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 households, and its flowers are strongly attractive to wild and domesticated bees. Even hummingbirds will stop for a sip of the generous nectar. Propagating by cuttings is easier with sage than growing from seed, but both can be achieved with a little care. Continue reading below for some top tips on how to grow sage from seed.
Easy but slow
Season & Zone
Season: Warm season
Exposure: Full sun
Zone: Hardy to Zone 5
Start indoors mid-winter to mid-spring. Transplant out or direct sow starting late spring. Starting indoors may be more reliable, particularly if using bottom heat and maintaining optimal soil temperature at 15-21°C (60-70°F). Seeds should sprout in 2 to 3 weeks.
Sow seeds 3mm (1/8″) deep, and keep soil just moist, not wet. Thin or transplant to 45-60cm (18-24″) apart.
In spring, trim established plants back by a third to encourage new growth. 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.