|Genus ||Salvia |
|Species ||officinalis |
|Item Form ||(P) Pkt of 100 seeds |
|Zone ||5 - 8 |
|Bloom Start to End ||Early Summer |
|Fruit Color ||Green |
|Habit ||Upright |
|Seeds Per Pack ||100 |
|Plant Height ||24 in |
|Plant Width ||5 ft |
|Additional Characteristics ||
Cut-and-Come-Again, Easy Care Plants, Evergreen, Pest Fighter, Direct Sow, Edible, Flower, Fragrance, Herbs
|Bloom Color ||
|Foliage Color ||
Gray, Medium Green
|Light Requirements ||
|Moisture Requirements ||
Dry, Moist, well-drained
Cold Hardy, Pest Resistant
|Soil Tolerance ||
Border, Containers, Cuisine, Winter Interest, Ornamental, Outdoor
Culinary sage (Salvia officinalis) is a perennial evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean region. Its smallish gray-green leaves have a pebbled or bumpy texture, and release a pungent but not unpleasant aroma. Although Sage flowers, it is primarily grown for its foliage, which should be harvested before the flower buds open.
Sage is used to flavor meat and fish, sausages and stuffing, salad, and a wide range of Mediterranean dishes. It is also a common ingredient in vinegars, soils, and sauces.
Choosing a Variety
With more than 750 varieties of Sage available today, you might think that selecting one for the herb garden would be a daunting task. Most of these varieties are ornamental, however, and you can't go wrong with the classic Salvia officinalis, plain garden sage! There are also lovely golden- and purple-leaved variants on garden sage, which add plate appeal and garden beauty.
When to Start
Sage seeds can be direct-sown into the warm spring soil after all danger of frost, but most gardeners find it easier to begin the seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last anticipated frost.
How to Start
Sow the seeds in your Bio Dome or in seed flats. If using the Bio Dome, drop one seed into each Bio Sponge. If using seed flats, cover the seeds lightly with a thin layer of vermiculite.
Seeds should germinate anywhere from 10 to 21 days after sowing. They are ready to transplant when they have 2 sets of true leaves and stand about 4 inches high. Space them about 18 inches apart in the garden, or set them into containers.
- Sage is delicious fresh, frozen, or dried. If you want to dry large quantities of Sage, you can cut the entire plant at the base, hang it upside-down in a warm, dry area for about a week, and then strip the leaves off, discarding the remainder of the plant. Store the leaves in an airtight container.
- To freeze Sage, place individual leaves on a cookie sheet and flash-freeze them for about half an hour, then carefully stack them in a plastic bag and refreeze.
- Sage is the traditional companion to Rosemary in the herb garden, and is a natural pest fighter for plants in the Cabbage family. Its strong aroma may discourage some nibbling pests, so it is a good choice around the edges of the vegetable patch and annual bed.
- Bees, butterflies, and birds adore Sage. If you want to attract these creatures to your garden, create an area where your Sage plants can go to flower (rather than be harvested before blooming). Most winged visitors appear after the blooms are open!
- Sage loves blazing sun, hot weather, and dry soil. Let it dry out a bit between waterings, and if you are growing it in a container, make sure the drainage is excellent. (Add a layer of pebbles at the base of the container to improve the drainage if it is in question.)
- Pinch the growing tips of your Sage plant several times during spring and early summer. This will produce a bushier plant and slow the formation of flower buds.
- Harvest the leaves when they are young, either by pinching them off individually or snipping an entire stem at the base.
Pests and Problems to Watch For
Seedlings can occasionally fall victim to damping off, a fungal condition. To prevent this, make sure your potting mix or medium is sterile, bottom-water the seedlings, and avoid crowding.
Whitefly and mealybugs are sap-sucking pests that can harm your Sage. Whitefly is usually found on houseplants and in greenhouses, and is easily controlled by hanging a yellow sticky trap near the plants. Mealybugs can strike indoors or out, and are best dealt with by pruning off the affected branches or, if there are only a few bugs, using a Q-tip to coat them in rubbing alcohol or cooking oil.
Mildew can be a problem in humid or rainy climates, or with overhead watering. In the garden, site your Sage in an uncrowded area where air circulates freely, and use a soaker hose to bottom-water if possible.
View All Know Before You Grow Topics
Sage Germination Information How to Sow Sage:
How to Grow Sage: Transplanting:
- Best sown indoors at a temperature of 68-72°
- Seeds can also be sown outdoors after all danger of frost is past in the spring and in a warm soil
- Indoors and out, sow at a depth of 4 times the size of the seeds and expect germination in 10-15 days
Space 12-18 inches apart Spacing:
Plant seedlings 10-12 inches apart Lighting:
Site in full sun Soil:
Site in an alkaline (pH 6.5-7), light, sandy, dry, well-drained soil Additional Care:
Pinch to promote compact plants and prune to remove scraggly growth Appearance and Use:
This semi-shrubby, 2- 21/2 foot tall herb bears spikes of violet-blue, purple, white, or pink flowers in early summer. The velvety, gray-green leaves are used in sausage stuffing, meat dishes, egg and cheese dishes, and to make an herbal tea. An essence is extracted to use in soaps, perfumes, and to make yellow, cream, or gray-green dyes. Harvest them at any time for fresh use or for drying and storing. There are varieties with leaves that are purple or are tricolored green, white, and pink
About Sage: Botanical name:
Salvia officinalis Pronunciation:
sal’ve-å o-fis-i-nal’is Lifecycle:
Lamiaceae; native to the Mediterranean
Which plants should I grow to repel insects?
Many of the herbs will repel insects. Pennyroyal repels fleas and other insects. Pyrethrum repels moths, flies, ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, mites, and bedbugs. Mint repels flies, fleas, and ants. Lavender repels flies, silverfish, and fleas. Catnip can repel mosquitoes. Thyme repels insects. Lemon Grass repels mosquitoes. Basil repels flies and mosquitoes. Sage repels a variety of insects. Chrysanthemum, grown for its beautiful flowers and for the extraction of pyrethrin (an organic insecticide), repels flies, beetles, mosquitoes, roaches, lice, and fleas.
Which plants should I grow to repel rabbits and deer?
Planting garlic, onions, chives, lavender, rosemary, and sage around rabbit-susceptible plants will repel rabbits. Deer repellent plants include: lavender, onion, catnip, sage, chives, garlic, spearmint, and thyme. Be sure to strategically place these repellent plants around and in between rabbit and deer-susceptible plants. Also, place some along the property line and especially at key points the rabbits and deer are using as entryways, which can even deter them from coming onto your property.
Which of your plants offered are deer resistant? Perennials that are deer resistant include:
Asclepias, Aster, Baptisia, Coreopsis, Dianthus, Digitalis, Echinacea, Gaillardia, Heuchera, Hibiscus, Malva, Monarda, Oriental Poppy, Platycodon, Peony, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Sedum, and Tricyrtis. Shrubs include:
Buddleia, Buxus, Cotoneaster, Daphne, Forsythia, Fothergilla, Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon), Potentilla, Spiraea, Syringa, and Viburnum. Vines include:
Clematis, Honeysuckle, Campsis, Wisteria, and Climbing Hydrangea. Trees include:
Acer (Maple), Cercis (Redbud), Corylus, Fagus (Beech), Magnolia, Ginkgo, Mulberry, Spruce, and Salix (Willow).
Superior Germination Through Superior Science
Park Seed offers some of the highest-quality vegetable and flower seeds available in the industry, and there are a number of reasons for this.
First of all, we have humidity- and temperature-controlled storage, and we never treat any of our seeds with chemicals or pesticides. Nor do we ever sell GMO's (genetically modified seeds), so you always know the products you're buying from us are natural as well as safe for you and the environment.
Superior Standards - University Inspected
To make sure we are providing the best seed product possible and that our customers will get the highest number of seedlings from every packet, we conduct our own germination testing and have quality-control measures in every stage of our seed-handling operation. We hold ourselves to standards that are at or above federal and state standards, including testing specific crops more frequently than recommended by federal guidelines. And in order to maintain our organic certification, we welcome Clemson University to inspect us annually to make sure our organic seeds, which are stored and processed separately, are being handled properly.
Hand Packed By Experienced Technicians
Park Seed has been handling and packing vegetable and flower seeds for 145 years, a history that has given us a great understanding of how each variety should be cared for and maintained throughout every step of theprocess, from collection to shipping.
When packing our seeds, the majority are actually done by hand (with extreme care!), and we often over-pack them, so you're receiving more than the stated quantity.
The Park Seed Gold Standard
And many of our seeds are packed in our exclusive Fresh-Pak gold foil packets, which are lined to keep moisture out, so the seeds stay fresher for longer. We carefully pack very tiny or fragile seeds in crush-proof vials to ensure safe delivery to your home. Some of the small seeds are also offered as "pellets" (have a clay coating) to make sowing and growing easier.
When it comes to the kinds of seeds we offer, we are constantly seeking something new and provide many unique and hard-to-find varieties from all around the world. Our on-staff horticulturists are ready and available to share their expertise to help you with the success of these seeds, so you can grow a beautiful and productive garden!
Does Park sell GMO's or treated seeds?
It is important for our customers to know that Park Seed does not sell GMO or treated seed. We do buy a small amount of traditional hybrid seed from Seminis, a division of Monsanto Co., but that is all we purchase from them.
What are the differences between organic, heirloom, and hybrid seed?
Basically, organic seeds are seeds that are produced without the use and exposure to artificial/chemical fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other chemicals. They have to be grown, harvested, stored, and handled under very strict organic rules and procedures. All of our organic seeds are USDA 100% certified organic through Clemson University and the certificate has to be renewed yearly.
Heirloom Seeds are open-pollinated -- they are not hybrids. You can gather and save heirloom seed from year to year and they will grow true to type every year, so they can be passed down through generations. To be considered an heirloom, a variety would have to be at least from the 1940's and 3 generations old (many varieties are much older -- some 100 years or more!).
Hybrid seed are the product of cross-pollination between 2 different parent plants, resulting in a new plant/seed that is different from the parents. Unlike Heirloom seed, hybrid seed need to be re-purchased new every year (and not saved). They usually will not grow true to type if you save them, but will revert to one of the parents they were crossed with and most likely look/taste different in some way.
What are pelleted seeds? Why do you use them? How do I handle/sow them?
Extremely small seed such as Petunias and Pentas are shipped as pelleted seed to make them easier to handle and sow. Pelleted seed are coated, usually with clay, to make them larger in size. After sowing, the coating will dissolve when wet and the seed will germinate. Pelleted seeds are shipped in vials placed inside seed packets, which protects them from being crushed. When sowing, be certain to use thoroughly moistened soil, to be sure that the clay coating absorbs enough moisture to dissolve. For sowing pelleted Petunia seeds, place the seeds directly on the soil surface and do not cover with soil, as light aids in the germination.
What is ideal temperature to germinate most seeds?
The ideal temperature to germinate most seeds is approximately 70 degrees F; give or take 1-2 degrees either way. This would be a good germination temperature for most flower and vegetable seeds and would be the most practical and feasible temperatures achieved for gardeners starting seeds in the home. You will notice for some seeds that it is recommended to use alternating day (warmer), night (cooler), temperatures, which is fine if one can provide such conditions. But most people are unable to provide those temperatures in a home setting, so just use the overall 70 degree F recommendation and the seeds should germinate well.
How long should grow lights be kept on per day and how close to the plants should the light be kept?
For germination and seedling/plant growth, you want to simulate the natural day-night cycles, and as a general rule, grow lights should be on 8-12 hours per day and off at night. You can vary this timing, as some seeds such as tomato, pepper, petunia, impatiens, and others, benefit from 14-17 hours of light per day (and the remainder of the 24 hour period in darkness). The most common grow lights used are fluorescent; using cool white, warm white, and wide-spectrum fluorescent tubes. These lights work well for germination and for growing plants up to a transplantable size. Fluorescent lights should be kept close though, 3-6 inches above the soil or the growing plants, adjusting the height as the plants grow.
How long will seeds keep in storage?
Park Seed stores seed in a special temperature- and humidity-controlled storage facility, which keeps seeds in excellent condition. Our seeds should be good for at least 1-2 years on average. Seed viability and storage time will vary depending on the seed item; some will keep a shorter time and some will keep longer. Seeds should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place. A basement will do (if not too humid), or a cool, dark room or closet. We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store them in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What is the best way to store seeds over a longer time period?
We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store seeds in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What depth should I sow various seeds?
When sowing seed outdoors, we recommend a maximum planting depth of 4X the width of the seed. When sowing seed indoors, the planting depth can be less, depending on the seed being sown, so it is always best to check specific directions. Here are some general guidelines concerning planting depth in relation to seed size: Tiny, dust-like seeds need to be sown on the surface of the growing medium or soil, uncovered, as they need light to germinate. The planting depth for small seed can be anywhere from barely covering, to 1/8-inch deep, to possibly 1/4-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Medium seed should be planted at 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Larger seeds can be planted 1-inch or deeper, depending on the recommendation.