Care Of Potted Sage Herbs – How To Grow Sage Plant Indoors
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By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Sage (Salvia officinalis) is commonly used in poultry dishes and stuffing, especially during the winter holidays. Those living in cold climates may think dried sage is the only option. Perhaps you’ve wondered, “Can sage be grown indoors?” The answer is yes, growing sage indoors during winter months is possible. Proper care of potted sage herbs indoors provides ample leaves of this distinct herb to use fresh in holiday meals.
How to Grow Sage Plant Indoors
Learning how to grow sage plant indoors is not difficult when you understand that lots of light is necessary for successfully growing sage indoors. A sunny window with several hours of sunlight is a good start whenever you are growing sage in containers. Likely though, the sunny window will not give potted sage plants enough light to flourish abundantly. Therefore, supplemental lighting can improve the situation and is often necessary for the care of potted sage herbs.
Sage needs six to eight hours of full sun daily. If your sunny window does not provide this much daily sun, use fluorescent lighting when growing sage indoors. A double fluorescent tube mounted under a counter top, without cabinets underneath, can provide the perfect spot for sage in containers. For every hour of sunlight required, give growing sage indoors two hours under the light. Place the potted herb at least 5 inches (13 cm.) from the light, but no further away than 15 inches (38 cm.). If artificial light alone is used when growing sage in containers, give it 14 to 16 hours daily.
Successfully learning how to grow sage plant indoors will include using the right soil too. Sage, like most herbs, does not require a rich and fertile soil, but the potting medium must provide good drainage. Clay pots assist in drainage.
Care of Potted Sage Herbs
As part of your care of potted sage herbs, you will need to keep the plants in a warm area, away from drafts, in temperatures around 70 F. (21 C.). Provide humidity when growing sage indoors, with a nearby pebble tray or humidifier. Including other herbs in containers nearby will also help. Water as needed, letting the top inch (2.5 cm.) of soil dry out between waterings.
When using fresh herbs, use two to three times more than when using herbs that are dried and harvest the herbs often to encourage growth.
Now that the question “Can sage be grown indoors” has been answered, give it a try for use in Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.
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Sage: The Ultimate Guide to Growing Sage
Culinary superstar sage is a pretty, low shrub with pale, velvet-soft greyish green leaves. A member of the mint family, sage is easy to grow and does well in containers, the ground and indoors. If you’re looking to add a new herb to your mix this year, read on to learn everything you need to know about this hardy, versatile plant.
What is sage?
Sage (salvia officinalis) is a widely cultivated herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family. The plant has a powerful spicy and aromatic flavor that is also bitter and astringent.
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The flavor of sage varies greatly depending on the variety grown and the growing location. Some different types of sage plants less commonly found are:
- Greek Sage (salvia triloba) has velvety leaves with a felt gray underside and deep blue flowers. Often used in teas. More hardy than normal sage plants.
- Clary Sagen (salvia sclarea) has very large leaves often used to flavor wine. Also good with eggs and infused in tea.
- Purple sage (salvia officinalis var. purpurascens) is a small plant with purple leaves and striking bright blue flowers.
- Tricolor sage (salvia officinalis var. tricolor) is a popular decorative variety that gives a lot of color to a garden. It has a milder flavor and is used less for cooking and more for its decorative look.
- Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha) Hardy in zones 8-10. Needs a long growing season and doesn’t start blooming until late summer.
Sage is widely used in Mediterranean cooking and, in particular, Italian cuisine. It is great when used to flavor fatty meats and is well known for its ability to aid in digestion.
The ancient Romans prized sage for its healing properties and as an astringent and disinfectant herb. The botanical name salvia comes from the Latin word salvare which means to heal.
Native American cultures often burn what they consider sacred plants and use the smoke from the herb to remove negative energy and bring peace to their living space.
Those who believe in feng shui also believe that sage is a good luck plant that will bring good fortune to the home.
This practice is done with white sage (salvia apiana), Palo santo, sweet grass and other herbs. This is called “smudging.” Check out this article for more info on sage smudging.
Fresh sage leaves have much more flavor than dried sage, which can have a medicinal aftertaste. The full flavor of sage leaves come out when the herb is cooked with food.
In your book, there's a mention of using Russian Sage as a vertical interest in containers. Can they stay in the containers throughout the winter, or do they need to be brought in or planted in ground before frost?
Leaving perennials in above ground containers is always risky for northern gardeners. You have a couple of options. Plant your perennial container garden in an old nursery pot that fits within the decorative container. In the fall lift the nursery pot out of the decorative container and sink it in a vacant area of the garden. Or move the container into an unheated garage for winter. Water thoroughly whenever the soil is thawed and dried. Or move the perennials into the garden in fall. Then start with new plants the following spring. Some gardeners buy smaller perennial plants and treat them like annuals. Recycle them in the compost pile if you are feeling a bit guilty.
Chives are one of the hardiest herbs that you can grow in containers. Chives are one of the herbs that you can grow once and harvest every year. Chives grow well in small containers and need partial shade to full sunlight. It means you can grow them indoors near a window.
Growing rosemary in containers is not hard. You can grow them seeds, seedlings, or regrow the cuttings. Rosemary plants need good soil with minimum acidity. So don’t use peat moss in your potting soil.
Watch: 14 Store-Bought Vegetables & Herbs You Can Regrow