Sage - Salvia officinalis

The sage

Sage, or rather Salvia Officinalis, is an evergreen shrub that grows in thick bushes. It is native to southern Europe and is widespread in all countries with a mild climate and in all Italian regions. The stem of the sage, when the plant is young, is green in color, to become darker and woody during its growth. The leaves are gray-green, elongated oval in shape, in the upper part they are velvety, while in the lower part they are rougher and have clearly visible veins, an essential oil is extracted from them. In the common sage, the Officinalis one, the flowers are violet in color, they grow asymmetrically on top of the stems, they have the characteristic of being hermaphrodites, this means that in the same flower there are both male and female reproductive organs, the pollination occurs thanks to insects.

The sage plant can reach a height of 70 centimeters.

Sage was known since ancient times: the Egyptians, Romans and medieval populations considered it the herb that healed all ailments.


Sage has many species, to name them all we should write pages and pages; below we will talk about some of these.

Salvia Officinalis: it is a small perennial species, the maximum height it can reach is below one meter. It is the wild version of sage, the one we use in the kitchen to flavor our dishes, it is found in the meadows, has silver-green leaves and violet flowers that grow together in the upper part of the branches. The best known varieties of this species are Salvia Officinalis Olbiflora with white flowers and Salvia Officinalis Purpurascens with red flowers, it is used in cooking but has the characteristic of having harder leaves than the one described above, it is excellent for therapeutic use.

Clary Sage: this species, also perennial, has European origins, with heart-shaped leaves and blue flowers that begin to grow and blossom at the beginning of the summer season, it can reach a height of one meter. This plant is particularly rich in essential oils so it is often used to prepare perfumes and essences, to aromatize wines.

A rare and particular species is the Salvia Desoleana typical of Sardinia, it has large leaves covered with light hair, the flowers are white streaked with brown, it has a characteristic aroma. We also have other species that are known for their very original aromas: Salvia Dorisiana with a fruity aroma, Salvia Greggii with a peach aroma, Salvia Rutilans with the original pineapple aroma.

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The name sage derives from the Latin salus, which means health, thanks to the medicinal and healing properties of this plant. Even today, sage is widely used in cooking to flavor dishes, in some Italian regions ravioli with poured butter and sage are very famous; placing in closets helps keep moths away. Sage is very effective for treating states of depression, malaise and calming asthma attacks, but not only that, it also has an antiseptic, anti-sweat, hypoglycemic, stimulating, expectorant and digestive power. Sage extract strengthens the gums and is an excellent teeth whitener.

Even if the scent of sage is very inviting, be careful not to overdo it, because it contains a highly toxic substance that, taken in high doses, can create problems.

Soil and Cultivation Techniques

Sage is grown up to an altitude of 800-900 meters, it needs a neutral or not very rich in limestone and sandy soil, characterized by excellent drainage, soils rich in acidity are absolutely not recommended. Cultivation is also quite easy because sage is a plant that likes sun and heat; the optimal exposure would be in full sun.

The best cultivation for sage would be in open field although it can be perfectly grown in our homes in pots. The life of the sage is relatively short, in fact after about 5-6 years it withers and it will be necessary to replace it with a new one.

If grown outdoors, sage can also withstand temperatures below zero.


As already described for many other plants, the multiplication of sage occurs by seed or cutting. The seeds should be distributed in parallel rows and buried at the beginning of the spring season. The container must be placed in a shaded area at a temperature of about 18 ° C, the soil must always have constant humidity until the seeds germinate. Generally, sprouting occurs after about three weeks. It is advisable to bury a good quantity of seeds, the percentage of germination is quite low. As already explained for the multiplication of other plants, the container with the seeds should be covered with plastic so that the temperature and the degree of humidity remain constant and the soil with dry too quickly. Always check, every day or every two, the state of the soil. When the first shoots are seen, remove the plastic and increase the dose of light as the plants develop, remembering to give them a good air exchange. At this point, the weakest plants must be eliminated in order to provide more space for development to the more luxuriant ones. When the seedlings are well grown they will need to be gently transplanted into another pot with a well-drained and sandy soil. There are two right times to take the cuttings: March-April or June-July. The length of the vegetative apexes is around 8-10 centimeters and the mother plants must have reached about 2-3 years of age. As already recommended in other articles, remember to always use a sharp and clean knife to take the cuttings, so as not to damage or infect them. Proceed with the elimination of the lower leaves and, with the usual procedure, put the cut part in a substance that favors root development. Now take a pot with two parts of fertile soil and one of sand and make as many holes as there are cuttings at our disposal; here too the pot will be covered with plastic and placed in a shady place where the temperature will remain around 18 ° C and the soil must always remain humid. Check the situation every day. At the first shoots, remove the plastic and increase the amount of light, keep the temperature at 18 ° C and wait for the cuttings to become more robust; when the cuttings have grown enough transplant them into a larger pot or into the ground.

Fertilization and Irrigation

The sage plant should be fertilized with liquid fertilizer mixed with the water used for irrigation and should be administered every 15 days in spring and summer. As with other aromatic plants, the fertilizer must be rich in nitrogen but also in other elements such as phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, molybdenum, manganese, zinc, boron. This plant should not be watered much, once every 3 weeks will be enough. Always pay close attention to water stagnations, even sage fears them a lot and they are one of the most frequent causes that lead sage to death; before proceeding with a subsequent watering, let the soil dry.

Pruning and Harvesting

Towards the end of the summer season, after flowering, it would be advisable to prune the plant to encourage the development of new vegetation.

The leaves are harvested in the spring and autumn seasons, they are cleaned with a cloth and are ready for culinary use; if they are not used immediately they can be dried in the shade and stored.

Weeds and Diseases

Sage is prone to many diseases, below we will explain some of them and suggest the main remedies.

If the leaves are covered with white mold, it means that the plant has been affected by white mold, this disease is caused by the Erysiphe, a fungus. It is not a dangerous disease, it is necessary to proceed with the detachment of the infested parts of the plant.

If you notice that small black spots form on the leaves, it could be a Downy mildew infestation, this is also a fungus, but it can do a lot of harm to the health of the plant. Symptoms manifest themselves with the rolling up of the leaves, withering and falling. The use of copper-based fungicides is recommended.

This plant also suffers from root rot. This disease is caused by fungi (Pythium and Rhizoctonia) that proliferate when there is a lot of humidity. The only solution is not to exceed with the supply of water and thus avoid water stagnation.

The symptoms that the plant manifests after undergoing an attack of nematodes are: yellowing and lesions of the leaves with consequent fall of the same. Avoid creating too much moisture and wetting the leaves. If the disease is already advanced, remove the infested parts. The red spider is also an enemy of this plant, it causes the leaves to roll up and creates white cobwebs in their lower part. The ideal environment for the multiplication of this mite is the absence of humidity, to remedy this attack and therefore increase it. Finally, we come to aphids, if you are faced with an infestation caused by these lice, proceed with the administration of pesticides.

At the table!

Sage is a traditional aromatic plant of Mediterranean cuisine, often used to give that extra touch of flavor to our dishes. There are numerous ways to use this special ingredient in cooking and create innovative and tasty dishes. The leaves of the plant can be used both fresh and dried, both to garnish dishes and thus give a better aesthetic appearance to the dish and as a real dish to be enjoyed. Sage has quite fleshy leaves that can be covered with batter and then fried in a pan. You can then prepare tasty sage-based risottos, omelettes, appetizers, pasta dressings with poured butter and sage and much more. Get in the kitchen and experiment with new dishes with sage!

Salvia officinalis

An edible herbaceous perennial herb in the mint family, common sage is a welcome plant to many gardens. It offers great texture and sensory observations with its ovate, furry gray-green fragrant leaves. Its bluish-purple 2-lipped flowers grace the plant in early summer and attract butterflies and bees. Plant it in full sun, although it will tolerate very light shade, in well-drained soil and apply medium moisture, not letting the soil get too wet. Tall plants may require some staking. There are several cultivars that come in many leaf colors that contrast nicely with other brighter green plants in the landscape.

The edible flowers have an herbal, musky flavor. Do not eat in large amounts.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Soils that are too wet can cause rot.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

Profile Video: See this plant in the following landscapes: Pollinator and Culinary Garden Cultivars / Varieties:

  • 'Berggarten'
  • 'Icterina'
    Variegated leaves chartreuse
  • 'Purpurascens'
    Purple tinge to leaves
  • 'Tricolor'
    Variegated leaves white and purple
'Berggarten', 'Icterina', 'Purpurascens', 'Tricolor' Tags: #drought tolerant # perennial # wildlife plant # fragrant leaves # nectar plant # velvety # variegated leaves # rabbit resistant # herb garden # food source # deer resistant # vegetable garden # blind # sensory # rock gardens # borders # hairy leaves # edible garden # hairy stems # butterfly friendly # bee friendly # non-toxic for horses # non-toxic for dogs # non-toxic for cats

Salvia officinalis Anne Heathen CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 S. officinalis Berggarten bloom detail Debbie Roos Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens' Lindley Ashline CC BY-NC 2.0 Salvia officinalis 'Tricolor' Phillipi Iacono CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Salvia officinalis 'Icterina' Lenora Enking CC-BY-SA 2.0 Leaves Kathleen Moore CC BY 4.0 Close up of purple flower Kathleen Moore CC BY 4.0 Bracts remain after flowering- photo taken mid-summer. Kathleen Moore CC BY 4.0 Underside of leaf Kathleen Moore CC BY 4.0 Opposite leaf attachment to hairy stems Kathleen Moore CC BY 4.0 Salvia officinalis 'Tricolor' Form Jim Robbins CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Leaves Close-Up (Durham County, NC) Andrea Laine CC BY-NC 4.0 flowers, Cabarrus County, NC Hope Duckworth CC BY 4.0 leaves, Cabarrus County, NC Hope Duckworth CC BY 4.0 'Berggarten', form, Wilson Botanical Garden, Wilson County, NC Will Lewis CC BY 4.0 'Tricolor', form, Wilson Botanical Garden, Wilson County, NC Will Lewis CC BY 4.0 form, Wilson Botanical Garden, Wilson County, NC Will Lewis CC BY 4.0


Assisi Events October: SAGE FESTIVAL 2021 and "At Lavandeto it is the time of the garden" Events in Umbria 2021 Events Assisi 2021. Sage feast! PROGRAM AND INFORMATION: SAGE AND GARDEN FESTIVAL At the park of the farm and nursery: IL LAVANDETO DI ASSISI Castelnuovo Di Assisi Via dei Laghetti (Pg) Free admission. (Respect the Covid rules. We are outdoors in 2 hectares of fields and gardens.) Horticultural and handicraft market of the production of Il Lavandeto di Assisi. "Al Lavandeto is the time of the garden" Event dedicated to nature and gardening. "We are happy to invite you in the month of October, the month of St. Francis, a saint who infinitely loved nature, to" Al Lavandeto is the time of the garden: Exhibition and sale of our collections of unusual plants and our lavender handicrafts. This event, organized privately by our small nursery, is an opportunity to spend a weekend in the countryside admiring the beauties offered by nature, in this case, the garden of ornamental sages and the garden of aromatic herbs, the ponds with water lilies and loti, the gardens with dry plants with very long blooms, all with the beautiful background of Assisi. October is the best month to create the garden so we organize a small market exhibition with our collection of plants and our lavender products. During the two days there will be guided tours to discover and learn about beautiful and fragrant plants, also ideal for your green spaces. Program (concise) What do you do at the feast of the sages? It is mandatory to respect the rules for COVID that will be in force at the moment. The space is over 2 hectares so the entrance is free and free is open from 10:00 to 19:00 you can arrive and leave at any time, there is no need to book, you can bring the dogs if they are docile and on a leash. It takes place in our fields and gardens in Castelnuovo di Assisi, where you can walk and take pictures in complete freedom (CHILDREN MUST BE CHECKED.). In our gardens you will be able to learn about rare and easy to grow plants that have few needs and beautiful blooms. Il Lavandeto di Assisi is a nursery specialized in some types of plants and we have also grounded them to let you discover them too and give you the opportunity to plant them in your garden or on your balcony. We are able to give you advice based on experience, which are useful and precious because we also cultivate them on the ground as well as producing and selling them. At the sage festival you can visit the sage garden, the new garden of lively perennials, the gardens of aromatic plants, the two ponds with water lilies, lotuses, aquatic plants, marshes and goldfish and gambusa and other gardens with perennials and grasses . Take part in the guided tours that take place in the morning (around 11.00 am) and in the afternoon (around 4.30 pm) Stroll and buy the plants of our collections, lavender crafts and discover our gift ideas for Christmas, which you can then also buy on our e-commerce site. Participate in the courses of ointments and oleolites, herbal teas only by advance booking 2-hour course, with didactic material held by Dr. Marila 331 5040661 Observe the distillation of aromatic herbs carried out with a small still Photo competition! For lunch we provide our tables and you can bring Picnic or if you want to buy it to take away for example at Il Girasole Restaurant in Castelnuovo di Assisi, or we can recommend the trattoria da Mame 'in Santa Maria Degli Angeli. Drinks are available at the party. We are waiting for you!

Salvia elegans cultivation


He loves airy, bright and sunny places for many hours a day. It does not tolerate humid or harsh climates, fears frost and cold winter winds. The sage elegans grown in pots should be grown in a sunny area and in winter it should be moved to a protected and bright place.


It prefers loose and well-drained soils with a neutral pH. The optimal cultivation substrate must be composed of good slightly calcareous soil mixed with a part of sand. It struggles to grow in compact and heavy soils.


Salvia elegans grown in the open ground should be watered only during periods of prolonged drought and in summer. The plant grown in pots needs a regular supply of water while waiting for the soil to be completely dry.


From spring until the end of summer, to encourage the development of new leaves, every 20 days, administer liquid fertilizer rich in nitrogen (N), suitably diluted in the water used for irrigation.

Sage cultivation: the sowing period

The sage seed is very small and has one low germinability, consequently if you decide to sow it is better to abound, because not all seeds will end up germinating.

As for the sage planting period, the best period is that of early spring, both as regards the cultivation in pots and for that in the open field.

In this way, it will be possible to proceed with the transplantation of the seedling formed in May.

Versatile sage family includes the herb, sage

Published 12:14 am Thursday, April 1, 2021

By Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Salvia is one of the groups of plants that everyone should have in their landscape.

This plant group has flowers with a wide-ranging color palette and different sizes. Salvias are loved - by me especially - because of their ability to attract pollinators, butterflies and hummingbirds.

But there’s another type of salvia that smart gardeners grow, and it’s known botanically as Salvia officinalis. If that doesn't sound familiar, consider its common name: sage. This salvia is one of the most recognized and used culinary herbs.

Sage is considered a perennial herb, but I find it to be unreliable in years two and three. I take the worry out of the equation and replant each spring.

I love common sage with its grayish-green, coarse leaves, but there are more foliage color options.

Icterina is variegated, with dark-green centers and light, golden-yellow edges. I've grown this variety and love how the colors intensify with the cooler air of fall and winter. Tricolor has a beautiful, irregular pattern of variegated green, white and pinkish foliage. The variegated foliage makes this selection the perfect choice for the edible ornamental garden.

Purple Sage is the filler, with textured foliage that emerges a handsome reddish-purple color that also gets bolder in cooler weather.

While it is useful in the garden for its color, don't forget its value as a great culinary herb. My favorite sage use is with rotisserie chicken, and I stuff fresh sage underneath the skin.

At my house, we also harvest fresh leaves to dry in our dehydrator for recipe use later. Dehydrating is easy just remember to set the temperature about 95 degrees. In my experience, dehydrating at higher temperatures results in dried sage that has an unappetizing, gray color.

Sage is an easy herb to grow in either a raised bed or container. Once established in the spring, sage has the ability to handle droughty summer weather. In fact, like many herbs, the heat of summer can intensify its wonderful essential oils. But this comes at a cost of reduced leaf production, so keep the plants well hydrated to maintain an ample supply of aromatic foliage.

There really is only one thing that will decrease your success growing sage, and that is keeping the plants too wet. This is why growing them in containers using well-drained potting soil is my No. 1 choice. Raised beds come in a close second because of their enhanced drainage.

I recommend pinching out the flowers when they form during the summer months to keep the leaf production going. I also go against some of the herbal “sage advice” and add a little fertilizer during the year to help promote more foliage growth.

Pests and diseases of Salvia elegans

It is a plant sensitive to attacks by aphids, cochineal, red spider and whitefly.

Its leaves and especially the tender shoots are hungry for slugs and snails which in a short time cause great damage and spoil its beauty.

If the soil is not well drained, it suffers from root rot which if not prevented it transmits to all other parts of the plant. Given the food use of the plant, chemical treatments are not recommended.

Cures and treatments

In winter, protect the base of the bush with straw mulch or dry leaves.

The treatments should be carried out only in case of need and with organic products if you intend to use the leaves for food purposes.

For the fight against aphids, the nettle or garlic pesticide is effective. To fight against snails, just sprinkle some chimney ash at the foot of the shrub.

Use of pineapple sage in the kitchen

The leaves of this variety of sage like those of Salvia officinalis are aromatic and for their flavor and aroma similar to pineapple the leaves are used fresh for the preparation of pancakes, fruit salads, cocktails, fresh and refreshing drinks and, they are often added to fresh cheeses to enhance their flavor.

Medicinal properties of pineapple sage

In popular and homeopathic medicine, the leaves of pineapple sage are used for the preparation of herbal teas or digestive infusions, for the treatment of gastric disorders, to combat stress, infections of the oral cavity, flu symptoms, sore throats and colds. .

L'infusion it is also recommended as a general tonic, antiseptic, diuretic and in case of asthma, infections of the mouth, throat and respiratory tract, flu, cold.

The compresses they are excellent for relieving itching caused by dermatitis of various kinds.

The rinses or i gargling made with the infusion of leaves, they perfume the breath, strengthen the gums and counteract the formation of plaque.

Curiosities about sage

The name of the Salvia plant comes from the Latin salvus (except) or salus (health), for its therapeutic virtues. The ancient Egyptians, in fact, used sage as a medicinal plant for the treatment of many ailments and commonly called it the plant that saves.

Today, as in ancient times, the leaves of this variety of sage are also used dried to perfume linen. When burned, they eliminate the bad smells of fried foods and sanitize the house.

Video: Propagate sage salvia

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