University of Maryland Extension

Sage

Sage leaves
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Photo: Joyce Browning

Description

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

Culture

Start from seed or cuttings. Cuttings or transplants are preferred because growing from seed is a slow process. Cuttings can be taken in late summer, rooted and potted up and moved indoors to a sunny location. Replant outdoors after the danger of frost has past.
Plant sage where it will receive full sun in very well-drained soil. Space plants 2-2 ½ “apart. Plants eventually become woody and should be hard pruned when you begin to see signs of regrowth in the spring. Prune off dead, woody stems but not the new growth. Culinary sage should be replaced every 3-4 years. 
Needs very well-drained soil to overwinter.

Harvesting

Pick the leaves before or at blooming. Can be cut back after blooming.

Uses

This aromatic and slightly bitter herb is used in stuffing for poultry, pork, fish and Italian pasta dishes. It also is used to flavor sausage or meat loaves. 

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