Sage, would you guess it, an other herb from the Mediterranean and is very popular in meat dishes. Sage and onion stuffing apart, this herb wonderfully complements rich meats like pork and duck. The whole leaves can be laid on joints during roasting, while freshly chopped young leaves often added to kebabs, cheese, pickles or salads. Its tea was drunk in Europe before the other tea arrived from China and it was widely used as a medicinal herb.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a perennial, woody subshrub, growing about 1m tall, with silky silver leaves and small purple flowers. There are many cultivars of this herb around the world but the most common and hardiest is the common variety and the purple variety is also popular. After flowering the plants should be pruned gently with secateurs, this is a good time too to propagate cuttings.
This perennial will last for many years in your garden and if you have a shrub and would like to renew it after 3-4 years, the best is to grow new plants from cuttings. Take cuttings from your old plant, from where the woody bit starts, in June – July, cut 7-9 cm off the plant with a sharp knife or just tear off with your hands. Strip the leaves of the bottom third of the cuttings and place them into a sand and ordinary potting compost mixture into small pots, put about 4 cuttings per pot on the edge of the pot. Place the pot in a propagator or seal it into a clear plastic bag and place the cuttings out of direct sunlight. After about 4 weeks you should have rooted little sage plants. Pot them into individual pots and grow them on inside for a few weeks before transplanting them to their final position. After about three months you should be able to start harvesting from your young sage plants.
Growing Sage from seeds
Sage is a slow-growing perennial herb, and these herb seeds can be sown in seed trays or in pots inside early in the spring. And you will have to be patient if you want to plant seeds. Sow the sage seeds in the spring into ordinary compost about half an inch deep and water regularly but make sure the compost is never soggy. Germination takes 10-14 days. Many people use fresh, young leaves in their cooking, but are careful with harvesting the leaves from the young plants. If you want to keep the plants and plant them outside it is recommended not to cut the leaves for the first year if you raised the plant from seeds. After the seedlings have 3 pairs of true leaves transplant them into individual pots and keep them inside or outside in a sheltered but sunny position.
This Mediterranean herb loves direct sunshine and dry spells, so make sure NOT to water your established plants even in dry summers. The plants grow well in most type of soil.
Many perennial herbs are happy in medium sized container. Keep the plants on the dry side during their life and keep the on the sunniest spot possible. You can plant this herb indoors too in a sunny windowsill, sage loves direct sunlight and drier conditions.