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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.


(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.

(Jean's Jewel Sage) An entirely new color in the Salvia guaranitica group, this chance hybrid with violet-pink blossoms was discovered by Kathleen Navarez at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. It is compact, freely flowering and spreads gently via rhizomes.

(John Whittlesey Sage) Hardy, vigorous and long blooming, John Whittlesey Sage is a hybrid of D'Arcy's Sage (Salvia darcyi) -- a native of Mexico -- and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla), which is native to the American Southwest and Mexico.

(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.

(Majestic Pink Sage) Very large richly colored hot pink blossoms and broad, glossy, intricately textured leaves are part of what makes Salvia x 'Majestic Pink' a standout. This is a complex hybrid involving several Salvia species from the ongoing breeding program at FBTS.

(Cherry Red Mountain Sage) This isn't just another red sage. Brilliant cherry-red flowers with dark purple bracts and cold weather tolerance to USDA Zone 6 make this a valuable landscaping plant.

(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.

(Mellow Yellow Sage) Yellow-flowering Salvias always command attention in the garden.   An intentional hybrid between the very rare and difficult to grow Salvia bulleyana and the energetic Salvia campanulata, this plant embodies the best characteristics of each parent.

(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.

(Mysty Sage) Salvia x ‘Mysty’ is a dwarf version of Mystic Spires Sage and is a dramatic border plant with dark green, corrugated leaves and long blooming flower spikes abundant with deep, violet-blue blossoms.

(Nuevo Leon Hybrid Sage) Imagine tiny, smooth, green leaves and deeper lavender-blue flowers than those of Salvia lycioides x greggii 'San Isidro'. With its midnight purple flowers, Nuevo Leon is a dramatic Salvia greggii hybrid.

(Penny's Smile Hybrid Sage) British Salvia aficionado Robin Middleton, of the indispensable Robin’s Salvias website, developed this lovely and hardy hybrid from a chance seedling he found near the Salvia ‘Silke’s Dream’ in his garden. Heavily textured and hot pink, the 1-inch-long flowers are bright as lipstick.

(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).

(Grey Musk Sage) Lavender flowered, this is a fast-growing, chance hybrid of California Blue Sage (Salvia clevelandii) and California Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla).

(Purple Stem Sage) Deep purple stems and cobalt blue flowers with pronounced white beelines and dusky gray calyxes cause this sage to command attention.

(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.
(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.
(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.

(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').

(Skyscraper Orange Sage) Brand new for 2018, this beautiful plant is compact, easy to grow in the shade and full of flowers all season long. They make outstanding container plants as well.
(Skyscraper Pink Sage) Brand new for 2018, this beautiful plant is compact, easy to grow in the shade and full of flowers all season long. They make outstanding container plants as well.

(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.

(White Flame Sage) Like bright white candle flames, the short vigorously upright flower spikes of petite Salvia x ‘White Flame’ light up flowerbeds.

(Auriculate Sage) Both Culinary Sage (Salvia officinalis) and Greek Sage (Salvia fruticosa) are grown in the spice trade as the Sage of commerce. As they are closely related and share much of the same range in the wild, hybrids between the two have been known to exist for a long while. These hybrids go by many names: Newe Ya'ar Sage & Silver Sage being two of the most common. The natural hybrid of these species is found on an island in Croatia, and the accepted name for it is Salvia x auriculata.