What Is the Difference Between White Sage & Regular Sage?


Although closely related, white sage (salvia apiana) and common garden sage (salvia officinalis) are different in both appearance and use.


  • The mature leaves of a white sage plant are smooth and white, while the leaves of garden sage are gray or gray/green. Also white sage is slightly larger, growing 4 to 5 feet tall compared to garden sage's 2 feet height max.


  • White sage flowers are mostly white with hints of lavender, while garden sage flowers are usually purple or bluish-purple (although they can sometimes also be lavender or white).


  • White sage is native to the southwest and prefers dry, almost desert conditions, while garden sage is native to the Mediterranean and Spain and needs regular watering (not drought tolerant).


  • Both white sage and garden sage are used for ornamental and medicinal purposes, but white sage is also often used as incense, while garden sage is most commonly used as a seasoning in recipes.

Fun Fact

  • There are over 800 known varieties of salvia (sage).

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