Common name: Sage

Scientific name: Salvia officinalis

Family: Labiatae

Uses: Aromatic, cosmetic, culinary, decorative, and medicinal.Sage is used for insect repellent and for fragrance in potpourris. It also is used for infusions to color hair silver and it stimulates the skin in facial steams, baths, and lotions. It flavors vinegars, herbal butter, omelets, soups, and poultry stuffings. Fresh sage is sometimes added to salads. Because it dries well, it is used in herbal wreaths (especially culinary) and nosegays. It can be grown in containers. It is said to have some medicinal qualities.

History The name sage comes from the Latin salvere or salvation meaning

Description: Sage has square, downy stems that become woody after the second year. The paired leaves are 2 inches long and grayish green with soft, velvety hairs and pronounced veining underneath. Yellow blotches appear on old leaves. The deep-throated mauve-blue flowers grow in whorls. They are two-lipped, have a bee-shaped calyx, and are 1/2 to 3/4 inch long. The tiny ovoid seeds are dark brown.

Plant type: Perennial

Hardiness: Hardy evergreen shrub; hardiness zones 4 to 8.

Height: 12 to 30 inches

Width: to 24 inches


Soil: fairly rich, light, dry, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.4


Disease: Root rot, slugs, spider mites, spittle bugs, and wilt.

Cultivation: Sow in spring and transplant to 2 feet apart when seedlings are 4 inches tall. The site should have well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. Keep the soil moist when the seedlings are young. When the plants are well established, water only in dry weather.

Companion planting: Sage attracts bees and grows well with rosemary. Sage also helps repel cabbage butterflies and improves the flavor of cabbage.

Propagation: Cuttings, layering, division, or seeds.

Flowering period: June

Flower color:


Garden notes: The common silver sage, the purple variety, and two variegated forms of sage were a major part of our garden. They filled out well, and their coloration provided great contrast. We harvested large quantities throughout the season, with a single plant producing more leaves than expected.