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Interspecific Salvias
Interspecific Salvias

Hybridization often occurs naturally between different Salvia species, especially when they are closely related and share similar needs for sun, soil, and water. Interspecific hybridization is the term used when different species cross. For instance, White Sage (Salvia apiana) is well known for crossing in the wild of California's chaparral lands with Cleveland Sage (S. clevelandii) and Black Sage (S. mellifera). Well-known examples of these drought-resistant crosses include S. x clevelandii 'Vicki Romo' and S. x 'Starlight' (a cross with Black Sage). When used in the manner exemplified by these botanical names, the letter "x" indicates an interspecific cross.

Plant breeding programs also produce interspecific hybrids. Whenever you see the "x" plus "Elk" in one of our plant names, you know that we developed the plant at Flowers by the Sea. Sometimes we get lucky and discover a natural hybrid in our greenhouses or test fields. More often, the "Elk" tag indicates a plant we produced through endless hours and many seasons of experimentation. Some Salvias, such as the Southwestern species Autumn Sage (S. greggii) and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla) are so closely related that they cross frequently. The botanical name for their main type of interspecific cross is S. x jamensis (Jame Sage). We grow so many Jame Sages, including our Elk Rainbow Series, that they form a subcategory of their own in the Special Salvia Groups category of our catalog.

It's common for interspecific hybrids to be infertile plants that require propagation by cuttings taken from parent plants. Also, not all crosses are equally strong or attractive. At FBTS we only offer you ones we consider to be beautiful, unique, and vigorous.


(Indigo Spires Sage) Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ gains its name from long spikes of rich, deep purple-blue flowers that stand tall and also arch and twist gracefully. It is a chance hybrid discovered  growing amid Salvia farinacea and Salvia longispicata at Southern California's Huntington Gardens.

(Pacific Blue Sage) Whorls of deep lavender-blue flowers contrast brightly against the dark maroon stems of this likely hybrid of Salvia brandegeei and Salvia munzii.

(Marine Blue Sage) The name and origin of this fine cultivar has long been in dispute. It may be a clone or hybrid of the Mexican plant Salvia chamaedryoides var.isochroma. It is one of the prettiest, strongest sages we grow.

(Elk Magenta Hybrid Sage)  Combining the best characteristics of both parents, this robust, large leafed hybrid has deep magenta and white flowers that delight hummingbirds.

(Roman Red Sage) This handsome, long blooming hybrid sage features a dramatic combination of scarlet flowers and deep rust-to-merlot calyxes. Deadheading spent blossoms prolongs bloom time.

(Fashion Burgundy Sage) Pendulous deep burgundy blossoms and dark bracts attract the eye to Salvia Fashion Burgundy™. Although similar looking to an Australian Wish Sages, it is more compact than the Wishes or the Skyscraper series.

(Fashion Cherry Sage) Pendulous cherry-red blossoms and dark bracts make Salvia Fashion Cherry™ an eyecatcher. Although it looks like an Australian Wish Sage, it’s a cross between North and South American species.

(Cabrillo Giant Yellow Sage) Large apricot-yellow flowers are an attraction of this cross between two Mexican species -- Salvia madrensis (Forsythia Sage) and the volcanic sage Salvia gesneriiflora (Mexican Scarlet Sage).

(Alice's Sage) We have John Fisher of Australia to thank for this fascinating intraspecific cross, which he named after his daughter. It really looks to be intermediate between the parents, and the fragrance of the leaves is divine.

(Brent's Fall Hybrid Sage) Although hybrids involving Salvia gregii (Autumn Sage) are common, but this one is exceptionally tall, attractive and long blooming. Its other parent is the tall, tubular-flowered Roseleaf Sage.
(Raspberry Royale Sage) Honeybees and hummingbirds love this sage, which stands out for its compact habit and large raspberry-pink flowers. Richard Dufresne developed this hardy hybrid that does well in full sun or partial shade and blooms spring through fall.

(Gray Roseleaf Sage) The University of California at Berkeley developed this hybrid from Karwinskii's Sage (Salvia karwinskii) and a variety of Roseleaf Sage (Salvia involucrata v. puberula) collected in Mexico by North Carolina nurseryman Richard Dufresne.

(Saint Isidro's Sage) This hardy, lavender-blue-flowered Salvia comes from Southern Texas and has the same breeding as the famous Ultra Violet Autumn Sage. Although it needs warmer winter temperatures and has smaller foliage, it also does well in stressful conditions, including drought.

(Byron's Mexican Sage) One of our favorite Mexican Sages, this large variety is reputed to be a hybrid between Salvia mexicana and S. hispanica -- a species of Chia Sage.

(Shangri-la Sage) Take a close look at Salvia moorcroftiana x indica ‘Shangri-la’ and you’ll notice that its lavender flowers have lighter lower lips with deep purple freckles.

(Rosebud Hybrid Sage) Cloud forest natives from Southern Mexico often have lush blossoms. That's true of the magenta pink flowers of Salvia puberula x univerticillata, which bloom from fall into winter.

(Hybrid River Sage) This beautiful new plant is a FBTS hybrid between to rare South American species.  In growth and flower it is intermediate between the parents, and fast growing because of it's hybrid vigor.

(SALLYFUN™ Blue Lagoon Sage) You can expect early and long bloom from SALLYFUN™ ‘Blue Lagoon', a dwarf border sage with dense, aromatic foliage. Its spikes of deep violet-blue flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

(Dark Pink Joy Sage) Salvia x 'Alegría Dark Pink' is one of the most vigorous new plants at Flowers by the Sea.  It is a South American introduction from Roland Uria, an agronomy professor and plant researcher from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. This select clone is a deep burgundy pink shade.

(Light Pink Joy Sage) Salvia x 'Alegr­a Light Pink' is one of the most vigorous new plants at Flowers by the Sea.  It is a South American introduction from Roland Uria, an agronomy professor and plant researcher from Buenos Aires, Argentina. This select clone is a soft light pink shade.

(Anthony Parker Bush Sage) Floriferous spikes of dark blue to purple flowers bloom midsummer to fall on this tidy, mid-height subshrub that grows as wide as it is tall.

(Bee's Bliss Sage) If you are looking for a California native sage to use as a groundcover, Bee's Bliss is a fine choice. Low-growing, widespreading and colorful, it is ideal for choking weeds.

(Betsy's Choice Sage) Life and botany have their beautiful mysteries. Betsy's Choice Sage is one of them. We aren't certain of the parentage or history of this tall, attractive, fast-growing sage. However, we are certain that we love its long, royal purple flowers. Hummingbirds do as well.

(Big Swing Sage) With its large, cobalt blue flowers displayed on strong, wiry, branched stems, this eye-catching sage wins the FBTS "best of class" designation for being our top Salvia macrophylla.

(Calamity Jane Sage) A super tough shrub with white to pale lavender flowers, this sage is named for Martha Jane Canary (1852-1903), better known as the sharpshooting frontierswoman Calamity Jane of Missouri.

(Celestial Blue Sage) Fast growing and adaptable, this sage is a chance hybrid between Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii) -- also called California Blue Sage -- and California Rose Sage (Salvia pachyphylla). It may also be related to California Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla).

(Christine Yeo Sage) A chance hybrid of two Mexican sages --Salvia microphylla and S. chamaedryoides -- Christine Yeo Sage is long blooming and features deep purple flowers with white eyes.

(Elk Blue Note Sage) In Europe and Australia there is a popular and widely used seed grown Salvia variety called 'Blue Note'. Our offering, 'Elk Blue Note', is the result of several generations of careful breeding and selection.

(Elk Orange Spires Sage) Similar in habit to the popular 'Scarlet Spires', this new variety from FBTS has large bright orange flowers that are irresistible to hummingbirds. It is more compact and floriferous than 'Scarlet Spires' as well.

(Elk Pink Cloud Jame Sage II) Abounding with clusters of large, soft pink flowers on spreading branches, Salvia x ‘Elk Pink Cloud II’ looks like a fluffy, cumulonimbus cloud.