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When to Sow: 6-10 weeks before last frost Harvest: after established (2nd year)

Germination: 10-21 days Full Sun

Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil and a pH of 6.0-6.5.

Starting Indoors:

Start seeds a full 6-10 weeks before your last spring frost. Sow 1-2 seeds per module 1/8’ deep and cover lightly with soil. Ideal soil temperature for germination is 60º-70ºF. Mist seeds lightly (soil should be moist, not wet). Also, once the seeds germinate mist them as well.

Harden off gradually and transplant outside to their permanent location after all risk of frost is past. If planting next to each other, make sure they are at least 18” apart. The plants should grow to be between 12 and 30 inches in height.

Direct Seed: Sow after all risk of frost has ended.


Once your sage has been established for a year prune it back the following spring, taking off the older, woodier stems. (Make sure the danger of freezing is past, but get to it before new growth has really begun.) Prune each stem by about a third.

Sage is a very drought-tolerant plant and doesn’t need a lot of water. During most years in the UK you should have to water your sage much at all.

Some people recommend replacing your sage plant every three to five years, but I haven’t found that necessary. If, however, you find your sage becoming too straggly after five years or so, feel free to replace it. You can use a cutting from your existing plant.


Harvest only lightly the first year as your plant gets established. The following years you can harvest by cutting whole stems. You can harvest it any time, but the flavour is best just before the flowers bloom—generally around mid-summer. If harvesting whole stems, make sure to leave a few so that the plant can rejuvenate. Do your last full harvest of the season no later than two full months before your last major frost. This will give new foliage time to mature and prepare for the winter to come.

Companion Planting

Sage goes well with rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, cabbage, and carrots, but it doesn’t like cucumbers.