What's in a Name? Growing the Best Sage Varieties

| 10/10/2011 6:41:04 PM

n.heraud2You can check out the Lemon Verbena Lady at her blog http://lemonverbenalady.blogspot.com.   

If I had not picked Lemon Verbena Lady as a name, I really should have been known as Salvia Lady. I love my sages in the herb garden, although because of our humid and damp weather sages are prone to root rot and they can be lost easily. Over the years I have had numerous common sages (Salvia officinalis). If you plant a sage so that it has excellent drainage, you will have your sage for a number of years. I am not going to say a long time, because in my experience, it does not happen. I always try to keep the flowers pruned once they flower and trim cuttings for bouquets on the table. No matter what I do, the sage plants always get woody, old and eventually need to be replaced.

Common Garden Sage Needs to be Trimmed 

When we got back from our vacation this summer, I really noticed how beautiful the sages were. Some years the four-lined plant bug really makes a mess of the sage leaves. This year they were not as big a problem and the herbs seemed to grow out of their damage very quickly. Maybe because it was hot and fairly dry. Here is the common sage after ten days of rain! Not going to clean this up now, because we are getting closer to frost. If I trim it now, it might force new growth that may get frosted. I’ll wait until spring.

I have tried various combinations of sages through the seasons like the compact sage 'Nana' and the light gray sage 'Nazareth'. Some of my local garden centers are now selling more unusual herbs thanks to growers like Sal Gilbertie in Connecticut. I got a chance to visit Mr. Gilbertie’s operations a number of years ago. He is passionate about growing great herbs and unusual ones as well.  Here is a photo of the combination of 'Nana' and ‘Nazareth’. I started with five or six of the ‘Nazareth’ sages and I only have two left. 'Nana' has taken a hit over this summer as well and I will have to trim it back hard in the spring.

The Light Gray Nazareth and Compact Sage Make an Interesting Combination