California White Sage - Pretty, Easy-to-Grow With Many Culinary and Health Benefits

California white sage (salvia apiana) is a perennial shrub that can grow to almost five feet tall and four feet wide which is revered by Native American Indians.

Its leaves are evergreen, with a whitish tinge and they have a powerful aroma when they are crushed. 

About California White Sage

It is an easy plant to tend in any garden, needing only well-drained soil, occasional watering and full sunshine. 

It also prefers good air circulation.

California sage is a popular ornamental plant for gardens as it is so low maintenance, and it attracts bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

It also has edible seeds and leaves and traditionally a tea was made from these leaves to help recover from childbirth.

Growing California White Sage

You can grow from seed or purchase young plants, whichever you prefer. 

From seed...

  • Place the seeds on top of a seed tray filled with well draining seed compost and lightly cover with compost. Water thoroughly
  • Whilst the seeds are germinating water sparingly and the seeds will germinate in 2-3 weeks in temperatures of 20 to 30° C (68 to 86° F)
  • When the seedlings have 2-4 leaves transplant to small pots and water sparingly
  • Transplant outside after the last frost and choose a location that gets full sun for most of the day. Planting next to the house in pots is a good idea
  • Add compost and ensure good drainage by adding small pebbles into the hole before you plant
  • At the beginning, water every other day for a week and after that, water only after the soil has dried out

Note: If you bought a young plant, plant outside after the last frosts and follow the above instructions.

Note 2: You can help it establish new growth by deadheading the tops of the stems. 

Bring those pinched-off tops into the house to burn as incense to lighten up your room just like Native Americans have been doing for centuries! Read more about this ancient ritual.

Image Links to Other Sages and Another Herb You May Enjoy

Pineapple Sage - Attracts Hummingbirds and Butterflies

Jerusalem Sage - Decorative & Very Tasty!

Tips on Growing and
Using Thyme

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Jason Pitcher

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