Guaranitica Forms


Salvia guaranitica  is an upright herbaceous perennial 1.2-1.5mH with spikes of bright blue flowers in summer, for a sunny position,

Salvia 'Black & Blue' ( guaranitica)
S. ‘Black & Blue'( guaranitica)


Guaranitica  – ‘Blue Enigma ‘ has been used

‘Black n’ Blue’

‘Argentine Skies’

Salvia guaranitica

is one of the earliest Salvias we came across and like everything in the beginning , we collected, propagated and promoted everything we could get our hands on. We soon learnt about S. guaranitica the hard way – that it has tubers and will not only walk but run if the soil around it’s base is disturbed.

The only way we were going to grow it was in a bottomless pot where it wouldn’t escape. If it was planted in a garden and began to walk, then it had to be dug out and destroyed – all little bits will grow. It’s perfect for planting out large areas, but definitely not for a small garden.

The name ‘Blue Enigma’ was used for a time thinking that it was the same as the variety growing in the U.K., but the name was eventually dropped due to uncertainty.

‘Blue Enigma’

Growth habits

All guaranitica‘s have a tubers. – they are herbaceous ( going down for winter) – they have green, thin, hairy stems that are very rigidly upright, even when blown over, the new growth grows straight up. Growing to approx 1 – 1.2m H
The leaves have a thin texture with a certain type of veinage and are a good mid green.
Calyces are green, but can be slightly coloured blue. Flowers have a beautiful bright blue tubular corolla which contrasts  beautifully with the green of the calyx  or green leaves.
Flowers all face in one direction – not showing all around the flower stem.

 ‘Black n ‘ Blue’

This is a smaller variety, growing to approx  80cm- 1m
Leaves are a lovely shiny dark green and veins quite evident. It has the typical growth habit, of being very upright, but being smaller, seems more bushier than it’s parent.
Apart form producing tubers, this produces insidious roots that seem to travel very quickly in every direction.

Flowers are an intense blue, made more intense by the very dark blue/ black calyces.The flower heads are about the same size as the parent – this makes the flowers look wonderful – long flower heads on short stems – very appealing.

‘Argentine Skies’

‘Argentine Skies’ – A very interesting flower colour. Growing to normal height of 1 – 1.2mH, it has shiny lighter green leaves and green calyces, but produces a beautiful faded sky blue colour corolla – very fetching as a bank of colour.
The growth habit is the same as above.

Guaranitica  crosses

There are a number of crosses where S. guaranitica has crossed with ? to make the progeny perennialsuch crosses are :

‘Purple Majesty’

‘ Violet Eyes’

‘Purple Majesty’

A shrubby upright perennial plant, growing to approx 1.5m -2mH.
the  plant structure beginning to branch more freely than it’s parent. No tuber or insidious roots.
Calyx is a dark purple with white and green markings beneath.
The flower head is  the same size and shape as a guaranitica flower.
All the flowers face in one direction, – corolla is a dark purple/ violet.

– It has been suggested that guaranitica has crossed with S. gesneriiflora to produce the dark purple colouring in the calyx and the corolla.

Purple Majesty is often mistaken for ‘Black Knight’, but ‘Black knight is a large rounded shrub, whereas ‘Purple Majesty’ is an upright perennial . If ‘Black Knight is too large for your garden, then ‘Purple Majesty  may be an alternative.

‘Violet Eyes’

S. ‘Violet Eyes’
S. ‘Violet Eyes’

– A tall upright perennial plant 1.5 – 2mH, – taller than the parent.
– same or similar growth habit as parent.
– no tuber or insidious roots
– calyx is green
flower head is the same size and shape – all flowers face the same direction,
– corolla is a clear violet purple – beautiful contrast with the green calyx.

Again, guaranitica has crossed with a red Salvia to produce the beautiful violet flowers, but in this case guaranitica is the more dominant parent.

 Guaranitica’s ancestry

It has been suggested that guaranitica has crossed with a shrubby perennial Salvia – a larger blue or red Salvia to produce ‘Blue Tequila’ syn ‘Large form of guaranitica‘ – growing to 2mH

‘Tequila Blue’

guaranitica may be a direct parent or a grand parent of this plant.
– plant beginning to produce a shrubby appearance with lateral branches spreading out more.
– stems becoming woody, non hairy and although still narrow, wider than guaranitica
-leaves, a darker green, the same veination and thin texture but hairier with larger crenations along the edges.
-calyces are a mixture of green and dark blue
– corolla is a similar tubular intense blue/ mauve. The flower head is similar, but the flowers are appearing all the way around the stem

This is known as S. ‘Tequila Blue’   NOT guaranitica ‘Tequila Blue’. It is definitely not a guaranitica


‘Costa Rican Blue’

It is not known who the parents of ‘Costs Rican Blue’ are, but it has been suggested that ‘Tequila Blue’ may have been a parent or a grandparent

‘Tequila Blue’ x ? a larger blue or red Salvia- to produce the darkness of the calyx and the blue /hint of mauve corolla. What is out there that we don’t know about?

It has also been suggested that such a parent might have been S. gesneriiflora ‘Tequila’. There are a lot of similarities between the two.
– both are large shrubby plants
both produce very large woody stems, that don’t readily produce shoots at the base.
– both have developed a growth habit that twist and turn to avoid obstacles

– both have similar hairy green leaves, ‘Costa Rican Blue’ a little darker and slightly thinner in texture with wider crenulations along the edges.  gesneriiflora ‘Tequila’ has a slightly lighter mid green leaf and hairier, the veins are not as evident.
– both have a similar bud formation – drooping down before finally straightening out.
– both have similar sized tubular corollas, calyx shape and hairiness is similar
– both have very dark coloured hairs on the calyx to give each the distinctive, but similar colouring.
– both produce flowers all around the stem
– both flower on and off throughout the year, with the main flowering period being late winter
It is the habit of growth , the woody stems and the flower formation that give the clues. No other Salvia have these qualities in this manner, that we know of.
We will never know who has come from whom unless DNA tested, then we might be all very surprised.

Known only as ‘Costa Rican Blue’        NOT guaranitica ‘Costa Rican Blue’

guaranitica may have been a grand parent or a great grandparent, but is too far removed to be direct influence.