Need to move Salvia 'May Night'

blackie57(z5 NY Broome Co)August 9, 2006

I posted this over on the salvia forum, but I guess it doesn't get the visits that the Perennial forum does.

I am looking to move 4 of my Salvia "May Night" plants next spring due to the fact that the ornamental grasses they are planted next too has gotten bigger than I anticipated and I want to bring them forward in the bed a few feet to get them more sunlight. First, is next spring the correct time to do this ? Second, is there anything specific I need to know before I start digging ? I have heard that May Night can be tempermental when moved, so I'm planning on taking a big a rootball as I can. These clumps are probibly 5-6 years old and somewhat established. Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated, as I do not want to lose these clumps. Here's a photo taken a few weeks ago showing how they are starting to get swallowed up by the grass. The same scenerio exists on the other side of the bed, as I have it planted pretty symetrical.


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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

You can really move them now or up to a a couple of weeks after labor day....water well before you move them, cut them back to about 4 inches, take a big rootball have the new hole dug before you dig them out....and just plop into the new hole and keep well watered for for a couple of weeks and they will be fine.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 1:09PM
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Hi Blackie,

I moved one in the spring and it sulked for a while (in fact, I thought it was dying) but pulled through. I would follow Linda's advice, but I wonder if spring would be a better time? I am thinking so because I looked in Tracy DiSabato-Aust's book and she says any dividing of these should be done in spring. Transplanting is sort of like dividing (except even more stressful for the plant, I would think).

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 5:24PM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

I tried to move my 'May Night' at one point, and discovered that it had a LARGE DEEP root ball. I manhandled it out of the ground and transplanted it. The transplant has sulked ever since; the original resprouted from a large leftover root and is husky as ever. So, my advice is water it well, cut it back, and dig deep when you move it.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 7:58AM
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blackie57(z5 NY Broome Co)

Thanks for all the help, this is truely the place to go with questions. laurelin, how many years had your plants been in that one place ?? These have been there for a little while... I believe I will wait until next spring, to give them the whole year in their new place to get re-established. Thanks again for all your help !!! I love these plants, possibly my favorites...


    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 10:10AM
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pam_whitbyon(6 Niagara)

Blackie, thanks so much for turning me into a lover of grasses with your pics over the years! They have really influenced me - I bought two autumn light and one morning light this year and hoping one day they'll look like yours!

What a gorgeous pic that is above. Reminds me a little bit of the cover of Burrell's book, Perennial Combinations.

Good luck with the transplanting!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 10:21AM
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blackie57(z5 NY Broome Co)

Thanks Pam !!! That DOES make me feel good that my modest garden inspired someone. Grasses are no puzzle, just plop them in the ground and watch them grow !!! As my buddy Jake says over in the "Ornamental Grass" forum, they are the "Man's Perrenial"... Cut em down, grab a beverage, and watch them grow..." No fuss, no muss...

...and NO offense ladies...


    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 11:03AM
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tinamcg(Z5b Kansas City)

I've had May Nights for many years, and here is what I would do. In early September when they're looking ratty (well, mine do at that time!), cut them back so they look neat and tidy. Then move them and keep watered well so they can get established before winter. I think they'll take off and be good and large next year that way.

Whenever I've moved May Nights in the spring, they pout. They stay pretty small almost all season. I would definitely give them a running start on next year and move them in late summer or early fall. This is a perennial that blooms pretty early, hence the name May Night. It's sending up buds really early in the season, and plants prefer not to move when they're getting ready to flower.

Tina McG

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 4:10PM
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blackie57(z5 NY Broome Co)

Hmmmmm thanks Tina. That's a good point about moving them this year as opposed to next, and one I hadn't considered. I believe I will move them this year as opposed to bext. They have pretty much finished their second bloom now (in fact I was going to deadhead them tonight), so maybe I will just water them good tonight, cut them back as you say and move them this weekend. That will give them ample time to recover before winter comes.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 8:47AM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)


My 'May Night' had been in place for at least two years, so it was well-established when I tried to move it. Mine doesn't get any TLC at all, so I'm amazed that it's still going (dry sun by the house foundation). I think Tina may be right about moving them in the fall so they get a start on the next season.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 12:51PM
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blackswamp_girl(6a NEOhio)

Blackie, why don't you move some this fall and the rest in the spring? That way you're hedging your beds, and you can also report back to us on which way worked best... just a thought from someone who admittedly loves an experiment!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 1:17PM
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blackie57(z5 NY Broome Co)

Hm since there ARE two on each sied, I could move two now and two next spring and see which are better.....sounds like a plan

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 1:45PM
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blackie57(z5 NY Broome Co)

OK, I cut the plants back two days ago, watered them well and moved the plants yesterday. They seem to be doing just fine. Dug a pretty big rootball around each one and I'll keep them watered well and see how they respond. Hopefully they will do just fine and get a good foothold before the cold weather sets in.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 11:42AM
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megan_anne(TX U.S. z8a)

Sorry to "necro" this old thread. I was searching for images of 'May Night' Salvia to show a co-worker and I had to stop by. I post more on the Butterfly Garden forum and I happen to have 'May Night' in my butterfly garden. It's a huge hit with the BF's and I'm planning to get some more for a new bed in front of my house. I have it both in raised beds and in pots, and it has done beautifully in North Texas. We had a historic drought which FINALLY appears to be easing a bit, followed by a somewhat cooler winter than we'd had recently and every one of those Salvia has come back. The pots are in full glorious bloom and have seen several butterfly visitors already.

Here is one of the potted plants with a visitor from last summer. The flower color appears lighter because of the lighting and the very hot, dry conditions but the plants were just basking in it. They were thriving, even with the lighter flowers! The red and yellow companion flowers are Firewheel, a.k.a. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia sp.), which is a Texas native. There are also fiery orange Marigolds in the left corner of the picture.

This has been a WONDERFUL plant in my garden!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 8:47PM
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I think these plants are a lot tougher than you think. I just dug up mine, chopped the root ball into several smaller pieces and replanted them. I looks fine.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 5:33PM
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I moved mine this spring from a protected, partial sun area where they had been growing for three years, to a windy, full sun garden. They sulked for a little over a week, but I made sure that they had some shade during that time. They seem to be very healthy now.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 6:16PM
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