Sage plants are perennial garden herbs that can grow in a dry climate.This popular herb can grow to a height of 10 feet. There are approximately 750 species of sage, but the most popular varieties are the common sage (Salvia officinalis), purple sage (Salvia officinalis Purpurascens), tri-color sage (Salvia officinalis Icterina), and golden sage (Salvia officinalis Aurea). Sage is used as herb seasoning to prepare special concoctions of tea and medicine for curing certain ailments.
Preparing the Soil
These plants grow best in rich clay loam. Prepare the soil accordingly to ensure that it has an adequate amount of nitrogen and very good drainage. The soil should not stay moist for long as sage plants require dry conditions for proper growth. These plants can also tolerate conditions ranging from full sunlight to partial shade. Sage is bound to thrive if a handful of bone meal is mixed in with the soil once or twice in summer.
Sage plants are started by seed propagation, root cutting, and layering. They can be grown indoors, outdoors, in containers, or in a hydroponic garden.
Propagation by seed is a slow process, as the seeds require considerable time to germinate and grow. Sow fresh sage seeds in potting compost. The seed flats in which the seeds are sown should be kept indoors if the sowing is done during springtime and kept outside if the seeds are sown during summer. Using a heated propagator increases the chances of germination. This corresponds to a greater chance of getting a higher number of seedlings. The seedlings grow very slowly, and in some cases, harvesting is possible only after a year.
Propagating in Containers
As sage needs well-drained soil to grow, so set a couple of layers of stones inside the container before adding the mixture. Do not over-water the soil, and keep it slightly dry throughout the lifespan of the plant. Sage grows well in containers, provided it is kept on a sunny windowsill.
Fastest Means of Propagation
Buy small sage plants from reliable garden centers and plant them outside after the last frost. Maintain a spacing of 3 feet between the plants. Sage has a very brittle stem, but you can support it by placing a stake near the plant.
Propagation by Layering
Autumn is a good season to perform layering. Carefully bring down the lower branches of the sage plant to the ground and pin them there. Meanwhile, take care not to break off the plant stem. When the roots develop, carefully cut the plant below the root with a pair of sharp secateurs and transplant it.
Harvesting and Pruning
Leave the plants without harvesting during the first year of planting. Harvesting is done by cutting off the leaves with scissors or just pinching them off by hand. The taste of fresh sage leaves are the best. However, leaves frozen in plastic bags are also useable. Sage leaves can also be dried in shade, crushed, and then stored in airtight bottles for later use.
Remember that the sage plants thrive when they are frequently harvested and pruned. It is advisable to prune the plant after flowering.