Start Growing Sage Indoors
Part of the mint family, sage is an herb with a uniquely earthy and minty flavor. With its strong and powerful taste, sage acts as an essential seasoning for many delicious dishes. Cooking with freshly cut sage from your home garden enhances the delectably sharp flavor, and adds to any dish it is used in. The best part about growing sage indoors is that you only need to grow one plant to enjoy its intense taste all year long.
Apart from its flavor, eating sage can have many health benefits, as well. Sage is a great source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese. It also has different types of vitamin B like folic acid, riboflavin, thiamin and pyridoxine. As it also contains anti-oxidants, sage is very healthy to consume. While sage is usually grown outdoors, you can grow this woody herb inside your home, too. Here is a guide to help you grow your own lush and healthy sage plant indoors.
There are three ways you can plant sage: with a seed, a sapling or by using cuttings.
If you choose to plant a sage seed, buy a high-quality seed and plant it 2 inches deep into the soil. If you want to plant many seeds, maintain a distance of a minimum of 24 inches between each seed. You can also use smaller, but individual containers to grow from, and then transfer to a larger pot later.
Cover the seed with soil and pat it down to make sure that the seed is completely covered. Instead of watering the soil, spray or mist the soil until it feels damp, and maintain this until the plant sprouts. You can also keep the container in a slightly warmer place such as on top of a refrigerator in order to speed its growth. It will take about 3 weeks for the seeds to germinate.
If you choose to plant a sage sapling, buy a healthy sapling from a nursery. Remove the wrapper carefully and trim any unhealthy roots. Dig 6 inches deep into the soil and plant the sapling. Completely cover the roots with soil and gently pat it down. If you want to plant many saplings, maintain a minimum distance of 2 feet from each other. Slowly pour a small amount of water, just enough to make the soil wet to the touch for the first inch or so.
If you choose to plant a sage by using cuttings, take a branch of an existing sage plant and cut the top 3-4 inches from it. Remove the lower leaves from the stem by plucking or cutting them off with a pair of scissors. Place the cutting into high quality soil, then water until the soil is moist. You can also cover the new cutting with half a plastic bottle to increase the humidity which will stimulate growth. Wait for 4 – 6 weeks for new roots to form and then move it to a pot. This method, by far, is the easiest and best way to ensure full and lush growth of your sage plant.
The Container and Soil
As sage is a woody herb that grows like a bush, choose a wide clay pot for the ideal container. If your container doesn’t have draining holes, it is vital to have holes drilled at the bottom of the container. Sage takes quire well to growing in pots, but likes well draining soil. Overwatering or allowing the plant to sit in damp soil is the easiest way to damage the plant.
For the best growth, use rich clay loam in your potting mix. Choose a high-quality potting mix that aerates and drains well while being rich in nitrogen. If your potting mix is not meant for sage plants, you can mix 1-part perlite with 2-parts all-purpose potting mix to make the ideal potting mix for your sage plant. Sage plants prefer soil with a neutral pH that ranges between 6 – 7.
While they survive in a wide variety of climates, sage plants need a lot of sunlight to achieve the best growth. When positioning your container, choose a spot that receives a lot of sunlight. Sage plants typically need at least 6 – 8 hours of sunlight every day. If you live in a place that doesn’t receive a lot of sunlight, you can also use sun lamps. Depending on the intensity, position them at a distance of 5 – 6 inches to prevent burning the plant.
If growing in a climate that experiences winters, make sure that your plant is still receiving the correct amount of light during these months. The sun’s intensity is often less during the cool, winter months, and as such your plant will likely need to be exposed to it longer to get the same benefits.
Sage is a hardy shrub that is drought-tolerant. This means you don’t need to water it often for the plant to thrive. On the flip side, you can easily kill the plant by over-watering.
You should water sage plants only when the soil looks dry. An easy way to prevent over-watering your sage plant is to water the plant till the top of the soil looks wet. You can also feel with your hand, the top inch or so should feel moist, but not too damp or drenched.
Mildew is one of the major problems that gardeners face while growing sage. To avoid mildew, closely watch your sage plants during the humid and hotter months. Increase air circulation by pruning some woody stems. Another way to avoid mildew is to ensure the water is getting properly drained. To increase the rate of evaporation, mulch the soil by adding pebbles. If you notice mildew on your plants, carefully spray your sage plants with horticultural oil or sulfur spray.
During the first year, harvest sage leaves slowly by plucking or cutting the leaves as you need them. After the first year, you can start harvesting sage leaves through the whole year. Sage is usually at its best during late spring to mid-summer. At this point, just before the flowers bloom, the leaves will be lush and refreshing, making it the perfect time to harvest sage leaves.
Growing Sage Indoors
Sage is one of the easiest plants to grow indoors as it is quite low-maintenance while producing bountiful harvest all year round. With its strong and aromatic smell, freshly cut sage makes cooking and eating it more refreshing. Very useful when making soups and stews, growing sage indoors is both convenient and delightful.
The sage leaves look wilted. How much more should I water to bring it back?
Sage is a plant that doesn’t need much watering. Increasing the amount of water by a tiny bit should bring the leaves back to life. Also, make sure it’s getting enough light and doesn’t have any sort of pest problem. Water might not always be the problem.
I have noticed pests on my sage plants. What should I do?
While sage is not usually targeted by pests, you can easily remove pests by using organic pesticides or a good quality insecticidal soap. Spray them onto your plants to control the pest problem.
When can I prune my sage plant?
The ideal time to prune sage plants is when the plant looks overgrown and straggly. You can also prune older woody stems to promote healthier, better and fuller growth. Don’t be afraid to prune it back frequently, good and frequent pruning is essential for optimal growth.
Does Sage Keep Bugs Away?
Yes, sage when burned has natural bug repellent properties. It has been shown to keep away annoying pests such as mosquitos.