It’s nice to have one big, reliable sage bush at the corner of the garden. One plant usually provides enough herb for most families, and its flowers are strongly attractive to wild and domesticated bees. Even hummingbirds will stop for a sip. Propagating by cuttings is easier with sage than growing from seed, but both can be achieved with a little care.
Zone: Hardy to Zone 5.
When I Get My Seedling Home
Keep seedlings under very bright light to prevent legginess. Artificial lights are ideal, but a bright (ideally, south-facing) room will work for the short term. You may have to pot on seedlings more than once before they go out to allow for root growth. This is done by transplanting them into a slightly larger container with enough additional soil to keep the container mostly full. Keep the soil moist by daily watering and allow for free drainage so the plants are never sitting water.
Do not transplant outside until daytime temperatures are steadily 10°C (50°F) or warmer. This may mean keeping seedlings indoors for up to a month. The plants should not require any fertilizer until transplant time.
Transplant sage seedlings with 60-90cm (24-36") between plants. Once the flowers have finished in June/early July, trim the plants back again. A second bloom sometimes follows, and this pruning will keep plants bushy and compact. After a few years, sage bushes can become quite large. Keep in check by pruning.
Sage repels both the cabbage moth and the carrot rust fly, so it’s a great all around companion plant in the vegetable garden. Do not, however, plant it near cucumbers, which are sensitive to aromatic herbs.
More on Companion Planting.