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May Night Wood Sage
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So easy, yet so satisfying! May Night Salvia is a cinch to grow, and it will reward a modicum of care with months of beautiful blue blooms. This largely self-sufficient Spirit gets by happily on little supplemental water once it’s established. Spikes of intense cobalt-blue flowers begin in May (hence the name), often continuing throughout the entire growing season—especially if spent flower spikes are removed. May Night looks fabulous planted in drifts, and it’s a wonderful companion to Roses. Its soothing blue color complements their warm red, pink, orange, peach, or yellow tones.
This species of Salvia, or Meadow Sage, is a wildflower that ranges from eastern Europe to western Siberia; it favors cool-summer climates. Meadow Sage grows most abundantly in sunny, dry meadows and forest edges in its homelands. Deer and other browsers avoid it because of the pungent smell of its leaves when crushed; it’s a member of the fragrant Mint family and is long-lived. May Night Meadow Sage is a classic. It originated in 1956 in Germany at the nursery of the famous plantsman, Karl Foerster, who is best known for Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass. You may also find it under its German name, ‘Mainacht’.
Each year since 1991, the Perennial Plant Association chooses one Spirit as its “Perennial Plant of the Year.” Winners must be attractive in multiple seasons, adaptable, low-maintenance, and resistant to pests and diseases. May Night Salvia took the honors in 1997.
How to Grow
Give May Night Salvia a position in all-day sun for maximum flower power. The soil should be free-draining and lean. Rich soil encourages floppy growth. Water regularly during establishment; less moisture will be needed in succeeding years. Deadhead (prune out spent flower spikes) to keep plants looking thrifty and to encourage new flower buds to form. Plants will often bloom until frost. Cut back old stems and foliage before new growth resumes in spring. May Night Salvia rarely needs dividing and may be left in place for many years.
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