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Is My Hot Lips Plant Dead Or Alive? How To Overwinter?

Hot Lips leaves almost no clues in the outside appearance, making it difficult to confirm whether it is dead or only idle during dormancy. 
The big difference between the dead and dormant Hot Lips plant (Salvia) is the wood color. The dead plant has dry and brown wood under when scratching the bark. But the dormant plant has greenish-white wood with some moisture. 

So, if you are confused about deciding the proper condition of the Hot Lips, go through this article. 

How To Tell If Your Hot Lips Plant Is Dead?

Hot Lips Plant (Salvia) grows as annual in zone 3-6 and as perennial in zone 7-10.

When growing as perennials, Salvias can live for 4-6 years, depending on the climate, care requirement, and specific varieties. 

a dead Hot Lips plant
A dead Hot Lips plant appears brown or black with no life.

However, these flowering plants die off shortly with the following signs. 

No New Growth

If there is no sign of new foliage and flowers in the growing season, even after watering and fertilizing, your Hot Lips plant is dead.

However, this can be the result of overwatering, underwatering, lack of sunlight, excess sunlight, pests and diseases, and other care failures. 

Brown & Dry Leaves

Another indication of dead Salvia is brown and dry or dehydrated leaves, which fall easily when touched. 

Black & Mushy Stems

The black and mushy stems indicate that the plant is rotted. This can result from overwatering or root rot, which often takes the life of the plant. 

No Green Under the Bark

To confirm if the Salvia is dead, scratch the bark off the plant. If there is no green underneath, your plant is severely dead. 

Other signs and symptoms

  • Wilting or drooping
  • Loss of leaves
  • Infestation and Disease 

Here are extra tips to identify if your Hot Lips plant is dead!

  • Touch the soil to confirm the moisture of the soil. If it is dry, water your plant and let it remain for a few days. If the plant does not perk up, your plant is dead. 
  • Try to bend a branch, and if the branch breaks easily, it may be dead. 
  • Inspect the infestation and fungal and bacterial diseases on your plant. If the plant is heavily infested or diseased, your plant is too late to save. 
Note: You cannot revive the dead Hot Lips plant. However, you can take stem cuttings and propagate for new plants.

How To Tell If Your Hot Lips Plant Is Dormant?

When the Hot Lips plant undergoes dormancy, it looks like it is dead with no life in it. However, you need not worry about it; the plant only rests during its dormancy. 

Hot Lips Plant goes dormant when the temperature is extreme, which can be anything: cold winter or hot summer. 

Hot Lips plant in dormancy
Hot Lips plant appears less vibrant during dormancy.

You can identify the dormant Hot Lips under the following receptions!

Plant Appearance

Hot Lips plant in the active phase looks bushy with heavy foliage.

However, when the plant reaches dormancy, you will notice the paleness and lack of lushness in the plant.

Additionally, the branches start to whither and continue until the start of the growing season.

Leaf Loss

Hot Lips plants shade a few of their leaves during dormancy in the winter. It is only a natural process to preserve plant energy and reduce water loss. 

You can also notice the leaves changing their color or discoloration. Leaves may turn brown or yellow, which is normal for plants as they redirect the resources from foliage to the root system. 

No Flowering

Hot Lips plants look gracious with red and white blooms but reduce their flower production during dormancy. 

However, dormancy is the key sign of new growth and flowering, which occurs in the spring. 

Reduced Growth

The plants may slow down the growth or no continuous or further growth. With this, you may notice Hot Lips plants have shorter stems. 

However, if the stems are dry, dehydrated, and brittle, this can signify death.

Other Key Signs of Dormancy 

  • The plant may require pruning during dormancy. 
  • Also, water requirement is reduced as overwatering too much can lead to root rot.
  • After shedding leaves, the plant prepares natural mulching. 

How to Overwinter Hot Lips Plant?

Hot Lips plants may suffer harm or die if exposed to freezing temperatures in cold regions. So, offer winter protection or bring the house plants indoors during extreme climates. 

These plants also struggle or become dormant in extremely hot climates, so provide the plant with shade or grow the plant under the umbrella trees or canopy. 

From Editorial Team 

Protect Hot Lips From Infestation & Diseases!

Hot Lips are susceptible to pests like mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites, so inspect the plants regularly and apply the appropriate pest control measures. 

Besides, powdery mildew and downy mildew are major fungal diseases that can destroy these plants. To treat them, sustain good air circulation and apply neem or horticultural oil.