What Is Sage Plant?

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Salvia officinalis, or sage plant, is a perennial herb first discovered growing in the Mediterranean. As part of the Lamiaceae (or mint plant) family, it also grows wild in North America today and gets cultivated in many parts of the world. Sage goes by other names, such as: Common Sage, Dalmatian Sage, Tibbi Adacayi, Broadleaf Sage, Sarubia, and Spanish Sage.

Characteristics

  • Dense and upright, the sage plant bush grows two to three feet tall with rough, silvery green oval-shaped leaves. The woody stems hold flowers colored purple, pink, red, or white (depending on their variety).

Growing Conditions

  • The sage plant should receive full sunlight in moderately rich, well-drained soil with the ideal pH range of 6.0 to 6.7. It flowers in June and grows best in zones 5 to 9. The seedlings need constant moisture but should receive water in only dry weather when they're mature.

Uses

  • Sage plant leaves serve aromatic, culinary, decorative, cosmetic and medicinal purposes. They're placed, fresh or dried, as seasoning in many foods but particularly poultry or pork stuffing and in sausages. They also flavor herbal butter, soups, vinegars, omelets and salads.

    Sage provides fragrance in potpourris, infusions in hair coloring, and skin stimulation for facial steams, lotions, and baths. You can even find sage in some insect repellents. Finally, among other properties, the plant also has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral qualities for many health remedies.

Benefits

  • Due to its stimulating properties, tea brewed from sage leaves has served as a tonic for hundreds of years. In the medieval age in Europe, people thought it provided wisdom and increased memory capacity. Today, sage serves to decrease swelling and coughing and heal cuts, mouth ulcers, sprains, sore throats, joint pain, and abdominal and menstrual symptoms.

Disease & Pests

  • The sage plant doesn't usually have problems with disease or pests, but it can prove vulnerable to fungal root disease if grown in too damp or too shady conditions. Good drainage prevents root rot, but humid and poorly ventilated conditions can produce mildew. Slugs, spittlebugs, and spider mites may want to infest the herb.

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