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Salvia hot lips

Red mapleRed maple Posts: 883
I have a salvia hot lips in a pot on my patio. It is still flowering beautifully, but am aware this will only be until the first frosts. My query is how can I best over winter it? It's quite bushy, so should I trim it back and cover it with fleece, and perhaps mulch it will grit and bark clippings? I have a small unheated greenhouse, so I could put it in there or otherwise against the house wall underneath the garden bench. I assume it's main enemy will be the cold wet, especially as it is in a pot. 
Thanks in anticipation.


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,626
    It depends how cold your patio gets in winter.  THE RHS says these plants are hardy down to -15C but I have lost one in -10C and, in a pot, their roots are even more susceptible to cold.

    If you can move it, the greenhosue will be best but don't cut it back as the upper shoots will take any frosts and protect the lower buds.  You can then cut back to those next spring, feed it and watch it re-grow.

    If you can't move it, try wrapping the pot, but not the plant in bubble wrap to provide some insulation.  Make sure it is up on feet so it can drain and doesn't sit in a puddle all winter.   Leave all the top growth on and add fleece on nights when a severe frost is forecast.   prune back to healthy shoots and buds next spring and give it a good, slow release feed and occasional liquid feeds as well as plain water once growth starts.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Red mapleRed maple Posts: 883
    Thank you, Obelix, for your good advice. I can move it, so will put it in the greenhouse as you suggest and follow your other advice.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,399
    I think against a house wall would be fine, but if you've got a greenhouse, yes, why not use it. 

    I've left small plants taken from cuttings (Salvia 'Blue Note' rather than 'Hotlips') lying around over winter over the last couple of years, and they made it through. So I wouldn't rush to put fleece on them.
  • Red mapleRed maple Posts: 883
    That's good to know, WillDB.
    Are you in the north or the south of the country? I'm in Yorkshire, so we can get some pretty keen frosts, but I'm not in the countryside, so a little more protected.
    I will put it in the greenhouse, however, along with some pelargoniums which overwintered mostly successfully last year.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,531
    I overwintered mine in the compost bin.
  • WilderbeastWilderbeast Posts: 1,415
    Hi Red Maple, I'm in Yorkshire too just south of York, we have several hot lips they have come through 3 wet cold winters happily, there supposed to be H5 on the hardiness scale. They are in beds which is different to yours  but seem very happy, they do get some really hard cold winds from the north.  To compare we had 10 black and blue salvias  which all died after 1 winter (I was prepared with cuttings) and have had to replace them every year
  • Red mapleRed maple Posts: 883
    Hi Wilderbeast.
    That sounds promising, then. I'm South of York, too, so all being well my plant should be ok, though as it's in a pot, I'll protect its roots by wrapping fleece round the pot and pop it in the greenhouse. Isn't it strange how the black and blue salvias didn't do as well?

    I suppose your plants were protected by the composting material, Hostafan1, which I suppose offered some insulation!
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,918
    I don't think that's what @Hostafan1 meant when he said the compost bin.... ;)

    There's quite a bit of variation with Salvias round the country, and generally speaking, wet cold will see them off far more quickly than dry cold, but even so, it can come down to micro climates in your own garden, and things like what other planting they have round them , how much overhead shelter they have from plants/trees, whether they're near walls/fences etc too. Prolonged cold as opposed to a short spell and so on. A raised bed will provide better drainage too. 
    Some are just hardier too  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Red mapleRed maple Posts: 883
    :hushed: Ha, ha, yes. Must have been having a senior moment, Fairygirl!!  :D
  • Red mapleRed maple Posts: 883
    You are right about the micro climates in gardens, which can make a difference and whether they are north, south facing etc. My back garden is quite sheltered.

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