Garden Sage(Salvia officinalis)
Light requirements: Full sun.
Planting: Space 18 to 24 inches apart.
Soil requirements: Plants grow best in well-drained soil. For clay soil, add sand and organic matter to provide better drainage, or grow plants in raised beds or containers. Soil pH should be 6.5 to 7.0.
Water requirements: Keep soil moist after planting until plants are well-rooted. Once established, plants in beds survive on rainfall. In containers, irrigate whenever soil is dry. Consider a pebble mulch to promote warmth and dryness beneath leaves, especially in humid areas.
Frost-fighting plan: Sage is perennial in zones 5 to 8. Established plants can survive a few hard frosts (under 28º F). Use a frost blanket to protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frosts or prolong the growing season in fall.
Common issues: In coldest zones, sage can take a while to leaf out; be patient before pulling plants. Prune plants back in early spring, cutting out oldest growth to promote new growth. Sage tends to get woody and stop producing lots of branches after 3 to 5 years. At this point, consider replacing your plant. Mildew can be a problem, especially in humid areas. Thin plants regularly to promote air circulation.
Harvesting: Pick leaves at any point in the growing season. In zones in which sage is perennial, harvest plants lightly the first year. With established plants, stop harvesting 2 months prior to frost to give new leaves time to mature. To harvest, cut an entire stem if desired, or just pinch a leaf at a time.
Storage: Wrap fresh sage leaves in a barely damp paper towel and tuck into a loosely closed plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator. Use within 4 to 5 days. For longer storage, dry leaves.
For more information, visit the Sage page in our How to Grow section.
- Calories: 6
- Carbohydrates: 1g
- Dietary fiber: 1g
- Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 0g
- Vitamin A: 2% DV
- Vitamin C: 1%
- Vitamin K: 43%
- Vitamin B6: 3%
- Folate: 1%
- Potassium: 1%
- Manganese: 3%
Sage, a native Mediterranean herb, is known for both its culinary and medicinal purposes. Even its name refers to the herb’s believed healing powers; “sage” is derived from the Latin salvus, which means “safe.” A great source of Vitamin K, sage helps diminish the risk of blood clots, reduces blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, and aids in bone strength. With a high presence of Vitamin B, sage is also good for the nervous system and helps the body metabolize proteins and sugar. Manganese, important in forming bones and some enzymes, is another element with high concentrations found in sage. Sage is slightly bitter, with a musty mint taste.