Growing Sage:
How to Grow Sage Plants Organically

Growing sage will be beneficial both in the flower garden and in the kitchen. There are many different types of sage… some are grown more for ornamental purposes, while others are grown for culinary endeavors.

Several different types of sage are used in the kitchen as each provides a slightly different flavor. But all sage varieties are easy to grow, especially if started from nursery plants or cuttings.

Sage requires a sunny spot in the garden, with well-drained soil.

Growing Sage: Plant Snapshot (Salvia oficinalis)

Growing Sage
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Annual or Perennial? Perennial
  • Recommended varieties: Green Sage, Pineapple Sage, Purple Sage, Tricolor Sage
  • Cold tolerance: Usually hardy in most regions
  • Required Sun: Full sun (at least 6 hours each day)
  • Companion plants (see Companion Planting Charts for more info):
    • Companions: Rosemary, Cabbage, Carrots, Tomatoes
    • Avoid: Cucumbers
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Growing Sage: Planting the Seed

Where to Find Planting Supplies...

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Sage can be grown from seed in a couple of years and takes weeks to germinate, but it's more commonly grown from mature plant cuttings or purchased as a mature plant directly from a nursery.

When growing from seed, you can start the seeds indoors and then transplant into the garden after all danger of frost is passed. Sage likes good air circulation, so give the seedlings plenty of space.

Snapshot: Planting Sage Plants

  • Planting depth: 0.2 inches (0.5 cm)
  • Spacing in rows: 12 inches (30 cm)
  • Germination soil temperature: 65 to 70 degrees F (18 to 21 degrees C)
  • Days to germination: 14 to 28 days
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Growing Sage: From Germination to Pre-Harvest

Where to Find Growing & Plant Care Supplies...

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Sage is not a fussy plant. It will grow in average garden soil as long as it is well-drained and the plant has full sun. It needs to be watered regularly during the first year to get established.

It is not a heavy feeder but will flourish with a spring dressing of fish emulsion or compost. Pinch back growth to encourage a bushier plant.

The plants may need to be covered during the first winter and will benefit from mulch every winter in colder areas.

Snapshot: Growing Sage Plants

  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 5.5 to 6.5
  • Growing soil temperature: 65 to 70 degrees F (18 to 21 degrees C)
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Growing Sage: Harvesting Time

Sage can be harvested as needed any time after the plant begins to grow, but you should harvest sparingly during the first year to encourage long-term growth.

If you wish to dry the leaves, they should be harvested before the plant flowers.

Snapshot: Harvesting Sage Plants

  • Time to harvest: Throughout the growing season, but sparingly in the first year. Harvest before flowering for drying the leaves.
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Storing Sage Plants, Drying Sage Plants and Freezing Sage Plants

Sage is best when used fresh, but it can be dried for storage. To dry, tie bouquets with string and place in a paper bag. Once dried, remove the leaves from the stems and place leaves in an airtight storage container.

Seeds store poorly and should not be kept more than one year.

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Growing Sage: Pests & Diseases

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Sage Plants. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.

Pests

  • Aphids
  • Slugs
  • Spider Mites
  • Thrips

Diseases

  • Leaf spots
  • Powdery Mildew
  • Root Rot
  • Rust
  • Verticillium Wilt
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YOUR Experience & Advice About Growing Sage

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