How to Trim Sage Plants

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Pruning sage, as with many perennials, makes it more vigorous.
Pruning sage, as with many perennials, makes it more vigorous. (Image: taille image by Claudio Calcagno from Fotolia.com)

Many plants have sage in the common name, but the herb grown most often for culinary purposes is Salvia officinalis. This sage is a cold-hardy perennial that grows to about two feet tall. It has grayish-green leaves and a distinct sage smell. Sage, like many other herbs, grows better with occasional trimming or pruning. This pruning has a double benefit in making the plant stronger and more vigorous and providing fresh sage for cooking.

Cut back sage plants in the spring. Cut the branches to just above a fork. Springtime is when you should shape sage plants, so prune them according to your idea of how you want them to look.

Prune sage plants again just before they bloom. Prune above a fork in the branch, or above a pair of leaves.

Prune as desired throughout the summer for culinary purposes and to keep the plant from getting leggy.

Let sage plants grow in the fall to let them store food for the winter. Stop pruning in late August or September.

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