How to Care for a Sage Bush


Sage is an attractive culinary herb. Its gray-green leaves and small purple flowers are suitable in both herb beds and ornamental beds. Sage is a larger plant, reaching up to 2 feet tall and having a full, shrub-like appearance. Sage leaves are used in many dishes and sauces, adding a strong, aromatic flavor. Properly caring for your sage bush ensures that it will continue to look its best while offering peak flavor in the kitchen.

Step 1

Plant sage in a well-drained, full-sun garden bed. Avoid planting in areas that are prone to standing water after it rains.

Step 2

Water sage once a week during the first year after planting. Provide approximately 1 inch of water in a single irrigation if the plant received no natural rainfall. Beginning in the second year, water only during extended dry periods.

Step 3

Trim the plant in spring, cutting it back by approximately one-third and removing any dead or damaged branches. Prune as needed throughout summer to control long, leggy branches and to maintain the full shape of the plant.

Step 4

Apply mulch around the sage plants to prevent weeds and maintain soil moisture. Use either organic mulch such as bark or inorganic mulch such as pebbles.

Step 5

Harvest sage leaves as needed prior to flowering in late summer. Cut off stems from the outer parts of the plant but remove no more than half the leaves at any given time. Removing too many leaves may cause the plant to die or stop producing for the year.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid planting sage too close together, as this may make the plants prone to insects or disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Mulch


  • University of Illinois Extension: Sage
  • University of Wisconsin: Sage
Keywords: caring for sage bush, herb gardening, sage plants

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.