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Cloud Forest Plants

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Cloud Forest Plants

Cloud forests form on mountaintops worldwide. Some of the best-known ones in the Western Hemisphere are found in Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America. They are troves of plant diversity and major sources of oxygen production.

Plants from these misty, montane forests love humidity and partial shade. Many are well adapted to life in temperate climates, especially in areas with moderate year-round temperatures and plentiful fog, such as along our Mendocino coastline.

Due to their elevation, cloud forests are cooler than tropical rainforests. Instead of gaining their moisture from rain, plants in these areas absorb moisture from the clouds surrounding them similar to Northern California plants that quench themselves on fog drip.

Despite major differences in altitude, the growing conditions in Mediterranean coastal climates approximate the growing conditions in cloud forests. This is especially true where temperatures are cool-to-moderate, fog is plentiful and low evaporation occurs, such as in San Francisco.

Aside from loving moisture, cloud forest plants often prefer rich soil. Flowers by the Sea raises a variety of cloud-forest species, including Salvias and orchids. Cloud forests worldwide are suffering from deforestation and global warming. By growing their plants, you help preserve biodiversity.

Plants


  • Salvia glechomifolia

    (Ground Ivy Sage) Native to Central Mexico's highlands, this creeping perennial grows at a altitudes of more than 10,000 feet and can handle some chill. Its common name comes from its scalloped yellow-green leaves, which resemble Ground Ivy or Glechoma.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia gravida

    (Gravid Sage) This tender perennial from Michoacán, Mexico, has large, rich magenta flowers that hang from the arching branches in clusters up to 12 inches long. Growing up to 5 feet tall, this sage offers an unforgettable display when in bloom.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia heerii

    (Peruvian Bush Sage) In 1853, Polish botanist and South American plant explorer Józef Warszewicz (1812-1866) found this superb sage with its giant clusters of reddish-orange flowers in the high elevation Cajamarca region of Peru. He sent a sample to German botanist Eduard August von Regel (1815-1892), who named it for for Swiss naturalist Oswald von Heer (1809-1883).

    15.00
     


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  • Salvia holwayi

    (Winter Mexican Sage) Call it the Snow Queen! From fall through spring, this graceful, colorful sage blooms through 20 degree F weather despite snow and ice. It has lovely, small, dark green leaves and profuse clusters of tubular, cinnabar-red flowers that puff out in the center.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia iodantha

    (Scandent Mexican Sage) Here's another winter-blooming hummingbird magnet for gardens in mild climates. This one is scandent, which means it is a climber and needs support. Its abundant, purple-to-magenta flowers are velvety and 6 inches long.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia ionocalyx

    (Violet Calyx Sage) Here's another abundantly blooming sage from the cloud forest slopes of Chiapas, Mexico. Violet beelines mark the lower lip of the crimson blossoms, which are so numerous that it can be difficult to see the foliage at times.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia karwinskii

    (Karwinski's Sage) From moist mountain areas in Mexico and Central America, this rugged, winter-blooming shrub is found in oak or pine forests at altitudes of 4,000 to 8,000 feet. This may account for this winter bloomer producing a few bright red flowers during short periods of freezing weather with temperatures as low as 20 degrees F.

    10.50
     


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  • Salvia karwinskii 'Red Form'

    (Karwinski's Sage) From moist mountain areas in Mexico and Central America, this rugged, winter-blooming shrub is found in oak or pine forests at altitudes of 4,000 to 8,000 feet. This may account for this winter bloomer's ability to produce some bright, brick-red flowers even during short periods of freezing weather with temperatures as low as 20 degrees F.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia karwinskii 'Ted's 18 footer'

    (Giant Karwinski's Sage) San Francisco arborist and gardener extraordinaire Ted Kipping developed this tower of creamy pinkalicious power that hummingbirds love. It's lush with bright green leaves that are large, pebbly and hairy on the underside.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia lasiantha

    (Wooly Multicolor Sage) In Greek, "lasiantha" means "wooly flower." The flowers of Salvia lasiantha are surrounded by wooly bracts, but are even more notable for transforming from apricot-orange in the morning to reddish-purple later in the day.

    11.50
     


  • Salvia libanensis

    (Giant Colombian Red Mountain Sage) In 1898, physician and medical plant researcher Henry Hurd Rusby (1855-1940) found this towering sage with large, deep red flowers in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains of Colombia.

    15.00
     


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  • Salvia libanensis 'Pink Form'

    (Giant Colombian Pink Mountain Sage) In 1898, physician and medical plant researcher Henry Hurd Rusby (1855-1940) found the red-flowered variety of this towering species in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains of Colombia. This one has large, reddish-pink flowers.

    15.00
     


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  • Salvia littae

    (Litta's Purple Sage) From the cloud forests of Oaxaca, Mexico, comes this lovely shade-loving sage. Large, fuzzy, purple-pink flowers clusters bloom from late fall into early spring. We have received reports that this subshrub is hardy in Zone 8 if mulched.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia longistyla

    (Red Michoacán Sage) No other Salvia has flowers that are such a deep blood red. The 3-to-4 inch long tubular blossoms of this shade-loving shrub are displayed in clusters at the ends of the stems, which have light green, textured leaves that are almost round.

    10.50
     


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  • Salvia madrensis

    (Forysthia Sage)  This statuesque perennial grows up to 10 feet tall, but spreads only 3 feet wide. It is a late bloomer from Mexico's Sierra Madre Oriental mountains where it grows at altitudes of 4,000 to 5,000 feet and tolerates temperatures down to 20 degrees F.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia madrensis 'Red Neck Girl'

    (Red Stem Forsythia Sage) The thick, square, red stems of this variety of Forsythia Sage make it conspicuously different from the species and from everything else in your garden. Its jointed stalks look a little like rhubarb gone mad!

    11.50
     


  • Salvia madrensis 'Silver Leaf'

    (Silver Leaf Forysthia Sage) It's the foliage of this clone that makes it so different from its parent plant. The leaves are a lovely silver and smaller than the green leaves of the species. However, they both have buttery yellow, Forsythia-like blossoms.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia myriantha

    (Mexican Many Flowered Sage) Blooming from late summer into winter, this Mexican cloud-forest native has so many flowers that they are difficult to count. The deep violet blossoms develop distinct, white beelines after opening.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia oxyphora

    (Fuzzy Bolivian Sage) Large, bright and fuzzy, the cherry-licorice red flowers of this sage top what at first glance appears to be smooth, glassy green foliage. Up close, the large, lance-shaped leaves are velvety with clear-to-white hairs.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia raymondii ssp. mairanae

    (Bolivian Mountain Sage) Neon lilac-pink flowers light up the handsome, furry foliage of this distinctive sage from high in the Andes cloud forests. Its large, textured leaves have dark, velvety purple undersides. Unhappy in dry heat, this is a very showy plant for humid climates.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia rubescens

    (Venezuelan Red Sage) Purple stems and calyxes so dark that they almost look black contrast dramatically with the deep red-orange flowers of this South American beauty. This tall, spectacular sage has been in cultivation for decades but is still rare in gardens. We'd like to see that change.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia rubiginosa

    (Rosy Bract Sage) Sub-shrub salvias have both woody and soft, herbaceous growth. Rosy Bract Sage is a tidy, small leafed sub-shrub smothered with large clusters of 1/2-inch, violet-blue flowers and rosy red bracts. Its bracts deepen in color as the season proceeds.

    11.50
     


  • Salvia sagittata

    (Arrowleaf Sage) Brilliant royal blue flowers and unusual foliage attract the eye to Arrowleaf Sage. This large herbaceous perennial is found at elevations up to 10,500 feet in the Cordillera de los Andes of Chile, Ecuador and Peru.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia sp. from Smith College

    (Smith College Mystery Sage) This mysterious species came to us via Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.  We refer to it as "Mystery Sage" as the origins of this fine plant are unclear.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia sp. SL411

    (Mystery Peruvian Sage) Airy spikes of fuzzy, bright orange-red flowers and grassy green calyxes mark this Peruvian sage as a mystery worth pursuing. Little is certain about its parentage, according to Argentinian Salvia specialist Rolando Uria of the University of Buenos Aires and Salvias.com.ar.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia sphacelioides

    (Furry Colombian Sage) The leaves of this rare shrub are a glossy mid-green on top and fuzzy with hairs underneath, which is why it's commonly called Furry Colombian Sage.

    10.50
     


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  • Salvia subrotunda

    (Giant Brazilian Sage) Yes, this one is gigantic. The first season we grew this heat-tolerant sage, it reached 8 feet tall by July! Masses of small, red-orange, trumpet-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds and honeybees to long, upward curving flower spikes towering over heart-shaped foliage.

    8.50
     


  • Salvia tubiflora

    (Tubular Chilean Sage) Foggy days and moderate temperatures are the norm for this low-altitude, coastal mountain sage from northern Chile and Peru. It is grown as much for its handsome foliage as for the deep cranberry of its tiny, tubular flowers.

    10.50
     


    Special Order Plant
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  • Salvia univerticillata

    (Blood Red Mexican Sage) From summer into fall, the fuzzy, deep red flowers of Salvia univerticillata attract hummingbirds. This sage from Chiapas, Mexico, blooms well in sun or partial shade.
    11.50
     


  • Salvia urica

    (Blue Bush Sage) Furry, large and heavily textured, the mid-green leaves of Salvia urica contrast attractively with its violet-blue flowers that bloom spring into summer.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia vitiifolia

    (Grape Leaf Sage) Tall spikes of intensely blue flowers bloom summer to fall and emerge in profusion from handsome, furry foliage. The leaves are grape green on top and purplish on the bottom. This water-loving sage grows rapidly into a spreading mound.

    11.50
     


  • Salvia wagneriana

    (Wagner's Sage) From November to March, Wagner's Sage produces lavish, hot pink flowers with pink bracts at our Northern California coastal farm. It is is a superb source of food for the Anna's hummingbirds that live here during winter.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia wagneriana 'White Bracts'

    (Pink & White Wagner's Sage) Instead of pink, leaf-life bracts, this variety of Wagner's Sage has white bracts surrounding the hot pink flowers. It blooms from November to March on our coastal Northern California farm where it feeds Anna's hummingbirds all winter long.

    11.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Raspberry Truffle'

    (Raspberry Truffle Sage) Hybrid sages with Big Mexican Scarlet Sage parentage (Salvia gesnerifolia) tend to have thick clusters of large, deep purple flowers supported by bracts that are almost black.
    10.50
     




Additional Information

Cloud Forest Plants Entries
Take a Quick Look at a group of Salvias
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Reviews


Having recently received Cayman, I haven't yet seen it in bloom but am delighted to give a home to a plant that was on the brink of extinction. Since it may be short-lived, I'll keep it in a pot and try leaf cuttings in the winter. I like this com...
Ms. Robin Hoselton
Jun 3, 2017