Salvia officinalis

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 Salvia officinalis subsp. var.  Common sage, Garden sage
Botanischer Garten Berlin - Salbei.jpg
Habit: shrub
Height: to
Width: to
30in .6m
Height: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to 30 in
Width: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to .6 m
Lifespan: perennial
Poisonous: can be toxic in excess
Bloom: early summer, mid summer, late summer
Exposure: sun
Water: moist, moderate, dry
Features: evergreen, flowers, edible, drought tolerant
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 5 to 10
Sunset Zones:
Flower features: red, blue, purple, pink, white
Lamiaceae > Salvia officinalis var. ,

Salvia officinalis (Sage, Common sage, Garden sage, Kitchen sage, Culinary sage, Dalmatian sage, Purple sage, Broadleaf sage, Red sage) is a small perennial evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region and commonly grown as a kitchen and medicinal herb or as an ornamental garden plant. The word sage or derived names are also used for a number of related and unrelated species.

An evergreen Shrub growing to 0.6m by 0.6m.

It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Salvia officinalis, Linn. Sage. Hardy, white-woolly subshrub, 6-12 in. high: sts. shrubby, the flowering branches tomentose-pubescent: lvs. entire, 1-1 1/2 in. long, petiolate, oblong, base narrowed or rotund, the lower white-tomentose or lanate beneath or on both surfaces; the floral lvs. sessile, ovate, acuminate at the base, membranaceous, striate: racemes subsimple; floral whorls few, many-fld., distinct; calyx campanulate, membranaceous-colored, striate, pubescent or villous, the teeth subulate-acuminate; corolla purple, blue or white. Medit. region. June.—A common and variable species.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


Requires a very well-drained light sandy soil in a sunny position[200]. Prefers a calcareous soil[4, 14]. Dislikes heavy or acid soils[1, 16]. Succeeds in dry soils, tolerating drought once it is established[190]. Sage can be killed by excessive winter wet[200] and winter-planted bushes often die[208]. A very ornamental plant[1], sage is commonly grown in the herb garden for culinary and medicinal purposes. There are some named varieties[182, 183]. 'Albiflora' is said to be the best culinary sage[11]. 'Purpurea' has tougher leaves than the type and makes a better tooth cleaner[K]. Plants need to be trimmed in late spring in order to keep them compact[200]. They tend to degenerate after a few years and are best replaced after about 4 years[4]. The leaves emit a unique pungent aroma when pressed[245]. A good companion for many plants, including rosemary, cabbages and carrots[14, 18, 20, 54], the growing plant is said to repel insects. It is inhibited by wormwood growing nearby and dislikes growing with basil, rue or the cucumber and squash family[14, 18, 20, 54].


Seed - sow March/April in a greenhouse[1]. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. In areas where the plant is towards the limits of its hardiness, it is best to grow the plants on in a greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of heeled shoots, taken off the stem in May and planted out directly into the garden grow away well[182]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, June to August in a frame[78]. Easy. Cuttings of mature wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, November/December in a cold frame[78]. Layering in spring or autumn. Mound soil up into the plants, the branches will root into this soil and they can be removed and planted out 6 - 12 months later.

Pests and diseases


Cultivars: There are a number of cultivars, with the majority grown as ornamentals rather than for their herbal properties. All are valuable as small ornamental flowering shrubs, and for their use as a low ground cover, especially in sunny dry environments. They are easily propagated from summer cuttings, and some cultivars are produced from seeds. Named cultivars include:

  • 'Purpurascens', a purple-leafed cultivar
  • 'Tricolor', a cultivar with white, yellow and green variegated leaves
  • 'Albiflora', A narrow-leaved form with white flowers, it is said to be the best culinary sage[11, 244].
  • 'Berggarten', a cultivar with large leaves
  • 'Icterina', a cultivar with yellow-green variegated leaves
  • 'Alba', a white-flowered cultivar
  • 'Extrakta', has leaves with higher oil concentrations
  • 'Lavandulaefolia', a small leaved cultivar

Var. albiflora; Alef., has lvs. 3-4 times as long as broad: fls. white.

Var. aurea, Hort., is a compact rather dwarf form about 1 ft. high, with golden yellow foliage.

Var. aurea variegata, Hort., is offered in the trade.

Var. crispa, Alef., has broad, crisped and variegated lvs. Var. icterina, Alef., has green-and-gold lvs.

Var. latifolia, Alef., has lvs. twice as long as broad; one of the common cult. forms.

Var. Milleri, Alef., has rather red and spotted lvs. Var. purpurascens, Alef., has somewhat reddish foliage and is said to be preferred in England for kitchen use on account of its strong and pleasant taste.

Var. rubriflora, Alef., has lvs. 3—4 times as long as broad, and red fls. Var. salicifolia, Alef., has lvs. 4-7 times as long as broad. Var. sturnina, Alef., has green-and-white lvs.

Var. tricolor, Vilm. (S. tricolor, Hort., not Lem.), has lvs. of three colors, gray-green, veined with yellowish white and flesh-pink, later becoming velvety rose-red or deep red.

Var. tenuior, Alef., has lvs. about 3—4 times as long as broad and blue fls. This is the form commonly cult. as a kitchen herb.



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