Salvia officinalis

Garden Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Common name for the two genera Salvia and Audibertia; but most popularly for the hardy sub-shrub Salvia officinalis, which is extensively grown for seasoning dressings used with rich meats, and for flavoring sausages and cheese.

Growing the Herb Sage

Seeds should be sown thinly indoors or in outdoor cold frames. Transplant when plants are large enough to move, setting them at least 18 inches apart, and providing a clean growing area. As the plants often exceed 3 feet in diameter, they should be planted at least that far apart.

Sage grows best in a soil comprised of a rich clay loam with an adequate supply of available nitrogen. It will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, however, especially if they are well-draining and rich in nitrogen.

Sage is easily propagated through stem cuttings, which are easily rooted in sand and other rooting media and then planted in rows three feet apart. Sage leaves should be harvested prior to blooming.

Dry in a well-ventilated room on screens away from direct sunlight and then store in tight jars.

Purple Sage

Growing Cultures

Outdoors, in containers, and hydroponics.

Plant Height

Sage plants usually grow to a height of 24 to 36 inches (60 -90cm).

Plant Spacing

Sage plants should be spaced 24 to 36 inches (60 – 90cm) apart.

Preferred pH Range

Sage will grow in a pH range between 5.6 (acidic) and 7.8 (mildly alkaline) with a preferred range between 6.0 and 6.5.


Sow indoors in sunny location or under plant grow lights six to eight weeks before last frost. Sage propagates well via stem cuttings.

Seed Germination Period

Sage seeds take between 10 and 21 days to germinate.

Number of Seeds per Gram

There are approximately 125 Sage seeds per gram.

Soil Requirements

Sage grows well in rich, well-draining soil, either light or heavy.

Alternative Growing Media

Soilless potting mixes (Pro-Mix, Sunshine Mix, etc.), perlite, vermiculite, rockwool, coco peat, Oasis Rootcubes.

Time From Seed to Saleable Plant

Sow in plugs or seed flats 12 to 14 weeks before sale. Seeds to finished plugs, 8 weeks; plugs to saleable plants, 4 to 6 weeks.

Sun & Lighting Requirements

Sage grown outdoors prefers full sun.

Sage will grow indoors satisfactorily under standard fluorescent lamps, and exceptionally well under T5 high output fluorescent, compact fluorescent, or high intensity discharge (metal halide or high pressure sodium) plant growing lights. Keep standard fluorescent lamps between 2 and 4 inches from the tops of the plants, high output and compact fluorescents approximately one foot above the plants, and HID lights between 2 and 4 feet above the plants, depending on wattage.

Have an oscillating fan gently stir seedlings for at least 2 hours per day to stimulate shorter, sturdier, and more natural plant habit.

USDA Hardiness

Perennial. Zones 4a to 11.

Water Requirements

Sage has average watering needs. Water on a regular schedule, letting soil go amost completely dry between waterings, and taking care not to overwater.

Potential Plant Pests and Diseases

Sage can be susceptible to whitefly, spider mites, mealybugs, and powdery mildew.

Companion Planting

Sage is a great companion plant for rosemary, cabbage, beans and carrots. It attracts honeybees and cabbage butterfly while repelling or distracting cabbage flies, carrot fly, black flea beetle, cabbage looper, and the cabbage maggot. It also repels many bean parasites.

Special Notes

Sage is known to attract bees, butterflies and birds. Suitable for containers. Aromatic, evergreen.

Buy Sage Seeds by Heirloom Garden Broadleaf Sage Seeds
The strong, unique taste and aroma of sage enhances the flavor of many dishes.

Organic Heirloom Garden Broadleaf Sage Seeds
Organic version of above.