Growing Sage

Sage has a unique flavor and scent that cooks truly enjoy for seasoning meats, and the low shrubby plant is a soft velvety green in the garden.  This hardy herb is perennial to zone 4 or 5 but does not well tolerate the heat and humidity of the southernmost zones.


Sun Requirements:  6-8 hours

Soil:  Well drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0.  Can be quite tolerant of a range of conditions.

Moisture:  Average moisture requirements, but keep foliage dry to avoid mildew.  Allow soil to dry out well before between waterings.

Spacing:  18 to 24 inches apart

Feeding:  Do not fertilize heavily if at all.  Sage is grows best in lean soil, producing strong essential oils.

Growing from Seed:  Sage seed does not store well and should be sown fresh for best results.  Seeds germinate unreliably and may be best grown from cuttings or bedding plants.

Problems:  May be susceptible to whitefly, spider mites but generally is problem free other than excess water causing powdery mildew.


Pinch or snip off entire stems at once to encourage new growth, removing the mature woody stems first.  Harvest frequently to prevent blooming, or harvest entirely before the bloom.  If you have started your plant from seed, harvest only lightly the first year to allow this perennial herb to mature a bit.


Strip the leaves from the stems and store in an airtight container.


Sage dries well on screens.  Store in airtight container.

Sharon Dwyer