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How to Care for Sage Plants

fresh sage image by joanna wnuk from

Sage is a perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. It is used in many savory dishes and is considered a valuable addition to many foods. Sage comes in a few different varieties and grows well outdoors or indoors, as long as its needs are met. It handles different climates well and is fairly hardy. However, moisture is the No. 1 concern for the plant; too much water will kill it. If you care for sage plants, you can extend their life and cook with the versatile herb for years to come.

Plant sage seeds in a small container in March to be kept indoors. Fill the container with potting soil, and place a few seeds 2 inches apart in the soil. Water until the soil is moist and then hold off; sage prefers dry soil.

Move the sage plants outdoors once the threat of frost passes. Choose a location that gets at least a few hours of sun per day.

Make small holes in the ground and fill them with a mixture of potting soil and bone meal. Place the roots of the sage plants into the holes.

Cover the sage plants' roots with a combination of bone meal and potting soil. Water the area.

Resist the temptation to water the sage plants. They do better in dry conditions with little to no care. Over-watering will stunt the plants' growth and kill their roots.

Cut off old sage leaves with pruning shears after the fall harvest. Removing them will make way for new growth. Let the sage plants go dormant in the winter. You can protect them by mulching around their base with straw or leaves. They will revive themselves come spring.

Replant Sage

Cut a 6-inch length of stem from the sage plant with the pruning shears. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle. Choose a stem from the outer edge of the plant. It should still be green, not woody. Make a small hole in the mix, then place the end of the stem in the hole. Push the stem in no more than 2 inches deep. It will take up to a month for the sage cutting to form roots. Do not let the mix dry out. Use garden soil that drains well and that has not been contanimated by disease. Instead, gently tap the bottom of the pot and pull the pot away from the soil. Set the root ball of the sage in the hole in the garden or container. Fill in the hole with garden soil or container mix and press down gently.

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