Types of Sage Plants – Uses and Care

Last Updated on February 28, 2023 by Derek

Sage plants are an ideal way to add vibrant color and texture to the garden. Their delicate foliage and blooms add a unique touch to any bed or container planting, adding visual interest and inviting nature in.

Sage plants come in a range of varieties, each with its own unique uses and care needs. No matter if you’re searching for an ornamental or culinary herb, there’s sure to be a variety that meets your requirements!

Key Takeaways:

  • Sage plants come in various types, each with unique uses and care needs. They add vibrant color and texture to gardens and can be used for ornamental or culinary purposes.
  • Russian sage is a drought-tolerant plant ideal for low-water gardens and landscapes with water conservation in mind.
  • Meadow sage is a drought-tolerant plant that is perfect for dry gardens that get too hot in the summer. It attracts butterflies and bees alike and is an excellent mixed border plant.
  • Sage herb is commonly used as a culinary ingredient and has an earthy and slightly peppery flavor with subtle hints of mint, eucalyptus, and citrus. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
  • Sage flowers have a delicate aroma that adds flavor and color to dishes. They also contain antibacterial and antioxidant properties that have medicinal benefits.
  • White sage is a native desert plant that can be grown elsewhere. It thrives best in full sun and sandy, well-draining soils and can be used for landscape planting, medicinal herb, and spiritual cleansing ceremonies.
  • Many varieties of sage plants are edible, including the common sage, fruit-scented sage, pineapple sage, Greek sage, and grapefruit sage. They can be used for culinary or decorative purposes and help control erosion while providing habitat for wildlife.

Different types of sage plants

Video explains the different kinds of Sage plants

Sage is an attractive garden plant that thrives in a variety of conditions. It also has culinary uses, such as flavoring dishes like stuffing, sausages and roasts. Sage has many uses beyond simply adding flavor to dishes!

Sage plants come in a range of types, each with their own specific uses and care needs. Whether you want to grow them for their stunning foliage or delicious flowers for your garden, it’s essential to understand how best to care for each variety.

If you’re searching for a heat and drought-tolerant sage plant, Russian sage is your perfect choice. It can be grown as either an annual or perennial in frost-free zones and makes an excellent addition to low-water gardens and other landscapes designed with water conservation in mind.

Meadow sage, native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, is an ideal plant for dry gardens that get too hot in summertime. It produces delicate flower stalks in early summer and attracts butterflies and bees alike.

This sage makes an excellent mixed border plant with other ornamental perennials and can be grown in any USDA zone. Additionally, it’s drought tolerant and easily maintained in pots or raised beds.

USDA – Sage

Sage Plant
Common Name Botanical Name Soil pH Range Soil Type Sunshine Growing Zones
Sage Salvia officinalis 6.0 – 7.0 Well-draining, sandy Full sun 5-9

What does sage herb taste like?

Sage herb is a commonly used culinary ingredient in various dishes. Its flavor is earthy and slightly peppery, with subtle hints of mint, eucalyptus, and citrus.

It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, pairing well with all types of meat and poultry. Not only does it add flavor to sausages, but also vegetables and pasta dishes alike.

Here’s a common recipe that uses Sage:

Sage Butter Sauce for Pasta:


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 20 fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound pasta, cooked and drained


  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the sage leaves and cook until they start to crisp, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from heat and add the Parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat with the sauce.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with additional Parmesan cheese and sage leaves, if desired.

This recipe is a great way to enjoy the earthy, slightly peppery flavor of Sage. It’s simple to prepare and makes for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Another delicious way to use sage is in a compound butter or meat marinade. You can also incorporate it into sauces, salad dressings, and roasted vegetables for an unforgettable herbal flavor.

Fresh sage tends to have more potency than dried, so use sparingly. Dried sage can be substituted for fresh but must first be ground prior to use.

This herb belongs to the mint family and can be used for seasoning a variety of dishes. It adds an aromatic note to pesto, risotto, soups, as well as adding zesty flavor to mashed potatoes.

Sage added to salt cookies on tray
Sage can be used to garnish salty and sweet dishes or cakes

What is sage flower used for?

Sage is used in cooking recipes as well as herbal medicines for its healing properties. Not only do the flowers add color and flavor to dishes, they have a delicate aroma that permeates home fragrance products, and you can even brew it into an invigorating tea!

Sage flowers contain camphor, an antibacterial, antiseptic substance with strong antifungal and antibacterial effects. Furthermore, carnosic acid and carnosol, antioxidants that have been demonstrated to aid with blood sugar regulation as well as reduce inflammation.

Types of Sage and their uses

Types of Sage Plants
Sage Variety Scientific Name Common Uses Best Growing Conditions Medicinal Properties
Garden Sage Salvia officinalis Culinary herb, aromatic, medicinal Well-drained soil, full sun, hardy to zone 5 Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, digestive aid, memory booster
Pineapple Sage Salvia elegans Culinary herb, tea, medicinal Rich, moist, well-drained soil, full sun to partial shade, hardy to zone 8 Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, digestive aid, stress reducer
Clary Sage Salvia sclarea Aromatherapy, perfume, medicinal Well-drained soil, full sun to partial shade, hardy to zone 5 Hormone balancing, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial
White Sage Salvia apiana Cleansing, smudging, medicinal Well-drained soil, full sun, hardy to zone 8 Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, respiratory aid

Sage is also widely used for spiritual practices and ceremonies such as smudging, which involves burning the stems of sage plants to create a fragrant smoke. These rituals have been practiced for thousands of years in many indigenous cultures around the world.

Sage is an incredibly adaptable plant, capable of flourishing in a variety of climates and environments. Its Mediterranean heritage makes it especially hardy and resilient in hot, dry conditions; furthermore, sage requires little water and maintenance – making it the ideal choice for gardeners everywhere!

Burning sage leaves tied together
Dried sage can be burned for spiritual cleansing

Are white sage plants hard to grow?

White sage is a native desert plant, but it can also be grown elsewhere. It has many uses such as landscape planting, medicinal herb and spiritual cleansing ceremonies. Additionally, it’s sometimes referred to as bee sage because honeybees are attracted to its flowers.

White sage thrives best in full sun and sandy, well-draining soils. If your area doesn’t provide ideal conditions, try planting it in a cactus potting mix or other well-draining mix.

When sowing white sage seeds outdoors in California, the ideal time is in autumn before California’s winter rains set in. Alternatively, if transplanting your seedlings outside their endemic range, sow them during spring when temperatures begin to warm.

White sage grows quickly and it’s easy to let it get out of control. Make sure there’s enough room around it, and don’t allow it to encroach on other plants in your garden. Once it reaches about three feet high, prune back the leaves and stems just above where new leaves emerge – this will encourage new growth and make the plant more productive overall.

Missouri Botanical Garden

Edible sage plants – Are all sage plants edible?

Many varieties of sage plants are edible, though some are not. They can be used for culinary or decorative purposes and some even possess medicinal properties.

Common sage (Salvia officinalis) is the most widely grown variety, but there are many other varieties of sage you can grow in your garden. Popular options include fruit-scented sage, pineapple sage, Greek sage and grapefruit sage.

Edible Sage Plants
Common Name Botanical Name Edible Parts
Common Sage Salvia officinalis Leaves, flowers
Pineapple Sage Salvia elegans Leaves, flowers
Garden Sage Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina’ Leaves
Golden Sage Salvia officinalis ‘Aurea’ Leaves

Salvia species offer edible leaves and flowers, with some even making tea from them! You can use sage leaves in salads and other meals as a delicious addition.

Sage is an ideal plant for naturalizing in pastures, meadows and open fields. Not only does it add color and beauty to the landscape, but it provides habitat for wildlife while helping control erosion.

Sage is commonly added to poultry dishes and stuffing, or rubbed onto meat before grilling. It can also be dried and used for flavoring teas or other beverages.

Does sage spread in the garden?

Yes, sage (Salvia officinalis) can spread in the garden through its root system.

If you want to grow some sage in the garden, plant it somewhere it has plenty of space to spread out, or plant it in a container to limit its growth.

To prevent sage from spreading too much in your garden, you can trim back the plant regularly to prevent it from becoming too bushy. Additionally, you can divide the plant every few years to keep it from getting too large and taking over the garden.

Cluster of green sage leaves in the garden
Sage can spread like wildfire if the conditions are right

Sage is an ideal addition to your garden, whether you grow it for culinary use or to repel insects. This aromatic herb naturally deters pests like bean parasites, carrot flies, and cabbage maggots.

It makes an excellent companion plant, attracting honeybees and butterflies when in bloom. It’s hardy in most zones and can thrive in a variety of soil conditions.

Propagating sage is as easy as taking cuttings or starting from seeds. Alternatively, you can start your sage plants indoors in containers using unglazed clay.

Sage can thrive for several years when kept well watered and given plenty of sun. However, if it becomes too woody and isn’t pruned regularly, its productivity may suffer.

When planting sage in the garden, it is essential to clear away diseased plant debris, avoid overwatering and purchase from reliable sources. Sage is susceptible to fungal and bacterial wilts which can spread through seed, soil or water.

Florida Univ.

Where should I put my sage plant?

Sage is best grown in warm, sheltered spots that receive full sun for 6-8 hours a day, but will also thrive in light or dappled shade. It makes an excellent shrub for beds, borders and pots.

Sage is best grown in well-draining soil, but can tolerate dry conditions if watering can be controlled. For optimal results, plant sage in raised beds or containers so the soil remains moist but not soggy.

Baby sage plants in a pot
Start off sage plants in small pots in the greenhouse

To save time and effort, buy sage plants as transplants rather than from seeds. Seeds don’t store well and germination can be inconsistent; it may take up to two years for a mature plant to emerge from any seeds that do germinate.

Avoid planting sage in areas with high summer temperatures or heavy rainfall, as this herb can become stressed easily. Furthermore, it’s vulnerable to sap-sucking pests like aphids and thrips which can damage your plants by making them yellow, brown or even die. A good preventive measure is using neem oil on your sage plants as a protective layer.

Will sage come back every year?

Sage is perennial, which means it’ll come back each year. It likes warm, dry climates but can be grown as an annual in cooler regions.

Sage is a perennial herb that can last for several years before needing to be replanted. However, the variety you plant and its location in your garden will determine how long this lasts.

Sage plants can typically survive outdoors in zones 5 to 8, though you may need to protect them from cold weather if planted outdoors. This is especially true if you live in cold climates or grow it near frost-prone areas.

Sage can be grown from seeds or cuttings in the spring and summer. Start seeds indoors before planting them outdoors after the last frost has passed.

When planting sage in your garden, ensure the soil is well-drained and avoid overwatering. Furthermore, fertilize your sage regularly to encourage its growth and produce more leaves.

Finally, be on the lookout for pests such as cabbage moth and flea beetles which can damage sage leaves and discolor them. If you spot any, spray them with a soap-based organic insecticide to eliminate them.

FAQ relating to types of Sage plants

What are the different types of sage plants?

There are many different types of sage plants, including common sage (Salvia officinalis), pineapple sage (Salvia elegans), golden sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina’), clary sage (Salvia sclarea), white sage (Salvia apiana), and purple sage (Salvia dorrii).

What is common sage?

Common sage, also known as Salvia officinalis, is a perennial herb that is commonly used in cooking. It has gray-green leaves and produces purple flowers.

What is pineapple sage?

Pineapple sage, also known as Salvia elegans, is a perennial herb that is native to Mexico and Guatemala. It has bright red flowers and a pineapple-like scent.

What is golden sage?

Clump of golden sage variegated leaves
Golden sage leaves have a yellow outline

Golden sage, also known as Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina’, is a cultivar of common sage. It has variegated yellow and green leaves and produces purple flowers.

What is clary sage?

Clary sage, also known as Salvia sclarea, is a biennial or perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean. It has hairy leaves and produces pink or purple flowers.

What is white sage?

White sage, also known as Salvia apiana, is a perennial herb that is native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. It has gray-green leaves and produces white or pale lavender flowers.

Follow Me
DB Marketing and SEO, Casa de Serrabodes (Office 2), CP827, Mexhilhoeira Grande, Faro, Portugal – Bus. Reg: 9996004777432 – Tel: +351308801613