Salvia apiana. White Sage seeds, known as Buffalo Sage and Bee Sage, this is the sacred sage that is bundled and burned as smudge to purify places and things. This native of southwestern US and northern Mexico requires full sun, well drained soil, very little water, and good air circulation. It will eventually grow into a fair sized shrub with flowers that are highly attractive to bees. Its high oil content makes it extremely aromatic, and it is thought to have powerful antibacterial properties, among a host of other medicinal uses.
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.