Sage, how to plant and grow it best

Growing sage

Sage is a plant to grow as a perennial, annual, biennial, and for landscaping, too.

Simple Sage facts

Name – Salvia officinalis
Family – Lamiaceae
Type – perennial or annual

Height – 12 to 48 in (30 to 120 cm)
Exposure – full sun

Soil: light, well-drained – Blooming: end of spring → fall – Harvest: year round

There are a great many species of Salvia, over 900. Here is a focus on growing medicinal sage, the most common variety that grows in temperate climates.

Planting sage

How to plant sageYou can plant sage starting in October and all the way to May-June, keeping a distance of 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) between plants.

Avoid planting sage in the summer during heat waves, the temperature would stress the plant and it might not take off after that.

  • Sage likes full sun but it also tolerates part sun.
  • It appreciates well drained soil, even poor.
  • Being planted in the sun is when sage is at its best in terms of flavor.

If sowing from seed, sow annual sage during the month of March in a sheltered place.

  • In any case, select a full sun location.

Watering and caring for sage

Watering sageSage, if properly settled in, only requires little care and attention.

This plant copes well with having a lot of sun, but must be watered in case of elevated temperatures.

If growing it in pots, don’t wait for the soil to be completely dry before watering again; simply water often but in moderate amounts.

To sum it up, sage is a plant that is easy to grow and care for, and is perfect for all gardeners, from the beginner to the expert.

Harvesting sage

Sage propagationSage can be harvested all year round depending on your needs, but the growth or vegetation phase is when leaves and flowers are most interesting in terms of flavor.

Sage is best collected in the morning during the vegetation phase, from spring up to the end of summer, but it is still fine when collected in the later hours of the day.

Wait for the plant to have grown quite a bunch of leaves before harvesting for the first time. Keep a few stems to propagate it through cuttings.

Dried sage leaves keep very well, they can last several months.

Sage diseases

Very well defended against most diseases, sage actually is more of a repellent against certain kinds of insects and diseases that usually attack plants in the vegetable patch, such as the “large white” butterfly.

Sage is also said to be a great rodent repellent.

  • The smell of sage pervades the vegetable patch and makes pests and parasites leave.
  • It tends to fend off flea beetles which would otherwise attack turnip, for example.
  • Its smell also disturbs slugs and snails.
  • It also is effective against cabbage fly and downy mildew on potatoes (3.5 oz (100 g) leaves for one quart/litre water, spray).

Interesting sage varieties

Sage varietiesThere are many different medicinal sage varieties but they’re all grown the same way and share the same health benefits.

Here is a short, incomplete list of interesting varieties to grow in your garden.

Salvia icterina – leaves mottled with yellow.

Salvia tricolor – leaves are purple, green and white.

Salvia purpurea – leaves are purple.

There are other edible sage varieties, too, like the clary sage (Salvia sclarea) which is full of flavor, often paired with meat. Its fragrance is sometimes used to make perfume.

All there is to know about sage

Medicinal sageThere are very many sage species and varieties, and all differ in shape and color.

The name “Sage” comes from the Latin root salvia (to save) and the plant is known for its medicinal properties and its fragrant foliage.

Indeed, medicinal sage offers numerous therapeutic properties, such as being diuretic and tonic. These properties have been known to us since the Middle Ages, when the leaves and flowers were used in infusions and decoctions.

SageAlso very ornamental and simply of a high value as a spice, this plant is also used simply to decorate the garden and cook delicious flavorful meals.

The flowers that are most often seen are lavender blue in color, but some varieties and species boast flowers of different hues.

These plants are great either in a flower bed or along edges, in a rocky pile or sand patch, and even fit right into a garden box on your balcony or terrace.

Smart tip about sage

Flower your beds with plants of all colors, shapes and sizes!

Images: Pixabay: Wolfgang Eckert, Cornelia Gerhardt, Ilona, Elle Katie, Petra Keller-Gloor, AP