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How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Sage

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Do you want to add a resilient and easy to grow herb to your backyard garden or herb garden? Sage (salvia officinalis) is just what you’re looking for. Learn to plant, grow, and harvest sage plants, a hardy and delicious herb, perfect for beginner and experienced gardeners alike. Check out these helpful tips for sage plant care!

Why grow sage?

This herb is best known for its flavorful addition to the Thanksgiving meal. But it’s so much more than a turkey’s favorite seasoning! Sage (Salvia officinalis) is also a key herb used in sausage making and is great for adding to freshly ground poultry or pork.

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There are several varieties of sage and this fragrant herb is used for medicinal purposes, culinary uses, and as an attractive garden flower. Not all sage plants are edible, but all make a great addition to a home vegetable or flower garden. (Be sure the sage you’ve selected for your herb garden is edible!) You can successfully grow sage in your home garden with these helpful tips.

How To Plant Sage

Though sage is a hardy plant, sage seeds do not germinate well. To make up for this low germination rate, be sure to plant 2-3 times more seeds than you need to help ensure a good plant yield. (Grab some quality sage seeds at Eden Brothers Organic!)

Plant seeds 1/4-inch deep and 1-inch apart in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Lightly cover with soil and water. Seeds will take about 3-weeks to germinate, keep soil moist.

Another option would be to buy a sage plant from your local nursery or hardware store. This is an easy option if you want to avoid the low germination rates of sage seeds. Be sure to pick a healthy plant with full, green leaves, and always feel free to lift the plant out of the plastic planter and check the roots. Nobody wants to buy a half dead plant.

How to propagate sage plants

Want to propagate a new plant from a friend’s existing sage plant? For best results, start new plants with a cutting from old plants. Cut off a young shoot 3-inches below the leaf crown. Remove lower leaves so the cutting has three pairs of leaves at the top. Place the cut end of the stem into a container of moist potting soil.

Cut the bottom out of a plastic water bottle and place over the cutting to create a mini greenhouse. This will help keep your new plant at a steady temp, and will help to keep the soil from drying out too quickly.

It will take 4-weeks for the cutting to develop a root system and begin to grow. When new growth appears transplant the new sage plant outdoors or into a larger container.

Caring For Sage Plants

Grow sage in a sunny location and provide the plant with plenty of humidity (especially if growing indoors). Plants will need to be misted daily, grown in a grouping with other container plants, or placed in a pebble tray of water to provide the needed humidity.

For outdoor growing, choose a sunny location and plant in the spring, so your plant will be well established before the cooler temperatures comes later in the year.

Mildew, weak stems, and leaf spot are common sage diseases and all of these are caused by improper watering. Don’t get foliage wet when watering plants and allow soil to dry out between watering.

Harvesting and Using Sage

To harvest sage, collect the entire stem by cutting it off near the plant stalk. Use entire stem in recipes, tied into a bouquet (which makes it easy to remove before eating.) You can also strip off leaves, chop, and add to recipes.

Dry sage by bundling 6 cut stems together and tying them to create a bunch. Hang upside down in a warm location to dry, store in an airtight container for later use. See my full post on How to Dry Sage for several methods for drying, including drying in the oven.

Sage is used to add flavor to meat dishes and improve overall health. The herb contains vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K, calcium, and antioxidants. It’s often used to treat digestive issues, improve oral health, lower bad cholesterol, and stabilize blood sugar. The New York Times actually has a delicious recipe for Pasta with Butter, Sage, and Parmesan that you should whip up the next time you’re looking for comfort food with this delicious herb.

So, why wouldn’t you add this versatile and tasty herb to your indoor or outdoor herb garden? I’d love to know if you have any tips for growing or using sage. Comment below to share with our growing community!

Learn to grow other herbs


Thursday 22nd of October 2020

Thanks for the outstanding post. I've had sage in the past and been very happy with it. It's always nice to cook with it straight out of the garden. Plus, sage makes an GREAT border plan in my sunny flower beds. The gray-green, slightly fuzzy foliage really works well up against my standard "tropical" annuals and my 6-foot-tall tropicanna black canna lilies. Thanks again. - Christopher


Wednesday 28th of October 2020

Thank you for the encouraging words, Christopher!