White sage (also known as Salvia apiana, Grandfather sage and bee sage) is native to a small area in Southern California. It prefers very dry, warm conditions with well-drained soil. Luckily, it is easy to give it the environment it prefers indoors in a container, especially if you do not live in a warm climate. White sage is grown primarily for ornamental, medicinal and olfactory purposes. Its cousin, Salvia officinalis, is the better-known culinary sage. While culinary sage is easy to grow, white sage is a bit pickier about growing conditions.
Choose a terra cotta or ceramic pot for growing white sage. Both terra cotta and ceramic promote better drainage than plastic. Good drainage is essential for white sage.
Fill the pot with a cactus soil mix. White sage, like cactus, prefers a sandy soil mix with extremely good drainage.
Sow white sage seeds no deeper than 1/4 inch. Overseed a bit, as white sage seeds tend to have low germination rates. You can always transplant excess seedlings to another pot when they are mature enough. Place pot in a window that gets full sun. Seeds should germinate within 14 days of planting.
Water immediately after planting, and then daily with your watering can. A watering can is great for houseplants because the force of the water is dispersed. You are less likely to disturb seeds and soil this way.
Thin seedlings to one per small pot (6 inches) or a few per large pot (12 inches or larger) after they have developed two sets of leaves. Thinned seedlings can safely be transplanted to another pot filled with cactus soil mix.
Mulch established seedlings with a layer of sand after you have thinned them. Sand helps with drainage and reflects sunlight back at your sage. Water once a week, but do not fertilize; white sage does not like an overly nutrient-rich environment.
Harvest white sage any time after the plants have matured and produced many leaves. White sage plants are hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit and should have no trouble living indoors, as long as they get full sun, water and proper drainage. White sage is often used as a tea and in smudging ceremonies.