Sage can be grown both indoors
and outdoors, although sometimes growing common sage, Salvia Officinalis,
indoors can be difficult. If you successgfully grow it in a pot indoors
it can be an attractive house plant. An indoor sage will be most
content if it is placed somewhere that it can get direct sunlight, and
where there is not too much dry indoor heat.
If grown outdoors, sage will
be equally happy in a pot or in the ground. A good idea is to create
an area of your garden devoted to herbs where you can harvest your crops
all together without having to run up and down the entire garden.
You can harvest leaves throughout the year, sage being an evergreen plant.
If grown from seed you will need to wait until the plant's second year
of life before obtaining your first leaf harvest.
From the plant's second year
of life onwards, cut back the woody branches in the spring or early summer,
ideally pruning back about one third of the plant's bulk. This will
encourage growth of new leaves.
Once harvested, if you chose
to dry sage leaves, they should be dried slowly and carefully, and kept
in an airtight container to avoid mould.
Interesting Varieties of Sage
Meadow sage (Salvia Pratensis)
is a hairy, slightly aromatic plant which occurs on dry, calcium-rich soil.
The plant is native to Europe, and reaches a height of approximately 1
meter (3 feet). The flowers of the Meadow sage are dark blue and
reach a length of up to two and a half centimeters in length.
White sage (Salvia apiana) reaches
up to a meter, in height. It has highly aromatic leaves with white
to light-violet flowers. It preferents an exposed location and also grows
quite well indoors. White sage is naturally found in the USA, particularly
in the California, Mojave and Sonora desert and in the Norwesten of Mexico.
Like most species of sage,
the white sage has good natural antiseptic characteristics. It can
favourably reduce excessive sweating. Natives Americans used white
sage as a perfume. It is a component of smudge sticks, which are
specially made herbal sticks ignited at the end - the flame is then blown
out and the aromatic glow left to burn in the air.
Purple sage (Salvia officinalis
"Purpurascens") is an attractive and hardy cultivated variety. It
has purple leaves with finely serrated edges. Compared to other sages it
is relatvely easier to grow. It likes the sun and prefers dryish
soil, so it's important not to overwater this paricular variety of herb.
Purple sage will grow to
a height of about 75 centimeters (2 and a half feet) high. Its aromatic
scent is known to attract butterflies and bees. Like common sage, the leaves
can be used to make sage tea.
Red Rooted Sage
These plants an interesting variety which are popular in Chinese herbal medicine. Red Rooted Sage (Salvia
miltiorrhiza) has intriguing green leaves which, if held with the leaf-stalk
pointing downwards, have the look somewhat of a dumpy spaceship.
As indicated by the name, the roots are a bright red. Tea made from
the roots is thought to be therapeutic for hepatitis, as well as helping
in other problems relating to the blood like clots and irregular menstruation.