Salvia "May Night", an easy to grow perennial

I found salvia May Night (salvia nemorosa 'Mainacht') particularly beautiful growing along with yellow moonbeam coreopsis and purple coneflower. May Night salvia is a mid-height (about 18 inches in my yard, but according to the Perennial Plant Association, the plant can reach 2 1/2 feet in height) perennial that presents spikes of blooms from around May to October. With its deep blue-violet color, salvia May Night is perfectly suited to go along with the shorter coreopsis and taller coneflower. Salvia May Night is appealing to bees and butterflies. When standing real close to salvia, you can detect its unpleasant fragrance. My flowers get watered the same time the yard does, but in the event there's a delay in watering, salvia can handle the dryness, and the heat for that matter, making it a great sunny location plant. In 1997, salvia May Night was named perennial plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association.

Planting Salvia

Salvia can be planted in a pot or in your garden, and from seed or from a pot. Select your location for planting, which should be in full sun in zones 4a-9b according. In time, the plant can spread 18-24 inches, so allow at least 12 inches between the salvia and other plantings in your garden.

Seed can be sown indoors in late winter for transplanting, or you wait until spring to seed outdoors. If planting from a pot, they can be added to your garden at the same time the plants were made available to you (from a catalog purchase or local nursery). Dig the hole slightly wider and deep enough to allow the removed potted plant to sit level with the ground. If the potted plant is root bound, loosen the bottom of the plant before placing in the ground. A thin level of mulch can be added.

Caring for Salvia

Routine deadheading will keep salvia blooming all through the summer. With salvia, it's easier to use clippers or scissors to snip of the spent blossoms. You can leave the clipped deadheads in the garden where they will be barely visible. And depending on when you deadheaded, the blooms may have already seeded, providing new growth for next season. Click here to learn more about deadheading.
Large plants should be divided in the spring. To do that, first dig the hole where you want to plant the division. Next, dig out the saliva by cutting at least six inches out from the base, all the way around. Salvia tends to root deep, so you will probably have a very large root ball. Cut the ball into two sections, discarding any noticeable dead areas, and then replant. If you want to move a salvia plant, fall is a good time to do that. Cut them back first though. Water the transplants well and keep them moist for a couple of weeks. The plant may look sulky, but should perk up as it sets roots. Click here to learn more about dividing perennials.