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Herbs - CulinaryHerbaceous Perennial

Salvia officinalis
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

common sage

A bushy, spreading evergreen sub-shrub to 75cm tall, with very aromatic, finely veined, grey-green, oblong leaves to 6cm long and 2.5cm wide and short spikes of pale blue flowers in early summer. Fresh and dried leaves are used as a popular culinary herb. There are many cultivated varieties of sage available, varying in size, strength and leaf-colour. 'Purpuracens' has attractive purple foliage. 'Tricolor' has grey-green with cream-variegated leaves that are flushed with purple on young growth and 'Icterina' has yellow-variegated, pale green leaves

Other common names
common garden sage
sage
see moresauge
Synonyms
Salvia officinalis 'Greek'
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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Grey Silver
Summer Blue Green Grey Silver
Autumn Green Grey Silver
Winter Green Grey Silver
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Lamiaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Salvia can be annuals, biennials, herbaceous or evergreen perennials, or shrubs. They have paired, simple or pinnately lobed, often aromatic leaves and 2-lipped flowers in whorls, forming simple or branched spikes or racemes

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Mediterranean, Africa

How to grow

Cultivation

Thrives in a sunny spot, in moderately fertile soil with good drainage. Drought tolerant once established. Protect from excess winter wet. See sage cultivation

Propagation

Propagate by by seed sown in spring or by softwood cuttings in early summer

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Coastal
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Patio and container plants
  • Mediterranean climate plants
  • Gravel garden
  • Wall side borders
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Pruning group 9 in spring. Cut back flower spikes after flowering to keep plants compact

Pests

May be susceptible to rosemary beetle, sage leafhopper and capsid bug

Diseases

May be susceptible to honey fungus (rarely), powdery mildews, verticillium wilt and foot and root rots

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