Have you tried to grow your own sage just to get disappointing results? If you answered yes, you are basically in the same predicament that I was in when I tried to grow sage for the first time in my garden. The good news is that it is not difficult to grow provided you know how to handle this delicate herb.
What you Need to Know About Sage
My first attempt at growing sage was unsuccessful because I didn’t know a lot about it. So before you can get your hands dirty and try to plant sage, you should familiarize yourself with it first.
Sage is a sturdy perennial that can be grown in most sunny gardens. It can thrive in both hot and cool environments provided it is maintained properly. Often woody in structure, sage grows about 12 to 24 inches in height but it can grow as large as 36 inches in the right environment.
The flowers are tubular that are usually lavender or red in colour with whorls or tall spikes accentuating them. Green sage leaves are elongated or lance-shaped and can grow as long as 5 inches. Some varieties of sage even have purple, yellow and white leaves besides green leaves. The sage flower only blooms during the summer but it is evergreen, which means that you can harvest sage well into late fall.
Since sage grows well in well-drained soil, it can thrive in containers. The best thing about growing sage is that it doesn’t attract pests. The only thing you need to be cautious of is if it develops mildew, which can kill it (https://theprudentgarden.com/owdery-mildew-on-garden-sage-what-to-do/). Avoid that by watering the part of your garden that has sage infrequently. Look for dusty white spots on your sage. That is powdery mildew and if left untreated, it WILL kill your growing plant.
How to Grow Sage
Here are some tips that can help you grow sage in your garden
Choose the right soil – Plant this garden herb in sandy, well-draining and loamy soil that has a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 (https://gilmour.com/growing-sage#Steps-to-Planting-Sage-Plants). This is the ideal pH for optimal growth. However, do not go overboard with fertilizer, especially if you want to incorporate the garden sage in recipes. The herb may lose most of its flavour otherwise. If you are using clay soil, add organic matter and sand to improve drainage or your herb may wither and die.
You can grow sage from both seeds and a plant – If you want to get a safe plant from a local nursery, don’t pick one at random. Look for ones that have multiple stems and avoid any plant that is gangly. Plus, check the undersides of the sage plants for whiteflies and ensure the roots are not overgrown. Otherwise, you will have difficulty planting and growing them.
If you want to grow sage from seeds, you will have to be a bit more patient. The plant will take a couple of years to mature. Just plant the sage seeds six to eight weeks before the last frost under a gentle light. These will take about three weeks to germinate, after which you can transplant (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOADo_ak0Mc)the sage plants to a three-inch pot that has well-draining soil in it. At this point, the seedlings should have two sets of leaves.
You can grow more sage by using cuttings – If you have a fully grown sage plant in your garden, you don’t need to sow more seeds to grow more. You can just use cuttings. Clip a small part of the herb from the tip of its stem and apply rooting hormone on the exposed part. Then, plant the sage cutting in vermiculite or sterile sand, which is well-draining. The roots should start to emerge in six weeks. Once they do, transfer to a small pot and when the root ball forms, transplant the large seedling again into a larger pot in your garden. Make sure you plant sage in an area that gets a lot of sunlight and do not water it till it is completely dry. Plus, if you want to plant multiple sage herb seedlings or sage plants, make sure they are spaced at least 24 inches apart from one another to grow well.
Caring for Sage Plants
Once you have planted your seedlings, take care of them using these tips:
It doesn’t a lot of feed – Contrary to popular belief, sage does not need mulch to thrive. It thrives in sandy or loamy soil. Just give it some leftover tea leaves and it should grow well. You can also use mulch made out of aged compost or chopped up leaves. This will slow down moisture evaporation in the summer and prevent the roots from freezing in the winter.
Prune it regularly – Sage plants should be divided every three years to maintain their health. If you want to bring out their best flavour, prune the flower stems off before they have a chance to bloom in your garden. Plus, also cut and plant back the sage plant in the fall to rejuvenate its foliage for the new season. Otherwise, the sage will turn woody and die before you get the chance to harvest it.
Harvest it on time – Harvest leaves of the sage plant using a pruner and only do so from healthy plants. To get the best harvest, trim six to eight inches of the leaves twice during the growing season.
Section 3: FAQ
Q. What is the best way to grow Sage?
A. Please check out the aforementioned tips to learn how to grow sage in the best way possible.
Q. How long does it take to grow Sage?
A. If you want to harvest healthy and bountiful sage, you have to wait at least two years for the plant to mature.
Q. Does sage come back every year?
A. Yes, the herb is evergreen so you can plant sage year-round.
Q. How often should I water sage?
A. In the first few weeks, water it once or twice per week. Once the plant develops roots, reduce it to once every week or two.
So, we have learned that before you can harvest sage, you should take care of it by:
If you have any more questions about growing sage or taking care of it, comment below and I will help any way I can. Don’t give up! Like me, you can also have a fine crop just by following these tips.