Growing sage from seed
Sowing and planting
Annual and biennial sages are easy to grow from seed in spring. Start them off indoors ready to plant out after the last frost has passed.
Seed-sown perennial sage is slow to get going but you can cut corners and buy young plants instead. You can also take ‘soft tip’ cuttings (the tip of a young shoot just below a leaf joint), which are quick to root in pots of damp sharp sand on a sunny windowsill.
Sage isn’t fussy about soil type – just choose a location that’s free-draining. Cold, wet soil in winter will kill it so, when planting, make sure you dig in plenty of grit. A spot in full sun will bring out the flavour in the leaves.
Given good drainage and a soil-based compost, sage will do well in a large pot.
Tending the crop
After flowering, give plants a gentle prune to stop them getting woody. Don’t prune into old wood because it won’t develop regrowth.
Some sages need frost protection, others will survive outside as long as their roots don’t become waterlogged.
At the start and end of summer, sprinkle a couple of handfuls of bonemeal around the sage plants, gently working it into the soil.
Perennial sage runs out of puff after about three or four years, so be ready to take cuttings in late spring or try the layering method.