bunch of sage cut and laying on weathered boards

How to Grow Sage at Home

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Sage is a wonderful herb for your kitchen or your medicinal garden. This useful herb can enhance your favorite savory dishes. Learn how to grow sage at home. Find out more about how to start an herb garden here.

sage growing in the garden

Check out when to plant sage and other herbs in this month by month garden planting guide.

Some varieties of sage, like white sage, in particular, are even endangered, making growing it in home gardens a great conservation effort. Especially if you allow the plant to go to seed to continue planting more.

Growing sage is easy and doesn’t take much work and maintenance from you. This hearty plant can handle drought and neglect fairly well making it a great option for new gardeners. Some varieties of sage have beautiful foliage that can be planted right along with flowers and other herbs for a beautiful addition to your landscaping.

white sage growing in the garden

How to grow sage

Sage is a sun-loving herb. In zones 5 to 8, you can grow sage as a long-lived perennial. For other zones, smaller annual sage plants can be a great asset in the kitchen. Our sage grows year-round in Oklahoma.

Plant your sage in well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter and rich compost before planting to ensure proper drainage. Like most herbs, for the most flavor, you do not want to overdo the fertilizing so it is best to start with fertile soil.

You can start seedlings indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the expected last frost or directly sow your seeds in the garden up to 2 weeks before the last frost. I find it easier to buy sage plants than to germinate them myself, so I usually do that. Herbs are more difficult to germinate than some other plants.

Sage takes about 3 weeks to germinate making it safe to plant the seeds before the last frost. Plant your seedlings after the soil has reached a steady 60 to 70 degrees. To know your soil temperature, get a Propigate sage

New sage plants can also be started through propagation using a cutting or the layering technique like you would tomatoes if you would like a larger plant later in the gardening season.

Plant your sage 18 to 24 inches apart particularly if you are going to grow sage at home as a perennial because this flowering herb can grow large-ranging from 18 to 30 inches on average. Because the best leaves for use in cooking are the fully developed foliage you want to avoid stunting the growth of your sage by planting too close together.

Companion planting sage

Sage can be companion planted with broccoli, cauliflower, rosemary, cabbage, and carrots in the garden. Sage makes a great companion plant for repelling pests that are common to these plants including cabbage moths, beetles, black flea beetles, and carrot flies to help get the best crop possible.

Avoid planting sage with cucumbers or onions where the strong scents and flavors can blend together in an unpleasant way.

How to grow sage in containers

When growing sage in containers, look for a larger container that can maintain the large growth this herb has to offer. Keep in mind most grow kits that come with sage and other herbs only have the room to grow a standard seedling and the plants will easily die off and never have the chance to produce flavorful mature leaves.

Instead, look for a larger pot of at least 1 to 2 gallons for a single sage plant. When it comes to container gardening you can grow sage at home in very large decorative pots where it can be companion planted to blend in decoratively as well.

Caring for your sage plants

Pruning perennial sage plants helps to keep them neat and tidy. Pruning heavier woody stems in the spring-like you do lavender plants can encourage better growth.

Water your sage at the base of the plant to prevent common issues like rust, powdery mildew, and fungal spots. do not overwater as this can lead to the roots rotting. Plants need about one inch of water per week, sage can take a little less. It’s fairly drought hardy.

Check over your sage plants for common pests like whiteflies and aphids. Inviting ladybugs, lacewings, and hummingbirds into your garden is a great way to help protect your sage from these pests. You can do this with flowering plants that attract them with their colors.

purple sage growing in the garden

Sage Varieties

Sage has several varieties and can be grown as an annual or a perennial plant depending on your growing zone. My favorite sage is pineapple sage. I love making infused water with it and smelling it’s gorgeous sweet flowers. It puts on a real show in the garden. I also like blue sage to grow for seasoning poultry, especially my Thanksgiving turkey! Annual and perennial sage plants are harvested differently.

How to harvest sage from your garden

Perennial sage should only be harvested lightly in the first year of growth. Each year after you can harvest your sage as needed all year round keeping in mind to follow the one-third rule and never take more than a third of the plant at a time so it can continue to thrive.

If you harvest a large amount at one time, allow your sage at least two months for new foliage to mature before harvesting again.

Annual sage can be harvested following the one-third rule after the plant has grown large enough to have matured foliage.

The best flavor comes from sage before it blooms making it important to harvest for drying and storing before the plant blooms. If you wish to save seeds, allow enough of the plant to remain intact to bloom. To keep the best quality flavor if growing sage as a perennial you want to replace your plants every 3 to 4 years.

Pineapple sage pesto

You can make a wonderful pesto from your pineapple sage by following this pesto recipe on the blog and using the pineapple sage you grew at home instead of basil in the recipe.

I am so excited that you are learning how to grow sage at home in your garden. It’s beautiful, healthy, and yummy. It’s one of my favorite herbs to grow.

For more ideas on growing herbs, check these out:

For more beginning gardening tips, check this out.

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