How To Grow Sage

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  • PLANT TYPE: Perennial
    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Salvia officinalis
    ZONE / HARDINESS: 5 to 9
    MATURE PLANT SIZE: 12 to 30 inches high x 24 inches wide
    LIGHT: Full Sun
    FLOWERING PERIOD: June
    SOIL TYPE: Fairly rich, light, dry, well-drained soil
    pH RANGE: 6.4
    KNOWN PESTS: Slugs, spider mites, spittle bugs.
    KNOWN DISEASES: Root rot and wilt.

    OVERVIEW:

    Sage is a woody, hardy perennial plant with oblong, wooly, gray-green leaves that are lighter underneath and darker on top. Sage grows 2 to 3 feet in height and has a tendency to sprawl.

    This aromatic and slightly bitter herb is noted for its use in stuffings for poultry, rabbit, pork, and baked fish. It also can be used in sausage or meat loaves.

    Sow directly in the garden 1/8 inch deep, in late spring. Thin to 2 feet apart when seedlings are 4 inches tall. Prefers well-drained soil in full sun. Keep the soil moist when the seedlings are young. Once established, prune the plants severely in the spring to keep them from setting seed, and replace them every 3 years or so, as they will become less productive and somewhat woody. Harvest sage before the plant flowers. Gather sprigs, tie in a loose bundle and hang upside down in a cool, airy place. Do not dry in direct sunlight. When the sprigs are dry and brittle, remove the leaves from the stems. Store either crumbled or whole in airtight containers.

    PROPAGATION / SOWING:

    Cuttings, layering, division, or seeds. Sow directly in the garden 1/8 inch deep, in late spring. Thin to 2 feet apart when seedlings are 4 inches tall.

    COMPANION PLANTING:

    Sage attracts bees and grows well with rosemary. Sage also helps repel cabbage butterflies and improves the flavor of cabbage.

    CARE & GROWING:

    Sow in spring and transplant to 2 feet apart when seedlings are 4 inches tall. The site should have well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. Keep the soil moist when the seedlings are young. When the plants are well established, water only in dry weather.

    HARVESTING:

    Harvest sage before the plant flowers. Gather sprigs, tie in a loose bundle and hang upside down in a cool, airy place. Do not dry in direct sunlight. When the sprigs are dry and brittle, remove the leaves from the stems. Store either crumbled or whole in airtight containers.

    USAGE:

    Aromatic, cosmetic, culinary, decorative, and medicinal.Sage is used for insect repellent and for fragrance in potpourris. It also is used for infusions to color hair silver and it stimulates the skin in facial steams, baths, and lotions. It flavors vinegars, herbal butter, omelets, soups, and poultry stuffings. Fresh sage is sometimes added to salads. Because it dries well, it is used in herbal wreaths (especially culinary) and nosegays. It can be grown in containers. It is said to have some medicinal qualities.

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