San Marcos Growers LogoSan Marcos Growers
New User
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
Nursery Closure
Search Utilities
Plant Database
Search Plant Name
Detail Search Avanced Search Go Button
Search by size, origins,
details, cultural needs
Website Search Search Website GO button
Search for any word
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


  for JUNE

Natives at San Marcos Growers
Succulents at San Marcos Growers
 Weather Station

Products > Salvia 'Marine Blue'
Salvia 'Marine Blue' - Marine Blue Sage
Image of Salvia 'Marine Blue'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Blue Violet
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [S. chamaedryoides 'Marine Blue', Hort.]
Parentage: (Salvia 'Indigo Blue' seedling)
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
Salvia 'Marine Blue' (Marine Blue Sage) - A fast growing evergreen (in mild climates) subshrub that has a dense mounding habit to 24 to 30 inches tall by 3 to 4 feet wide, mounding towards the middle with branches spreading out along the ground and slowly root suckering to become even wider. It has attractive and pleasantly aromatic small deltoid shaped gray green leaves that are about 3/4 inch long with a quilted texture and gray from a dense mat of white hairs below. Half inch wide dark violet-blue two-lipped flowers appear year-round in our mild climate but are in greatest abundance from late spring through fall. These flowers on short delicate upright leafless stems 4 to 6 inches long are nicely displayed against the grayish leaves. These leaves can drop in cool weather making the plant semi-evergreen in cold years.

Plant in full to part sun along the coast in a well-draining soil and irrigate only occasionally to infrequently - tolerates and thrives in summer dry conditions in cool coastal gardens but better with part sun to light shade and more occasional irrigation in hotter inland locations. It is evergreen in mild climates and most note it hardy to 20°F but has been known to freeze to the ground in longer duration temperatures around 25°F and then resprout and flower later in spring the same year. Some report it tolerant of near coastal conditions and that it seems to resist predation by deer. Shear after bloom to neaten up by removing the old flower stalks, which will also induce re-bloom and make for a denser plant. This is a great plant for use as a small-scale ground cover, front of a border or container planting in dry or occasionally irrigated gardens and is great for attracting hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. It is a bit brittle so should not be planted near where people or pets regularly tread.

This plant is somewhat similar to Salvia chamaedryoides but with leaves that have a broader shape, are about twice the size and greener with a more textured upper surface - really the main similarity is only that they both have blue flowers and a somewhat similar aroma when the leaves are crushed. The flowers of 'Marine Blue' are also about the same size as those of Salvia chamaedryoides, but are a deeper color and with more flowers per whorl and more whorls to the taller peduncle inflorescence than typical Salvia chamaedryoides.

As noted by the plantings at UC Davis, 'Marine Blue' tends to grow better in inland valleys than Salvia chamaedryoides. It is planted the UC Davis campus along Old Davis Road and in the UC Davis arboretum’s Ruth Risdon Storer Valley-Wise Garden.

Thought this plant seems to really have few affinities to the Chihuahuan desert Germander Sage, Salvia chamaedryoides, it is often listed to be a cultivar or hybrid of this species, which we think is incorrect as it is different in more ways than it is similar and, uniquely, it is known to come true from seed, which would suggest it might be a species in its own right. 'Marine Blue' seems to have come into cultivation in the early 2000s in California at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. It was originally named by Australian Salvia specialist Sue Templeton, who sent seed of it to Salvia specialist and author Betsy Clebsch and Ginny Hunt of Seedhunt in 1997. Sue had received her original seed from a fellow Australian who claims to have collected it in 1995 from a plant called Salvia 'Indigo Blue' that was growing at Quail Botanic Garden (now the San Diego Botanic Garden). The San Diego Botanic Garden does not have record of Salvia 'Indigo Blue' in their garden and this plant itself is a bit of an enigma, mysteriously appearing in the California nursery trade in the 1990s and listed by nurseries such as Buena Creek Garden, Native Sons and Suncrest Nurseries, but to this day its origin is unknown. Steve Brigham's Buena Creek Gardens, located not far from the San Diego Botanic Garden would have been a likely source of Salvia 'Indigo Blue' but at this point this seems to be speculation as there are no records of this. Adding to the confusion, Salvia 'Marine Blue' apparently is also sold in Australia under the name 'Indigo Blue'. We would greatly appreciate hearing for anyone with any additional clues as to the origin of Salvia 'Indigo Blue'. Our first plant of 'Marine Blue' came from Kermit Carter of Flowers By The Sea nursery in Elk, California and we have grown it continually since 2017. 

This information about Salvia 'Marine Blue' displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.