Varieties of the Sage Plant
The botanical name of true sage is Salvia officinalis. This variety of sage is referred to as common or garden sage, the aromatic herb associated with chicken and turkey stuffing. Salvia officinalis and other varieties of sage grow well outdoors in soil gardens in warm, mild climates. Sage is also a good choice for container gardens because this hardy perennial is an adaptive herb, thriving in less-than-perfect soil as well as potting soil.
Salvia elegans, known as pineapple sage, produces scarlet red flowers that bloom in autumn. In cooler, northern climates, the first frost may arrive before the flowers. If the pineapple plant is taken indoors, however, it may bloom.
Crush the leaves of the pineapple sage and the aroma of freshly sliced pineapple is evident, hence the name pineapple sage. This variety of sage is used less for culinary purposes and may be used as an ornamental or medicinal herb.
Honeydew Melon Sage
Like the pineapple sage, this member of the Salvia family derives its name from its aromatic resemblance to a fruit. The honeydew melon is smaller in growth than its cousin the pineapple sage, but it is as adaptable to soils and also may be used as a culinary herb.
Not a true sage, the Russian sage is a bushier, almost grassy plant with delicate, gray-green leaves and light blue flowers. The Russian sage is a member of the mint family, is an ornamental plant and isn't used for culinary or medicinal purposes.
A true member of the Salvia family, golden sage is used as a culinary and medicinal herb. Like garden sage, this variety grows well in both soil gardens and containers and prefers milder, Mediterranean-type climates.
Golden sage derives its name from the brilliance of the yellow shading on its leaves and so is desirable as an ornamental plant in both flower and vegetable gardens.
A close relative of garden or common sage, the Berggarten sage is more adaptable to cooler climates, having its origins in Germany rather than the milder Mediterranean countries. Similar in leaf structure and color to garden sage, it has a shorter, more compact growth habit. Berggarten also flowers less frequently and with considerably less profusion than garden sage.
Like its close relative, the Berggarten sage is used in both culinary and medicinal applications. It offers an equally savory flavoring, and its medicinal properties match those of the garden sage.