Interspecific Hybrids
Interspecific Hybrids

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.

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(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.

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(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.

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(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.

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(Variegated Anise-Scented Sage) Rumpled and lance-shaped, the spectacular leaves of this sage are yellowish-lime with splotches of emerald. Rub them and you smell anise, a licorice-like scent. The bountiful, cobalt blue flowers cover the plant from summer into fall.
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(Purple Majesty Sage) This exceedingly long blooming herbaceous perennial is a cross between Salvia guaranitica spp (Anise-Scented Sage) and Salvia gesneriiflora (Mexican Scarlet Sage).

We highly recommend the much improved Salvia guaranitica 'Purple Haze' as an alternative to this older variety.

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(Scarlet Spires Sage) This is a brilliant cross between the sturdy D'Arcy's Sage (Salvia darcyi) and the beautifully colored 'Raspberry Delight' Littleleaf Sage (Salvia microphylla 'Raspberry Delight').

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(Waverly Sage) A pale pink to lavender blush adds delicate color to the white flowers of Waverly Sage, which are supported by plum-colored calyxes. Its mid-green leaves are lance shaped and veined.

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(Jean's Purple Sage) If you are looking for a deep purple perennial for accenting an entryway or back of border in flower beds, Jean's Purple Passion may be the right choice. 

We highly recommend the much improved Salvia guaranitica 'Purple Haze' as an alternative to this older variety.

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(Mulberry Jam Roseleaf Sage) Magenta flower buds burst into fuzzy, hot pink blossoms in this hybrid sage from the gardens of Betsy Clebsch, author of The New Book of Salvias.

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(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.

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(Costa Rica Blue Sage) Although this handsome plant is often listed as an Anise Leaf Sage (Salvia guaranitica), we think it is a hybrid based on differences in its growth pattern and flowering season.

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(Phyllis' Fancy Sage) The parentage of this lavender-flowered hybrid sage is unknown. However, it may be a cross between Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) and Chiapas Sage (S. chiapensis).

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(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.

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(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.

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(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.
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(Grey Musk Sage) Lavender flowered, this is a fast-growing, chance hybrid of California Blue Sage (Salvia clevelandii) and California Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla).
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(Savannah Blue African Sage) Two South African sages are the parents of this stunning hybrid with large, sky-blue flowers and densely branching, attractively cut foliage. Tough and adaptable, this dry garden plant grows in full sun or partial shade.
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(Purple Stem Sage) Deep purple stems and cobalt blue flowers with pronounced white beelines and dusky gray calyxes cause this sage to command attention.

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(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.
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(Sally Greenwood Sage) Sally Greenwood's small gray-green leaves are a striking backdrop for the complicated, velvety royal purple of its abundant flowers overlaid with a blue sheen. It's an unusual sage both in color and its tight, mounding habit.
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(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.
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(Mister Jules Hybrid Sage) Long, dark, velvety stems contrast dramatically with the deep red flowers of this hybrid, spreading sage from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Arboretum. The parent plants are Mexican Winter Sage (S. holwayi) -- a superior, spreading groundcover or sprawling shrub -- and Cardinal Sage (S. fulgens), which is an upright shrub with large, deep red flowers.

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(Starlight Sage) Add sparkle to your dry garden with the pale pastel flowers of this hybrid of two Southern California native plants often seen growing together in the wild — Black Sage (Salvia mellifera) and White Sage (Salvia apiana). Salvia x 'Starlight' is a shrub that blooms early and long, attracting honeybees but not deer.

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(Ultra Violet Hybrid Sage) Hardy is a word bandied about by gardeners and nurserymen. Its use is often exaggerated. But this fine hybrid deserves to be called "the hardiest Autumn Sage." It's Zone-5 hardy, drought resistant and has lovely, soft purple flowers. Ultra Violet is a winner.

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