Problems with May Night Salvia: A Comprehensive Guide

Oliwia Urban 


May Night Salvia, also known as Meadow Sage or May night wood sage, is a popular and fast-growing perennial with stunning purple-blue flowers. In this guide, we will explore the common issues faced while growing and caring for May Night Salvia, along with valuable tips and techniques to ensure its successful growth. Whether you are a novice or experienced gardener, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge needed to cultivate beautiful May Night Salvia plants.

May Night Salvia Care

May Night Salvia requires proper care to ensure healthy growth and vibrant blooms. Here are the main care requirements for cultivating May Night Salvia:


May Night Salvia thrives in full sun conditions. It is recommended to plant it in a south-facing location, as it requires a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day.


Well-draining soil is crucial for the successful growth of May Night Salvia. To improve drainage, consider adding sand to the soil.


While May Night Salvia is drought-tolerant once established, young plants require a moderate amount of water. Water them approximately one inch per week, including rainfall. Once the plants are established, reduce watering to prevent overwatering.

Temperature and Humidity

May Night Salvia is best suited for USDA planting zones 4-8. Although it can withstand hot and dry weather, it does not thrive in high humidity conditions.


May Night Salvia is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal fertilizer. If you choose to fertilize, do so after the blooming season has ended.

Types of May Night Salvia

May Night Salvia offers various cultivars with unique characteristics. Here are some notable types of May Night Salvia:

  1. Salvia argentea: This cultivar features pretty silver leaves.
  2. Salvia divinorum: Known for its hallucinogenic properties, this type of salvia receives significant attention.
  3. Salvia splendens: With spike-like features and vibrant red flowers, this salvia cultivar adds a splash of color to any garden.


Pruning older May Night Salvia plants is essential to maintain their health and appearance. As the stems age, they can become woody and should be pruned accordingly.

Propagating May Night Salvia

May Night Salvia can be propagated through stem cuttings or by growing from seeds. Let’s explore both methods:

Stem Cuttings

  1. Use sharp and clean gardening shears to cut 2- to 8-inch long stem cuttings.
  2. Place the stems in clean water or moist soil in a seedling pot.
  3. Replant the cuttings when the roots reach approximately 3/4 inches in length.

Growing From Seeds

  1. Harvest seeds from spent blooms by rubbing them or manually extracting them from the pods.
  2. Directly sow the harvested seeds into the garden soil or start them indoors about three months before the late winter or early spring frost.
  3. Press a few seeds into seed starting mix in a pot and keep them moist.
  4. Seedlings will emerge within two to three weeks. Provide them with 16 hours of daily sunlight and eight hours of darkness using plant grow lights.
  5. Harden off the seedlings before transplanting them outdoors by gradually exposing them to the outdoor environment.
  6. Plant the seedlings in full sun, maintaining a spacing of one foot between each plant.

Growing May Night Salvia in Pots

May Night Salvia can thrive in containers, provided the pots are large enough to accommodate two to three years of growth. Use pots with proper drainage to prevent waterlogging, and add a gravel/mulch mixture to improve moisture retention. After a few years, consider dividing the salvia and repotting it into larger containers or directly planting it in the ground.


If you have planted May Night Salvia in containers and live outside the plant’s hardiness zones, bring them indoors during the winter months. For plants in the ground within the appropriate hardiness zones, remove dead foliage and apply a layer of mulch once the ground freezes. Remove the mulch in spring.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

May Night Salvia can face several pests and diseases. Here are some common ones and their remedies:

  • Scale insects, leafhoppers, spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies: Spray neem oil, an organic pest control product, to combat these pests effectively.
  • Fungal infections: Extended cool and wet weather can lead to fungal infections, such as stem and root rot, powdery mildew, and Botrytis blight. Ensure proper soil drainage and adequate air circulation to minimize the risk of fungal diseases.

Promoting Bloom in May Night Salvia

May Night Salvia typically blooms from May to June. Deadheading the spent flowers can encourage continuous blooming throughout the summer. Remove faded blooms either by hand or with clean garden shears. After deadheading, anticipate new blooms within a few weeks.

Common Problems With May Night Salvia

While May Night Salvia is relatively low-maintenance, there are two common issues to watch out for: legginess and leaf damage.

  • Legginess and Flopping Over: To prevent legginess, promote air circulation by cutting down or dividing the plant clumps. Ensure the plant receives sufficient sunlight and avoid overfertilizing.
  • Leaf Damage and Discoloration: Leaf damage can result from various feeding pests, including foliar nematodes, leafhoppers, scale insects, whiteflies, and spider mites. Treat these pests with appropriate measures such as neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil.


Q: Does May Night Salvia come back every year?
A: Yes, May Night Salvia is a perennial plant that returns each year.

Q: Where should I plant May Night Salvia?
A: Choose a sunny, well-draining spot in your garden bed, along a pathway, or on a hill. Avoid waterlogged soil, as it can cause the plant to die. May Night Salvia’s attractive flowers attract butterflies, hummingbirds, honey bees, and bumblebees while repelling deer and rabbits with its aroma.

Q: Does May Night Salvia bloom all summer?
A: May Night Salvia can bloom throughout the summer if you deadhead the faded flowers after the initial bloom.

Q: Should I cut back May Night Salvia?
A: After the second or late-season blooms have faded, refrain from deadheading to allow the plant to reseed itself. During dormancy, you can trim all stems down a couple of inches to encourage spring growth or leave the stems intact.

Q: What are some companion plants for May Night Salvia?
A: Consider planting companion perennial flowers that bloom from late May through summer, prefer full sun, and thrive in well-drained, slightly acidic to neutral soil. Some suitable options include daylilies, peonies, oriental poppies, and yarrow.

With proper care and attention, you can enjoy the vibrant and beautiful May Night Salvia in your garden.