What Is the Proper Way to Get Sage Off of a Sage Plant?


Sage provides both an attractive landscape plant and a culinary herb. More a small shrub than a bedding plant, sage has silver-green leaves and produces small, lavender flowers. Use the leaves either fresh or dried in a variety of recipes to add a aromatic, musky flavor. Harvesting the sage leaves properly ensures this perennial herb continues to thrive in the garden even after the bounty has been picked. Harvest sage as needed throughout the summer or save the leaves after pruning the plant.

Step 1

Prune back the entire plant at midsummer when the sage stops flowering and again in early fall. Cut approximately 6 inches from the top of the sage plant using a pair of clean shears. Cut off each stem right above a leaf or leaf bud.

Step 2

Strip the leaves from the pruned stems. Store in a sealed bag or container in the refrigerator for fresh use or in a dark pantry after they have dried.

Step 3

Pick individual leaves for use between pruning. Pluck leaves from the outside of the plant or cut off entire stems at the base as needed. Young leaves often are more flavorful as these have a larger store of aromatic oils.

Tips and Warnings

  • If disease is a concern in your garden, prevent the spread by sterilizing your shears prior to harvesting sage. Wash the shears in a solution of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water to destroy any disease-causing organisms.

Things You'll Need

  • Shears
  • Storage containers


  • University of Wisconsin Extension: Sage
Keywords: harvesting sage, picking sage leaves, herb gardening

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.