How to Cut Back Perennial Sage


Often referred to as the herb of eternal youth, sage has many healing and culinary uses. An attractive plant with its fuzzy, greenish-gray foliage, sage seldom blooms. Most commonly used for seasoning soups, stews, meats and stuffing, leaves can also be used in tea to relieve headaches and hot flashes. With routine care and occasional pruning, sage lives for several years in the home garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden clippers
  • Cut sage foliage back to 4 to 6 inches from the ground in the spring when new growth appears. Make cuts at the base of the leaves where they join the main stem, or cut bluntly across the top of the entire plant. Remove any dead or decaying plant material from around the plant.

  • Cut sage back by 6 inches when growth reaches a height of 12 inches. Greg Stack, Extension Educator at the University of Illinois, explains that this causes the plant to grow with dense, compact foliage.

  • Cut sage back by several inches after blooming to encourage new growth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Grow sage in a sunny location in well-drained soil.
  • Renew your sage plants every three to four years, as they eventually become woody.
  • Trim individual leaves for culinary use throughout the summer. Clip the leaf free from the stem at the base of the leaf.

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