How to Grow Salpiglossis Plants

Guide to Growing Painted Tongue and Velvet Trumpet Flower

Salpiglossis plants are half hardy annuals that reach from 45 to 60 cm (18 to 24 inches) in height.

They are best grown in cool areas, as this prolongs there blooming period. This can be from summer through to the first frost of winter.

Salpiglossis carries lance shaped leaves and cornet shaped flowers. Salpiglossis plants often have different coloured flowers on the same plant. These range from red through to orange and yellow.

A common name for Salpiglossis is Painted Tongue.

Salpiglossis sinuata
Salpiglossis sinuata - Painted Tongue by Tierra-del-fuego; Creative Commons.

Painted Tongue
Salpiglossis - Painted Tongue by Kari.volkmanncarlsen.

Salpiglossis Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Painted Tongue, Velvet Trumpet Flower, Scalloped Tube Tongue.
Life Cycle: Half hardy annual. Half hardy perennial (short lived).
Height: 18 to 30 inches (45 to 75 cm).
Native: South America.
Growing Region: Zones 1 to 10.

Flowers: Summer until first frost.
Flower Details: Pink, violet, red orange, blue, yellow. Stripes. Five lobed. Funnel. Coloured throats.
Foliage: Ovate to Lanceolate. Toothed margin.

Sow Outside: Surface. When the last frost is expected. Apply a straw covering. Spacing 12 to 16 inches (30 to 50 cm).
Sow Inside: Use peat pots. Germination time: one week to one month in the dark. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Two to two and a half months in advance. Transplant a couple of weeks before the last frost.

Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Average soil. Provide support. Water during prolonged dry periods. Spring mulch. Occasional feed. Pinch tips. Deadhead.
Family: Solanaceae.
Miscellaneous: It is a good idea to grow extra plants, as they frequently fail for no known reason; possibly insect related.

How to Grow Painted Tongue and other Salpiglossis Plants in the Garden

The seeds of Painted tongue and other Salpiglossis plants should be sown on the soil surface, immediately before the last frost of spring is expected.

The seeds should then be covered very lightly with straw. Painted tongue should be spaced about 40 cm (16 inches) apart, and grown in either a sunny or partially shaded part of the garden in an average soil.

If starting off indoors, then sow the seeds into a peat pot about 12 weeks before the last frost is expected.

The Painted Tongue seeds should be germinated in the dark at about 21 to 24 degrees centigrade (70 to 75°F). Once established sow them outdoors in spring a couple of weeks before the last frost.

Caring for Painted Tongue - Salpiglossis

It takes a little bit of work to care for painted tongue. Once established outdoors pinch back the tips of Painted Tongue and other Salpiglossis plant species as this will encourage branching.

They should be mulched in the spring, and supported with a twig or thin stake.

Dead flowers should be removed to encourage further blooms.

During dry spells they should be watered to keep the soil nice and moist. A little bit of weak fertiliser every now and then can do wonders.


Are Salpiglossis perennials?

Salpiglossis, also known as Painted Tongue, is typically grown as an annual. However, it is a short-lived perennial in its native habitats.

When should I start Salpiglossis?

Salpiglossis seeds should be started indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date in spring. They take about 14-21 days to germinate.

Is Salpiglossis a good cut flower?

Yes, Salpiglossis makes an excellent cut flower. Its vibrant, trumpet-shaped flowers add a striking touch to any bouquet.

What is Salpiglossis used for?

Salpiglossis is primarily used for ornamental purposes in gardens and landscapes. Its bright, colorful flowers make it a popular choice for containers and flower beds.

How many members does the Salpiglossis genus have?

The Salpiglossis genus has about 20 recognized species.

Do members of Salpiglossis make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Absolutely, the Salpiglossis species are appreciated for their richly colored, trumpet-shaped flowers, adding vibrancy and a unique texture to gardens and landscapes.

Which Salpiglossis species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most frequently grown species by gardeners is Salpiglossis sinuata, often cultivated for its stunningly colored and veined flowers.

Are members of the Salpiglossis plant genus fragrant?

No, Salpiglossis plants are typically not fragrant. The beauty of their trumpet-shaped, richly colored flowers is their main appeal.

What is the perfect location to grow Salpiglossis?

Salpiglossis prefers a sunny location with well-drained soil. It's ideal for zones 10 and 11, but can be grown as an annual in cooler climates.

Is Salpiglossis invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Salpiglossis is not listed as an invasive species in the USA. However, always check with local regulations for any changes.

How do I remove Salpiglossis plants from my garden?

Salpiglossis plants can be removed by hand-pulling, ensuring that the entire root system is removed to prevent regrowth. Using a garden trowel can assist in this process.


Salpiglossis, known as Painted Tongue or Velvet trumpet flower, is a genus of flowering plants commonly grown as annuals originating from South America. These plants boast vibrant, ornate trumpet-like flowers in the summer.

Start seeds indoors 6-10 weeks before the last spring frost. They prefer well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. The soil should be kept moderately moist and feeding with a balanced fertilizer will support their lavish flowering.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Salpiglossis plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Eggplant and Tomato plants.