‘Mainacht’ Wood Sage
Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’
Salvia nemorosa x Salvia pratensis
1996 Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit
1997 Perennial Plant Association Perennial Plant of the Year
Salvia x sylvestris L. is the correct and accepted scientific name of this cultivar. It was named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
I bought my first Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ from the discount rack at Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi in August 2012. The tag said Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’. I bought my second from a local Lowe’s a year after I moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in 2014. This cultivar is also marketed under the names Salvia x Superba ‘May Night’, Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’, Salvia sylvestris ‘May Night’.
Salvia x sylvestris is a sterile intraspecific hybrid cross believed to usually be between Salvia nemorosa x Salvia pratensis. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, some cultivars listed under Salvia x sylvestris have uncertain parentage and could be cultivars of one of the parents rather than being hybrids. It is also believed that hybrids under different names are actually synonymous with S. x sylvestris (S. x alpestris, S. x asperula, S. x collina, S. x superba).
Although the common name for Salvia x sylvestris is Wood Sage, a couple of species of Germander also have the same common name, Teucrium scorodonia and Teucrium canadense. Salvia x sylvestris is also commonly called Violet Sage, Meadow Sage, Balkan Cherry and probably others. There are MANY species of Salvia, some hybridize readily with their cousins, which allows for the overlapping of common names. It is weird how even some Latin names have the same meaning…
How about this: The specific epithet sylvestris in Latin means “of the woods or growing wild”. One of the parent’s name, S. nemorosa, in Latin means of “of the woods”. The other parent, S. pratensis, means “referring to or growing in meadows”… Kind of weird that when you research Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’ that it is called a Meadow Sage and when you research Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ it’s common name is Wood Sage. Check it out…
Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ is always among the first perennials to emerge in the spring. What a great way to begin the season!
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae (mint)
Zones: USDA Zones 4-8
Size: 1 1/5’-2’ tall x 1’-1 1/2’ wide
Flowers: deep violet-blue from May-June
Light: Full sun
Water: Medium to dry. Drought resistant.
Soil: average, dry to medium, well-drained
Maintenance: Low. Deadhead to encourage continual flowering and keep the plant tidy. Can cut back the summer progresses if the plants start to flop.
Uses: Perennial gardens, cottage gardens, butterfly gardens, cut flowers.
Propagation: Can propagate from softwood cuttings or division.
Salvia are among my favorite perennials and I try to buy as many different species and cultivars I can find locally. I really like plants with scented foliage. I have had this plant growing on the south side of the house for several years and it has not had any issues whatsoever. The clump has only gotten a little larger than when I first planted it. I think in 2018 I will try to take some softwood cuttings and see if I can start a few more.
Thank goodness the Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ returned. I had begun to wonder because we had some very cold days in January and the Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ had come up before the S. x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ which was always the first perennial to come up.
I hope you enjoyed this page as much as I have enjoyed this plant. More photos and information will be added to this page for as long as I am growing this plant as a companion. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please leave a “like” if you have visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading.