'May Night' Salvia

Savor the deep purple blooms of woodland sage.
Perennial Salvia And Oriental Poppy

May Night Salvia (Salvia nemerosa ‘Mainacht’)

For striking dark blue to deep purple flower spikes, tuck 'May Night' salvia into your garden. Plants grow to 24 inches tall; place them in the middle of a border for a strong show.

Photo by: PerennialResource.com


For striking dark blue to deep purple flower spikes, tuck 'May Night' salvia into your garden. Plants grow to 24 inches tall; place them in the middle of a border for a strong show.
Related To:

Color spring in shades of deep purple with the violet blooms of 'May Night' salvia. This salvia plant produces typical sage-type flowers: spikes of individual blossoms held high above leaves. Like other salvias, ‘May Night’ stages the best flower show in full sun.  

Botanically, ‘May Night’ salvia has a host of names, including Salvia nemorosa, or woodland sage, as well as Salvia x sylvestris ‘May Night’, Salvia ‘May Night’ and Salvia ‘Mainacht’. You may find plant tags with any or all of these names. ‘Mainacht’ is a clue to this salvia’s German heritage. The word translates directly as “May night.”  

The name of the plant, ‘May Night’, refers to the flower’s deep purple hue that resembles a spring nighttime sky. The flowers appear in late spring and linger into early summer. They’re a perfect pairing with peony flowers and roses, which also open in that timeframe. ‘May Night’ salvia also looks beautiful planted next to silver-leafed plants, such as lamb’s ears or Artemisia.  

‘May Night’ salvia is hardy in Zones 4 to 8. In mild winter regions, plants stay evergreen through winter, although leaves can look tattered and ratty by spring. Cut plants back in early spring to encourage fresh new growth. In colder zones, ‘May Night’ salvia dies back to the ground after repeated hard freezes. Mulch plant crowns in coldest areas. Watch for new growth to emerge in spring. 

This salvia, like others, is deer-resistant. ‘May Night’ salvia is a mint family member, but the leaves lack a traditional mint aroma. Instead, some gardeners describe the foliage aroma as either pleasant, but it depends on your nose. Flowers make nice additions to spring bouquets, but don’t include leafy stems unless you find the aroma pleasant.

Plants thrive in full sun or bright dappled shade, although stems may become somewhat lanky and floppy in lower light. Flopping stems can also be a problem when ‘May Night’ salvia is grown in places with high heat and humidity.  

‘May Night’ salvia grows 18 inches tall without flowers; add another 6 to 8 inches when plants are in bloom. Individual clumps spread 12 to 18 inches. Like other salvia plants, woodland sage tolerates dry, even rocky soil. ‘May Night’ salvia also tolerates heavy clay soil, but may succumb to root rot if soil stays saturated in winter.  

Bees and butterflies flock to ‘May Night’ salvia plants in bloom. Extend the flower show by snipping faded flowers at the base of the flower stalk. Smaller, newly forming buds may be visible. If so, cut just above these. Some gardeners prune woodland sage by hand; others use a string trimmer. After pruning, new flower spikes should appear in about a month. Prune plants again after those blooms fade, and get ready for some fall blossoms.

Next Up

Baby's Breath Plant Care

Learn more about this popular floral arrangement filler including how to grow it in your garden and how to use it in a variety of ways.

Heliotrope: Our Favorite Flowers

This perennial offers a double-whammy of pretty flowers and a heady, vanilla scent.

Western Columbine: Our Favorite Flowers

Add visual interest to your garden with this unique flower.


This popular low-maintenance flower attracts butterflies.

Common Coreopsis: How to Grow and Care for Coreopsis

This deer-resistant, long-blooming perennial flower — also known as tickseed — attracts butterflies, bees and birds.

Anise Sage

Deep blue flowers distinguish this hummingbird favorite.

Sea Holly: Our Favorite Flowers

Add an exotic look to your garden with these extraterrestrial looking flowers.

Growing Phlox Varieties

From garden phlox to creeping flox, learn how to plant, grow and care for this perennial charmer in your garden.

Swordleaf Inula

This delicate perennnial with daisy-like blooms is great as a perennial border.

African Lily: Our Favorite Flowers

Learn about this clumping evergreen that blooms in late summer or early fall.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.


Flip or Flop

7:30am | 6:30c

Flip or Flop

8:30am | 7:30c

Flip or Flop

9:30am | 8:30c

Flip or Flop

10am | 9c

Flip or Flop

10:30am | 9:30c

Flip or Flop

11am | 10c

Flip or Flop

11:30am | 10:30c

Flip or Flop

12pm | 11c

Flip or Flop

12:30pm | 11:30c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

Fixer Upper

9pm | 8c

Fixer Upper

12am | 11c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.

Related Pages