Salvia officinalis Growing Guide

Grow Sage in your Garden

The Salvia officinalis plant is an edible shrub that goes under the names of Sage, Common Sage, or Garden Sage. This herb is often found at the kitchen table for the strong flavor of its leaves. The flavor of Sage is a little bit sausage-like.

There are also numerous traditional health benefits associated with consumption of Sage, these include the support of digestion, tooth care, and as an antiseptic mouth-wash. It is thought that purple sage (Salvia officinalis "Purpurascens") may provide the greatest Sage Health Benefits. Sage has recently become of great interest for scientific research has it is reported to have numerous pharmacological activities.


Salvia officinalis Sage photograph by by; CC..

It is originally native to the Mediterranean and Middle East, but is now pretty much naturalized world-wide. This hermaphrodite plant attacts butterflies and bees to the garden.

There are close to 900 species of plants in the same genus as Sage; Visit this page of GardenersHQ for a generalized Salivia Genus Growing Guide.

Quick Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific name: Salvia officinalis.
  • Common Name (s): Sage, Common Garden Sage, Garden Sage, Culinary Sage, Golden Sage.
  • Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): 4 to 8 / H5.

Plant Details

  • Life Cycle/Type: Perennial evergreen shrub. Often grown as an annual.
  • Plant Height: 20 to 32 inches (50 to 80 cm)
  • Plant Spread: 20 to 32 inches (50 to 80 cm), Bushy.
  • Blooms: Mid-summer.
  • Flower Details: Blue. Showy. Up to 1 inch (2.5 cm). Short spikes. Two-lipped.
  • Leaf Foliage Details: Fragrant. Wrinkled. Grey-green (cultivars may be other colors, especially white or purple). 2.5 to 4 inches (6 to 10 cm).
  • Common Cultivars: Alba: White; Aurea: Golden; Icterina: Varigated leaves; Purpurascens: Purple; Berggarten: Bigger leaves; Extrakta: Oil Rich.

Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full Sunlight for best results or Partial shade.
  • Suitable Soil Types: Average. Rich loam clay for best results.
  • Suitable Soil pH: 6 to 7.0 for best results; will tolerate fairly acid soil to pH 5.6 and mild alkaline soils to pH 7.8.
  • Soil Moisture: Well-drained. Medium to dry.
  • Sowing, planting, and Propagation: Sow seeds on the surface in spring following the last frost. Seeds take one to thee weeks to germinate. Space at about 90 cm. Propagate from soft stem cuttings in the spring. Take semi-hardwood cuttings towards the end of summer.
  • Care: Regular watering. Let soil dry between watering. Does not tolerate wet soil so do not overwater. May look ungainly if not grown in full sunlight.

Further Information

  • Best used for: Herb garden. Ornamental feature. Containers.
  • Miscellaneous : Often used culinary herb, fresh leaves and flowers can be ate raw or cooked. Leaves are often dried to prolong use. Contains oils used to make many products including cakes and ice cream. Typically takes two years or more to reach full height. Prune to keep tidy and remove damaged or diseases tissues in the middle of spring. Often grown as a companion species for Cabbage and other Brassica as its aroma is thought to repel the white cabbage butterfly; in reality it is more likely that your sage will be eaten alongside your cabbages.
  • Family: Mint (Lamiaceae)
  • As a member of the mint family it is closely related to other herbal plants such as: : Oregano; Basil; lavender / English lavender; Perilla; Rosemary; and Savory
  • Further Reading and References used for this Salvia officinalis growing guide: Edible Shrubs; Pharmacological properties of Salvia officinalis

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Common Garden Species
Index – S

Salix alba

Salvia officinalis

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