2' or 4' bigger for 'Hot Lips'?

ecosse(8a/11sunset/SNevada)August 19, 2007

Hi- New to Salvia Forum, love the photos and hints. Just bought a beautiful "Hot Lips" sage as a gift for my hummingbirds. It will live in a container on my balcony. Presently, its in the growers 1 gal (6"?) pot, and needs potting up. Should I just go up to an 8" for now, or is a 10" better? Am concerned about potting mix staying too moist-its a challenge, haven't the room to make my own, but will amend what I have (kelloggs) with pumice. Would adding a small trailing plant(suggestions?) to the pot help use up water til it adjusts?


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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Pumice as a soil amendment is a really good idea. Unless your daytime temps are too hot, Hot Lips will grow pretty fast and fill a 12" pot within a month with its roots.

I wish we had pumice here in the eastern states, and so do a lot of rock gardeners.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 11:37AM
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Thanks for the input! I went for the 10" for now, know I'll have to pot up later. I was concerned that a small plant in a large pot would stay too moist. Its still hot here-104, but plants came from local nursery,and have been outside. I put the 10" inside a larger pot with old newspapers between the two for insulation. I'd love try Al's mix, but just as you can't get pumice, we can't get fine pine bark -have tried everywhere. Lowes and Kellogg have it, just not here (sigh). The pumice comes in a 12 quart bag which is perfect for container gardening. It does help keep the soil loose, and holds just a small amount of moisture-would be nice for a rock garden.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 7:27PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

I've been told to avoid pine bark in soil mixes because in the long run, it disintegrates into fine particles that clog up pores in the soil. This would make it suitable for pkants that are going to be set into the ground soon, but not for container plants that you want to keep for many years.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 8:39AM
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Apparently those who recommend it as a part of a soilless mix also advocate yearly changing, so you do have a point!

I guess the bottom line is keeping the potting mix porous,and keeping it moist without sogginess-and finding a way to do so that suit the local conditions, the plant, and the gardener (laugh)!

Anyway, the 2 Hot Lips (got one more for luck) seem perky and happy so far (fingers crossed)-about 18 in. tall, and the hummingbirds are visiting them.

I really appreciate the confirmation on the pumice, it helps keep things simpler and fun.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 3:38PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Would chicken grit suffice in place of the pumice? It is readily available at most farm feed and seed stores. I have used it in pots for clematis that require better drainage such as fremontii, hirsutissima, and the like!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 1:41AM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I wouldn't worry too much about drainage if I lived in Southern Nevada. It is plenty dry there, and Hot Lips isn't particularly sensetive to drainage. Mine grow fine in normal garden soil or in standard potting soil here in rainy, humid PA. I think you'll be fine with normal, store-bought potting soil.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2007 at 3:45PM
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I had lost some of my potted rosemary and lavender to soggy potting soil-it breaks down fast in this heat, so I try to be careful... I picked salvia as it was recommended for our area, and as you can see, I'm going for plants that are aromatic (we won't get into my container roses, lol). Hot Lips was the one I found by chance at a local nursery and the spicy scent of the leaves is great! I am so glad to hear it is a tough little cookie as well! They are going thru just a tad of transplant stress, but when they look just a little peaked, I give 'em a splash of water, and they perk up in minutes. Thanks, ladyslppr!

I saw a Red Salvia-a gregii-, but the foliage didn't look as nice, nor did it seem so aromatic. Another nursery has an Autumn Sage-am thinking of getting one of those...?

nckvilledudes, I seem to recall hearing about chicken-and turkey- grit in the soil forums, but can't find the post. That forum can be very scientific and detailed, spirited, and really confusing, tho educational. I think if it works for you, go for it, it may well work for someone else!


    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 1:03PM
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A follow-up re my 2 containered Hot Lips-they are going through a second blooming-beautiful! Oddly, tho, some blooms are solid hot-pink, some are all white and some are that great two tone-on both plants. Does anyone know if they'll true-up?

As Rich had advised me, they are indeed outgrowing their pots.(and they love the Kelloggs/pumice mix.) Don't know when will be a good time to pot them up, it'll likely be temperate here til early Jan., then a short few weeks of maybe 30s at night. Think they will go dormant then? Or won't they really care when they go into another pot?

Must say a great thing about these forums is that true experts as well as avid hobbyists are happy to share their
knowlege. Just reading the posts is a real-world horticultural education. Thanks all!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 9:27PM
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CA Kate

Hot LIps does this, ecosse. You'lll find all 3 color formations on the same plant at the same time, altho' temperature does influence what colors you'll get.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 2:07PM
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Hmmm. First bloom was just starting when I got them at the nursery in Aug. Hot. Milder now,80-ish. Still striking tho.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 9:02PM
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