United States Edition


Salvia officinalis

'Sage' is a plant in the Salvia genus with a scientific name of Salvia officinalis. The botanical name epithet for Sage (officinalis) means 'used medicinally'.

Sage is a popular herb grown mainly for it’s culinary uses, but has also had a long history of being used medicinally. It grows as a low bushy, evergreen aromatic perennial, and its woolly grey-green leaves add earthiness to dishes. Tall spikes of lovely mauve/blue flowers appear in early-summer and/or late spring.

Leaves are textured, grey-green and oval in shape. They do well in containers. They have an unfortunate habit of suddenly dying off but may last 5 to 6 years before needing replacement. Leaves can be used fresh or dried.

Plant in full sun, with well-drained, composted, alkaline soil.


  • Aids digestion of fatty foods
  • Use with rich meats, sausages, stuffings and jellies with pork, duck or goose
Blooms typically mature to a diameter of 0.3 cm (0.12 inches imperial) and produce a sage fragrance, whilst displaying in these approximate colours:   Lavender indigo and   Dark slate blue and   Han purple. The mature flowers are of a single form. Leaves appear approximately as a   Camouflage green and   Dark sea green colour. A type of flowering edible herb / ornamental, it mainly grows as a perennial plant - which means it typically grows best over a long period (from 3 years+). Sage is known for its forb habit and growing to a height of approximately 30.0 cm (11.7 inches). This plant tends to bloom in mid summer. Sage is a great plant to attract butterflies and bees to your garden. Popular varieties of Sage with home gardeners are Broad Leaf, Purpurascens, Tricolor, Icterina and Berggarten.

Spain is thought to be the country of origin for Sage.

Sage is normally quite a low maintenance plant and is normally very easy to grow - great for beginner gardeners!

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Sage have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Sage

  • Full Sun

    OR +
  • Partial Sun

  • Low

Sage is very happy growing in containers. Try to harvest lightly the first year until the plant becomes established, and pick leaves sparingly in the first season.

After blooming (unless you intend to save seed) it is best to cut back severely to keep it from becoming leggy. It will grow back quickly.

Consider replacing the entire plant after three seasons, as it tends to become quite woody.

Sage likes a position of full sun / partial sun and remember to apply water fairly sparingly. As a rough idea of the types of climates Sage does best in, check to see if your local area is within USDA Hardiness Zones 4 and 9. Ideally plant in loamy and sandy soil and try to keep the ph of your soil between the range of 4.9 and 8.2 as Sage likes to be in moderately acidic soil - weakly alkaline soil. Keep in mind when planting that Sage is thought of as hardy, so this plant will survive close to or on freezing temperatures.

See our list of companion Plants for Sage to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Sage from seed

Sage can be started from seed, from transplants or from cuttings.

Starting sage from root cuttings
Cuttings can be propagated by layering – this essentially means to lay the side branches down so they touch the soil and can begin to grow roots.

Starting sage from seed
Seeds can be started in trays or pots indoors – cover only with a sprinkle of compost cover, and put in a warm spot until spouting is visible (this should be around 10-21 days if all goes well). Light is helpful to sage for germination, so ensure you keep your propagator in a well lit area.

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 0.98 inches (2.5 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.23 inches (0.6 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 15°C / 59°F to ensure good germination.

By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Sage about 84 days before your last frost date .

Transplanting Sage

Transplant sage seedlings when large enough to handle and pot on individually into 7cm pots. Grow on in cooler conditions and accustome young plants to garden temperatures for 3 weeks prior to planting out. Sage tends to do better in well drained soil in a sunny spot.
The intensity of the flavour may vary according to the richness and fertility of the soil

Avoid frost when planting out as sage is not completely hardy.

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Sage is a hardy plant.

Harvesting Sage

If you pinch the growing tips of younger plants as they grow they will branch outwards rather than upwards, producing more harvestable leaves.
Cut leaves at any time of year, although winter it may become deciduous in very cold weather

Seed Saving Sage

Seed viability is one year.

Common Sage problems

These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Sage plants:

Powdery mildew if the weather is very hot

  • Spider Mites
  • Thrips
  • Spittlebugs
  • Whiteflies
  • Aphids
    Leaf hopper can cause mottling to the leaves

Predators such as green lacewings, ladybugs, and other predators are a good to help with pests.

Sage Etymology

The Latin name for sage “salvia” means “to heal". The botanical epithet is from the Latin officinalis meaning “used medicinally”

Sage Folklore & Trivia

The ancient Romans and Greeks believed that sage imparted wisdom, immortality, good life and increased psychic powers.

  • The royal family in Spain used to employ “herb strewers” to scatter sage to cover the stench of the urban city.
  • In the middle ages, sage was used as a treatment for a number of ailments including: memory loss, intestinal problems and liver disease.
  • An old saying says that “sage only prospers where the wife rules” while a chinese proberb says “How can a man grow old when he has sage in his garden”.
  • For mouth sores, mouth ulcers, or a sore throat try a tea with equal parts chamomile and sage.
  • For sore throats, a sage tea mixed with apple cider vinegar is said to be effective. To make a “sage gargle” infuse 3 teaspoons fresh leaves in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes, strain and cool and use 3 times a day.

Other names for Sage

Garden sage, Kitchen sage, Common sage, Dalmatian sage, Elifagus, Lingua humana, Selba, Extracta sage, Purple sage

Salvia officinalis L.

Misspellings: Sauge

Latest Sage Reviews

  • 27 Jun 2014

    HollyBee HollyBee's Sage was Reviewed day 35

    mulched with cut straw

    0 stars

  • 16 Jul 2013

    SarahSmile SarahSmile's Sage was Reviewed day 1173

    Prune hard! Down to 6 inches.

    0 stars

  • 06 Sep 2011

    anelson anelson's sage was Reviewed day 1572

    entirely satisfactory evergreen low growing herb for hot dry sun, shallow soil. Provides culinary sage leaves, attractive blue flowers, and a neat looking year round silver leaved presence.

    5 stars

  • 19 May 2011

    angelchrome angelchrome's Sage was Reviewed day 477

    Obviously sage is great for the culinary aspects but I would recommend it to any beginning gardeners as it’s easy to start from seed and very rewarding to grow.

    3 stars

See all Sage reviews and experiences »

Sage care instructions

How long does Sage take to grow?

These estimates for how long Sage takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world. Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

When should I plant Sage?

Our when to plant Sage estimates are relative to your last frost date. Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!


1 Growing sage

2 Old Wives’ Tales, Folklore, Myths and Legends

3 “Salvia”: The Encyclopedia of Herbs, Arthur O. Tucker and Thomas Debaggio; published in 2009 by Timber Press, Inc.

4 Pests of the Sage Plant

Sage Forums

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