Sage is a plant that can be grown in many parts of the world. It is also one of the easiest plants to grow and care for at home. With proper watering, sunlight, soil, and fertilization, sage will thrive with little effort on your part.
This article contains detailed instructions on how to take care of your sage plant, so it will grow healthy and strong while giving you an ample supply for cooking or other purposes.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Plant Sage
- 2 Sage Propagation with Cuttings
- 3 Sage Propagation with Layers
- 4 How to Start Sage from Seeds
- 5 Recommended Planters or Pots
- 6 Soil Requirements
- 7 Sun Requirements
- 8 Water Requirements
- 9 Spacing Requirements
- 10 Companion Plants
- 11 Bad Companions
- 12 Pests
- 13 Frequently Asked Questions
- 13.1 Is sage easy to grow?
- 13.2 Should I let my sage plant flower?
- 13.3 Does sage like sun or shade?
- 13.4 Why is my sage plant dying?
- 13.5 How often should I water sage?
- 13.6 Are sage flowers poisonous?
- 13.7 Should I soak sage seeds before planting?
- 13.8 Does sage come back every year?
- 13.9 How do you keep sage alive indoors?
- 13.10 Can I plant sage and mint together?
- 13.11 Can you put seeds straight into soil?
- 13.12 Is Sage hard to grow from seed?
How to Plant Sage
Sage is best planted in pots or planters, but also grows very well in a sunny spot in your garden. Plant sage around tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, strawberries, thyme and rosemary.
Growing sage from seeds is not easy. Your best bet is to purchase a small established plant from a garden center or propagate from cuttings or layering. Propagation is best when the soil temperature is around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sage Propagation with Cuttings
To propagate from cuttings, cut the top 3 inches (7.62 cm) from a mature sage plant. Strip the lower leaves from the stem, or use scissors to chop them off.
Dip the ends in rooting hormone, and then place the cutting into a sterile well draining soil. Wait 4 to 6 weeks for roots to establish, then move to a 4–6” pot and later into the backyard. It is best to take cuttings in early spring.
Sage Propagation with Layers
For propagation of sage the most common practices are either tip layering or stem layering. Layering is simply bending over the lowest stems into the soil from an established plant and letting it form roots.
To do this first you will want to bend the stem and then make a scrape on the stem where you will want the roots to start growing from. Then cover the stem with soil. Keep the stem bent into the soil by tying it down or placing a stone on it for weight.
Once the new stem has good root development it can then be cut and separated from the established plant. This will usually take a couple of months. You can then move it and plant it into pots or anywhere in your backyard.
How to Start Sage from Seeds
Fill the seed starter trays with sterilized seed mix, and even them out. Next sow your seeds in less than 1/4” into the seed mix.
Fill up a spray bottle with water and spray the soil with some water.
Spray the soil until moist, do not over water. Next cover the seed tray with the provided lid. Sage seeds require 6-8 hours of sunlight a day, proper moisture and warm soil temperatures.
Sow the seeds about six to eight weeks before the last frost. Seeds will germinate in about 3-4 weeks.
The temperature of the soil needs to approximately 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit (21.11 °C).
Look at your seeds daily and spray water on them whenever the soil begins to dry out. Keep them moist.
Once seedlings begin to appear, be careful not to over water them because sage can become overly saturated, and can hold dampness in the roots.
You can start transplanting sage into pots, planters or even containers when the seedlings reach around 5 inches (12.7 cm) in height. Once they start to get bigger and outgrow their pots you can transplant them to your garden.
Trim the plant in the spring to encourage new growth and trim it again once it has stopped flowering around the months of June to July.
Recommended Planters or Pots
I find that these planters work very well when growing Sage. You can purchase all of these products on Amazon.
For a great small kitchen windowsill growing set, get the Saratoga Home Herb Pots with Tray Set.
If you are receiving very little sunlight in your home then I would use the Mindful Design LED Indoor Herb Garden.
I always use the Classic Garden Planters for my Sage plants. These planters are big enough for all herbs, and they even have drainage holes on the bottom, making them great for indoor and outdoor use.
The best way is to start with a small plant. Plant the sage in a well drained soil such as sandy loam. It does not do well in soil that is too moist. Soil pH levels of between 6.0-7.0 are optimal. Soil should not be too rich and fertile.
Fertilization is not recommended because it can alter the taste of your sage. Optimal outdoor soil temperature should be between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sage loves the sun, so it’s best to select a spot that has full sun. Full sun means a spot that provides a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight.
If you can’t find a spot that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight you can try planting the sage in pots. Planting them in pots makes it easier to move them around.
Sage needs to be watered consistently in the initial stages of growth, it’s a good idea check the soil daily so that it’s not to dry. Do not overwater sage because it doesn’t like soggy soil or moist environments.
An easy way to check the moisture of your soil is by simply sticking your finger in the soil about 2″ inches and if it feels dry add water. Another option is to purchase a soil moisture meter online or at your local gardening center.
It is recommended to plant sage a minimum of 2 feet (0.61 m) apart. Sage will become a bushy plant at full maturity so make sure to provide the necessary spacing between them to avoid problems later on.
Sage is an excellent addition to any outdoor garden. It makes a good companion to almost any vegetable except cucumbers, onions and rue. Sage can repel and keep nasty insects away from your garden your garden vegetables.
Plant it beside tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cabbages, brussel sprouts, beans and strawberries. Herbs that do good beside sage are thyme and rosemary,
Sage has just a few bad companions, and they are cucumbers, onions and rue
There are some insects you should watch out for when growing sage. Some popular insects that can kill your plant are mites, spittle bugs, white flies and thrips.
If you notice that these insects are sucking the life out of your plant, just mix up some soap and water in a spray bottle and spray the leaves on both sides making sure to spray the whole entire plant evenly.
Repeat this process every three to seven days until you see no more insects. If you see slugs or caterpillars remove them quickly because they can destroy your plant. You can remove them by hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is sage easy to grow?
Sage is a herb that can be grown in any garden, and it does not need much water. It grows well in hot climates and tolerates the drought of summer. The sage plant is easy to grow, with most plants thriving when given lots of sun and good drainage. Sage likes to dry out between watering, but needs plenty of moisture during its growing season.
Should I let my sage plant flower?
There are pros and cons to letting your plants flower. If you want your sage plants to produce more leaves for cooking, then you should definitely keep them from flowering. If on the other hand, if you’re interested in collecting the flowers as well as having plenty of leaves, then it might be worth letting the plant flower.
Does sage like sun or shade?
Sage plants thrive best when they have access to six hours of sunlight per day, but this amount can vary. If the sage plant is being grown for its leaves, it needs more sun than if it is being grown for its flowers. If you want to keep your herbs out of direct sun because you are worried about them drying out too quickly or not receiving enough water, then partial shade would be a better option.
Why is my sage plant dying?
There are many reasons why sage plants may die. The most important are not providing enough sunlight, or overwatering, which causes the roots to rot and the plant to wilt. Be sure not to over water it by checking for dryness before watering again. Another reason that can cause a sage plant to die is pests such as spider mites or aphids. These critters suck sap from the leaves of plants and will often kill them if left untreated.
How often should I water sage?
For the initial stages of the sage plant’s development, I would water the plant twice a week. Watering twice a week promotes a good root system. Once your plant has reached full maturity, you can cut back the watering to once a week. Monitor your soil daily and be careful not to overwater the plant.
Are sage flowers poisonous?
Sage flowers and leaves are safe to eat in small amounts cooked in food, but sage should never be eaten raw. Do not eat large amounts of sage because it can be dangerous to your health. Sage contains a chemical called thujone that can cause liver damage seizures, nervous system damage if you consume too much at once.
Should I soak sage seeds before planting?
Soak your sage seeds for faster germination, it is recommended to soak the seeds with warm water approximately 12 hours and plant them the next day.
Does sage come back every year?
The natural herb sage is a perennial plant that grows every year. Sage comes back from the roots and grows through stems and leaves. The stalks grow tall in about six weeks, with flower buds developing by the end of summer to become flowers in early fall.
How do you keep sage alive indoors?
Keeping your sage plant alive indoors is relatively easy. Place the sage plant on a windowsill or in a spot that achieves 5-6 hours of full sun daily. Water the soil whenever it’s very dry.
Can I plant sage and mint together?
Yes, you can plant sage and mint together in pots, planters or even in your garden. Sage is a member of the mint family and is the perfect companion plant for mint.
Can you put seeds straight into soil?
Yes, you can plant seeds directly into the soil if the soil temperature is between 60–70 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the soil moist enough to promote germination, and do not overwater. When planting into the soil, always check for unwanted pests and make sure the soil is well draining.
Is Sage hard to grow from seed?
Yes, it is harder to grow sage from seed because it tends to germinate poor. For fastest results, it is best to purchase a starter plant from a garden center or to start from cuttings or divisions. Sage that is started from seed can take over 2 years before it reaches full maturity. If you want to start from seeds, you should start them indoors.