Common Name: Common Sage, Garden Sage
Bloom Period/Days to Harvest:
Allow the plants to grow unharvested for the first year, to become established. After that you can harvest leaves at anytime, although they are consider at their best before or just after blooming. I've brushed snow aside and harvested in winter.
Tricolor doesn't get as large as S. officinalis, but the variegation of its green, white and pink/purple leaves make it as much an ornamental as a culinary herb.
Purple (Purpurescens) has deep purple young leaves that mature to a burgundy
Aurea is a compact grower with soft yellow leaves and purple flowers.
Using and Cooking with Sage:
Sage leaves are a popular poultry and meat seasoning. They can be used both fresh and dried, even fried. Sage also makes a nice tea.
Besides seasoning, sage leaves and branches are often featured in crafts, like wreaths, where they add color, texture and scent.
Planting: Sage plants can be started from seed, root cuttings or transplants. Sage seed needs to be sown while fresh. The seed does not store well and even fresh, is not terribly reliable and is slow to establish.
Root cuttings can propagated by layering. In fact, branches that touch the ground will often set down roots on their own. If this happens, you can separate the rooted section from the original plant and transplant it.
Fortunately, reasonably priced, small sage plants can be found in most garden centers in the spring. This is the easiest method to get an established plant quickly.
Sage prefers a warm, sunny location, although it does not enjoy extreme heat. It is not particular about soil, except that it be well-drained.
Pruning after flowering will keep plants attractive and prevent them from getting too woody and leggy.
Sage is very drought tolerant and does not like sitting in wet soil. The leaves will midlew if they are allowed to sit damp, so water infrequently.
The essential oils of herbs are strongest when they are grown in a lean soil. Go easy on the fertilizer. It's better to simply side dress with organic matter, in the spring.
Sage is very happy growing in containers. If you want to try growing sage indoors, you will need to provide strong, direct light.
Pests and Problems
Few pests bother sage. It is more frequently killed by excess water, not enough light and lack of pruning, than insects or disease.