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.
(Ember's Wish Sage) Bright coral-colored, tubular blossoms contrast handsomely with the deep maroon stems, rusty rose calyxes and mid-green foliage of Ember's Wish Sage.
(Gayle Nielson Hybrid Sage) Whorl-like clusters of violet-blue flowers on slender stems as well as its height and width indicate that Gayle Nielson Hybrid Sage is related to some form of Salvia clevelandii.
(Kisses and Wishes Sage) Blooming over multiple seasons, Salvia ‘Kisses and Wishes’ bursts with long, luminous, rosy pink blossoms nestled in pink-to-gold bracts. It’s so pretty that it seems unfair to refer to the newest member of the Wish Sages as a “mutation.”
(Love and Wishes Sage) Deep purple calyxes support the magenta-purple, tubular blossoms of Salvia x 'Love and Wishes'. They contrast handsomely with dark stems and mid-green foliage.
(Magic Wand Sage) Salvia x ‘Magic Wand’ is perky with vertical spikes of long blooming, rich purple flowers and dense, mid-green foliage. Overall, it reminds us of Salvia x ‘Big Blue’, but has smaller flowers and usually doesn’t grow as tall.
(Margie Griffith Sage) Salvia x 'Margie Griffith' is a big, purple-flowered beauty with glossy green, ribbed foliage. It feeds hummingbirds year round down South and on our coastal, Northern California farm where winter temperatures are moderate.
(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.
(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.
(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).
(Purple Stem Sage) Deep purple stems and cobalt blue flowers with pronounced white beelines and dusky gray calyxes cause this sage to command attention.
(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').
(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.
(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.
(Wendy's Wish Sage) A new hybrid Salvia from Australia, Wendy's Wish is absolutely spectacular! Quick to bloom, compact and tidy in habit, we believe this to be one of the finest of all Salvia varieties.
(Envy Hybrid Sage) A natural hybrid found in Peru and Bolivia, the parentage of this special variety is at this point unknown. The uniquely colored flowers are abundant all season long, and the hummingbirds love it.
(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.