia microphylla:

• After the frost passes, plant the Mexican sage.
• The root ball is large enough, so choose a container to sustain the plant through out the winter.
• The plant can be propagated by taking a cutting.
• It grows well in zones 7 through 11.
• The plant needs full sunlight during the day.
• The plant will grow tall and scrawny in shade as it will try to reach for sunlight.
• Plant at least 2 to 3 feet away apart from other plants.
• A hole can be dug 3 inches deep and fill in the dirt around the plant.
• Water the soil for first month and let it not dry out.
• Water the plant once a week later.
• Prune if the plant is too large.

Care for Salvia microphylla:

• The temperature should not be very cool as the roots can be damaged.
• The temperature that this plant can tolerate is as low as 25 degrees.
• The plant needs well drained soil and full sunlight.
• Water the plant twice a week or once a week depending on the conditions.
• Add compost to the soil when planting.
• During weather being dry, keep the roots moist.
• Spread mulch around the plant to retain moisture and also to reduce weeds.
• Fertilize the plant with layer of compost around the base of the plant.
• Add all purpose plant food as budding starts.
• Prune in spring to encourage growth.
• If the plant reaches two feet, cut the top third of the stem.

Photos of the plant on Google Search (link)

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