How to Grow Sage For the Freshest, Tastiest Leaves All Through the Year

If you're thinking about how to grow sage, well, with over 750 varieties available; you certainly have plenty to choose from! Some are more suited to culinary uses and these are the ones I prefer to cultivate.

The most popular variety, and the one I grow for its culinary uses is common sage. This is the variety you'll most likely get if you buy this herb from the store.

For varieties that are not edible, and grown only for decorative purposes, you may be interested in Mexican bush or bog sage.

General Notes: This herb is usually a hardy perennial, so you can harvest the leaves all year round.

You can grow from seed, cuttings, layering or plant ones that you have purchased.

It thrives in a sheltered spot in well-draining soil in full sun and prefers it on the dry side.

Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Sage Plants

How to Grow Sage From Seed Indoors:

  • In early spring, fill seed trays or pots with standard potting compost and sow the seeds a ¼ inch deep (1cm) or 2 to a pot
  • Water and leave in a warm place (15-20°C) (60-70°F) to germinate, this takes 2-3 weeks
  • When the seedlings are large enough to handle follow instructions below

How to Grow Sage Herb Outdoors:

  • After the last frost, sow the seedlings you grew earlier 18-24 inches (45-60cm) apart in containers or into a prepared bed
  • Sow the seeds 8-10 inches (20-25cm) apart a ¼ inch deep (1cm) into a prepared bed in rows 18-24 inches apart
  • Water and once germinated thin to about 16-18 inches (40-45cm) apart
  • Even though it's an evergreen, give the young sage plants extra protection over the winter months

Container Herb Gardening:

Fill containers with a standard potting compost and plant seedlings, cuttings or sow seeds 8-10 inches (20-25cm) apart and a ¼ inch deep (1cm). Place in full sun don't overwater.

Harvesting Sage Plants:

You can pick the leaves any time of year. Use your fingers rather than a knife when picking, this herb doesn't like metal.

Likewise, when using in your cooking or making a cup of sage tea, tear the leaves rather than chop with a knife.

It can get a bit woody after a few years and the flavours start to diminish, this is the time to start new plants.

Click here to return to the main how to grow herbs page.

Links to Other Guides to Growing Herbs

Growing Cilantro For the Leaves and Seeds

How to Grow Fennel For
the Bulbs, Seeds and Leaves

Cultivating Rosemary For
a Year Round Supply

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Jason Pitcher

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