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 You are here    Flowers by the Sea / Categories / Salvias by Origin / South American Natives
South American Natives
South American Natives

Most of the Salvia species and varieties in the general nursery trade are from Mexico or the United States. Some of the Mexican species also are native to South America. However, the southern Western Hemisphere, similar to Mexico, is a land of varying climates. This makes South American species more adaptable to many parts of America.

Some South American species are well known in American gardens, including varieties of the ever-popular Salvia splendens. We offer some of the more dramatic and less common types. South America is also a source of exotic and high-altitude species. 

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(Purple Bract Peruvian Sage or Concolor Sage) Similar to its wild relative, Peruvian Sage, which is also known as Concolor Sage, this cultivar has foliage that is smooth, apple green on top and fuzzy with silver hairs on the bottom.  Major differences appear in the dramatic bracts.

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(Giant Bolivian Sage) Hailing from Peru and Bolivia, this tender specimen is found at altitudes of 9,000 feet in the wild. This multi-stemmed, woody-based, climbing Salvia needs support. Hummingbirds love its 5-inch-long, crimson flowers, which are the longest grown by any Salvia and flower from late summer through autumn.

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(Elk Blue Hard Leaf Sage) Soft baby blue & white flowers in abundance coupled with strong growth make this an ideal new variety for hummingbird gardeners. the specific epitaph, durifolia, means hard leaf.  We don't find the leaf exactly hard but it is lovely and durable.

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(Blue Ecuadorian Sage) A densely branched shrub with silvery leaves and dusky blue flowers, this rare species was once thought to be Salvia cruickshanksii. In the nursery trade, it sometimes is called Salvia 'Equador'.

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(Cundinamarca Sage) This Colombian Salvia is difficult to obtain outside of its home country. As far as we know, Flowers by the Sea is the first nursery to offer it in the United States.

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(Black & Blue Anise-Scented Sage)  Hummingbirds go crazy for this variety of Salvia guaranitica. The black calyxes contrast handsomely with the rich, royal blue flowers. We highly recommend the much improved Salvia BODACIOUS 'Rhythm and Blues' as an alternative to this older variety.

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(Green Calyx Anise-Scented Sage) An older variety, Blue Ensign continues to be widely popular, especially in colder climates. We love its stunning Cambridge blue flowers, bright green calyxes and the licorice-like scent of its foliage.
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(Elk Argentina Skies Anise-Scented Sage)  Developed at FBTS, this new introduction is superior to the old standby, 'Argentina Skies'.  Superior growth and earlier flowering make it a must-have choice for hummingbird gardeners.

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(Purple Haze Sage) The very best purple Anise Scented Sage, period - the result of years of careful breeding aimed at developing a reliable, free flowering and easy to grow variety suitable for growing countrywide.

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(Sapphire Blue Anise-Scented Sage) The large, sapphire blue flowers of this Anise-Scented Sage glow in the full-sun or partial-shade garden from summer into fall. Similar to Salvia guaranitica 'Blue Ensign', this is a somewhat taller variety of the water-loving species.

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(Van Remsen's Anise-Scented Sage) Big and beautiful, this Anise-Scented Sage grows up to 7 feet tall in rich soil and has lavender-to-purple flowers. In our garden, it blossoms from late spring to fall, attracting both honeybees and hummingbirds.

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(Prawn Sage) Although the common name for this flaming red, Andean sage is based on its flower's resemblance to a shrimp head, its scientific name goes back to the days of late 18th century Spanish exploration of the Americas.

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(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).

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(White Headed Sage) One of the most visually stunning members of the genus, this large growing, tender, winter blooming species from the mountains of Ecuador will turn every head with its furry white calyxes and brilliant magenta red flowers.

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(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.

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(Purple Leaf Tall Big Leaf Sage) Bright green on top, the long leaves of this distinctive sage are a dark, furry purple on the undersides. Like the more typical green form of Salvia macrophylla, this variety has cobalt blue flowers that seem to float in airy clusters on 12-inch-tall branching spikes.

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(Creeping Big Leaf Sage) Cobalt blue flowers float in airy clusters above the giant, velvety, green leaves of this South American native. Short and spreading by woody rhizomes, this is an ideal groundcover. As a bold statement in a container, it has no equal.

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(Tall Big Leaf Sage) Cobalt blue flowers seem to float in airy clusters on 12-inch-tall branching spikes above the bright green, velvety foliage of this South American native. Up to 5-feet tall, tidy and upright in habit, this sage makes a fine background or border planting when massed.

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(Straight Spike Sage) Covered with whorls of crimson flowers, this long-blooming, perennial sage has erect form. It matures into a tall, wide plant that is ideal for massing as a screen or at back of border.

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(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.

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(Bolivian Sage) From early Spring to first frost, brilliant scarlet flowers on spikes up to 18 inches long adorn this Bolivian native in USDA Zones 9 to 11. Even if you live in a zone with colder winters, Bolivian Sage is spectacular as a bedding plant. has been called Salvia coccinea on steroids due to its .  needs rich, well-drained soil and full sun - but will grow in a wide range of soil, water and light conditions.

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(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.

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(Bolivian Lace Leaf Sage)  A large decidious woody shrub, this is a distinctive and somewhat unique Salvia species.  The large clusters of deep blue flowers appear in the spring and again in the fall. A native from a tropical savanna climate in Bolivia, this species grows best in climates with year-round warmth.

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(Confused Argentine Sage) Similar in many ways to the indispensable garden favorites of the Anise Scented Sage (Salvia guaranitica spp.) group, this plant is a perfect companion for its better known cousin.

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