Salvia 'May Night' chosen as 1997 Perennial Plant of the Year - Indiana Yard and Garden - Purdue Consumer Horticulture

Salvia ‘May Night’ chosen as 1997 Perennial Plant of the Year

The Perennial Plant Association has selected Salvia x superba ‘May Night’ (‘Mainight’) as its 1997 Perennial Plant of the Year. Members of the association, generally professional plant growers, select a perennial each year on which to educate the gardening public and to promote planting of perennial flowers.

Perennial salvia, also known as sage, is available in several cultivars, grown for the summer show of violet-purple spikes of bloom on plants that reach 2 to 3 feet tall. The cultivar May Night is distinguished by having dark violet-blue flower spikes on a more dwarf plant, reaching about 18 to 24 inches tall.

Although not a new cultivar, the Perennial Plant Association selected ‘May Night’ to promote to the American gardening public. Long a popular cultivar in Europe, many American nurseries and garden centers now carry this outstanding plant. ‘May Night’ was introduced as ‘Mainight’ by the German horticulturist Karl Foerster in 1956.

Salvia is easy to grow in average garden conditions, but it does perform best in full sun with moist, well-drained soil. While it will tolerate hot, dry spells, cooler temperatures will help prolong the intense, dark violet-blue color.

Salvia is also easy to propagate through stem cuttings or by division of an established plant. Take cuttings from young spring growth, before the plant begins to flower. The best time to divide is in early spring, before new growth begins. The divided clumps may be a bit slow to re-establish new root systems, so be prepared to pamper the newly set plants through the summer.

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