The Common Sage


Origin
Sage (Salvia officinalis), the type species, comes from the Mediterranean basin but also from North Africa, and from West Asia. Its Latin name "salvare" means "save" or "heal". Already in the Middle Ages, its leaves and flowers were used as an infusion and decoction, as it was associated with immortality and longevity. Nowadays, it is especially widespread for its culinary assets and is found in many pharmacy products.


General information
Sage, named in many ways (common sage, garden sage, golden grass,...), has about 900 species which can be annual, biennial, perennial or shrub. This one is perennial but in our climates it is rather cultivated as annual. There are many varieties of sage, but all are cultivated more or less in the same way. Condimentary, decorative and very melliferous, it is not for nothing that many consider this aromatic herbaceous plant as the queen of aromatic plants.

Hardy Yes
Watering Low
Exposure Sunny
Lifespan Perennial


Culture
There are several ways to propagate sage:
Sowing:
It can be done in shelters at the end of winter or in place in spring. Three or four seeds should be sown in every hole. Spacing of 80 cm between rows and 40 cm between plants is considered ideal for sage. After germination (which takes about 3 weeks) it is necessary to thin out to keep only one plant per pocket (the most vigorous).
Cutting:
Once the plant is 2-3 years old, cutting can be done, but always in summer. For this, the lower leaves of the stem to be cut must be removed and then the cut stem must be planted in well-drained substrate.
Layering:
It generally does it by itself but it can be helped by burying some wounded stems that will form new roots. Once well developed, they can be separated from the mother plant.
Root division:
With a spade, in spring, the clump must be cut in half and then be replanted.


Location / Exposure
This famous aromatic herb likes warm and sunny locations as well as loose soil, well-drained, rather dry, and poor. It is good to plan crop rotation every 4-5 years.


Care
Just a few simple things to do. In order to maintain a bushy habit, the plant should be somewhat shrunken each year in spring or after flowering in summer. It is also necessary to renew the foot regularly because, over time, it loses its aroma. Sage hates moisture, so unless there is severe drought or when the soil is very dry, it does not need watering.


Harvest
The harvest can begin after one year of cultivation and can be done in any season but leaves are more fragrant in spring and summer. The scent is also more intense when the leaves are dry. If they are going to be dried (always in the shade), then it must be young shoots harvested before flowering.


Overwintering
Being very hardy, this plant can spend winter outside as long as it receives a lot of light.