Growing Sage (Salvia officinalis, S. elegans)

Culinary Sage (Salvia officinalis) is native to the Mediterranean coast, where it thrives in hot, dry summers in thin, rocky soil. For this reason, it requires a well-drained spot in full sun and a good, deep watering perhaps once a week during the growing season if there is no rainfall. Good drainage is especially important during the winter. (For container grown plants, check the soil regularly. If it is dry 1in deep, provide water.) Harvest leaves at any time and use them fresh or dry. Cut back your plant by half (or more) each spring to encourage full, bushy growth. Sage is largely untroubled by pests or disease. Plants tend not to be long-lived, so plan to replace them every 3 or 4 years. Golden Sage (Salvia officinalis 'Aurea') is hardy in Zones 7-8; Tricolor Sage (Salvia officinalis 'Tricolor') in Zones 6-8.

Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) is native to Mexico and Guatemala, where it can grow to 6ft tall. Hardy in Zones 8-10, but can be grown in a container elsewhere and treated as an annual. Plant in full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. During the summer, water freely and feed monthly with a balanced fertilizer.

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