Gardens - Herb Gardening

Add versatile sage to your herb garden

Laura Langston
Photography by
Tracy Cox

Versatile sage is equally at home in the kitchen garden, the perennial border or a container

Pot it up
Sage is container-friendly and requires the same treatment in a pot as in the garden.

Select a pot that will accommodate the mature size of the plant and allow for good root development and growth; make sure it has drainage holes.
Place a small piece of fine mesh or window screening over the drainage holes to prevent soil from falling through until the roots can hold the soil. Keep the planting medium on the lighter side by mixing three parts potting soil with one part perlite. Place in a sunny location and do not overwater. Plastic, wooden and metal containers should be elevated slightly to allow for drainage.

Ornamental sage tips
Like their culinary cousins, ornamental Salvia (both annuals and perennials) are easygoing plants that produce colour all season, provided they’re deadheaded occasionally.

Annual sages are easily grown from seed. Connie Dam-Byl of William Dam Seeds in Dundas, Ontario, says to start them indoors in small trays six weeks before planting out. When their first set of true leaves appears, transplant into a cell pack and harden off before planting in the garden. Annual sages prefer full sun and regular watering, though they’ll tolerate some shade and the occasional dry spell. Perennial ornamentals are slightly  more drought tolerant, but regular watering keeps them at their peak.

Dam-Byl recommends adding a slow-release organic fertilizer to the garden bed before planting any ornamental sage. Water in the plants with a liquid fish/seaweed fertilizer combination and give them another dose in midsummer.

Aphids can sometimes be a problem; remove them with a showering of insecticidal soap (or plain water when temperatures are above 25°C) on both the tops and bottoms of the leaves.

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