Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


Flowers &
Indoor Plants

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Cornell University

salvia officinalis
(sal-vee-ah o-fish-ah-nal-is)

Sage Sage

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What about it?

Sage is a hardy perennial herb belonging to the Mint family. It has oblong leaves with a "pebbly" texture. Flowers are blue in whorls. The stems become stiff and woody in time. Purple variants are available in addition to the familiar gray-green plant.

What is it used for?

Sage is an aromatic herb used in cooking. The scent and taste come from the oils in the leaf. It is traditionally used as an herb in Thanksgiving stuffing. It is also attractive, and many people grow it as an ornamental for its appealing foliage.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

Sage needs a sunny site, good drainage, and lots of mom to grow. Propagate by dividing old plants or by planting seeds.

What are its primary problems?

The oils of the sage herb are considered naturally repellent to insects. Oftentimes, people plant sage in their garden just for this benefit.

How do we harvest and store it?

Pick the outermost leaves first, before the plant has flowered. Early morning, a few hours after sunrise is usually the best time to pick.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.