Why has my hot lips lost its lips?

Today at a plant sale I got asked about Salvia ‘Hot Lips’, why has it lost its ‘lips’? That being the pink edge to the flowers.

Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ appears to be quite unstable, sometimes it comes all white, sometimes all pink, and sometimes you get the two tone pink and white flowers. I don’t believe there is a definitive answer, however we think this is related to the weather and growing conditions. There are reports of the same plant (that is plants that are cuttings taken from one plant so clones) having different colored flowers in different parts of the garden, leading to the assumption it is growing conditions. In my garden where its been in the same place for many years I think it is due to weather. I have not watched it enough to know whether cold gives more white, and hot more read, or vice-versa, but fluctuating temperatures across the years, hot springs and summers, or long periods of hot dry weather do appear to alter the colour of the flowers.

I don’t know if the other flowers in the ‘Lips’ range have a similar instability. I do know though that you wont be able to replicate this by taking cuttings. This isnt a genetic alteration in the flowers on that branch, so if you take a cutting from a branch with all white flowers and are hoping to get a new salvia with all white flowers you will be disappointed, and probably end up with a plant with lovely lips the following year!

 

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