Growing sage in pots

One of the most popular perennial kitchen herbs is sage. This herb is used in many of the lip-smacking delicacies that are made using pork, cheese, and beans. Sage can be grown easily in pots in a limited space, both indoors and outdoors. The plant only needs the right combination of soil, sunlight, environment, and also little care. On this article you are going to learn how to Grow Sage in Pots Indoors or Outdoors.

The botanical name of this plant is Salvia officinalis. The plant can be grown in USDA Zones 4 to 10. The Soil pH is between the ranges of 6 to 7, Slightly Acidic to Neutral.

How to Propagate Sage

Sage can be propagated by cuttings, seeds and division. They are explained below:

How to Grow Sage from Cuttings

If you’ve gotten an existing plant you can easily cut it to about three to four inches long “new growth” cuttings just below the root node, which you will find on the opposite of the leaf stem. You have to remove the lower leaves and flower buds (if present) and then leave only about two to three pair of leaves. You have to plant these cuttings in separate pots or use a single wide pot. Make sure you keep the soil evenly moist to help the new roots emerge. For a better success rate you can dip your cuttings in the rooting hormone before planting them.

How to Grow Sage from Division

Another easy straightforward way to propagate sage is by division. You can dig up the existing mature Sage plant and then divide it in many, using a sharp knife. Depending on the size of the rootball, divide it in 2, 3, or 4, and then plant each of them in individual small pots. The best time for the division is around spring or autumn when the soil temperature is really warm.

How to Grow Sage from Seeds

Sage can also be grown from seed, although it’s a time-consuming process, so it’s better to purchase a couple of healthy transplants from any nearby nursery and then multiply them by following other methods.

Make sure you sow the seeds shallowly about 1/4 inch deep when the soil temperature is about 60 F (15 C) for a better result. The seeds will germinate within two to three weeks. You can also start the seeds indoors in spring if the expected last frost date has not passed yet in your area.

Furthermore, if you are growing Sage in pots for the first time it is good for you to purchase a healthy sage transplants from a nursery rather than trying these propagation methods.

Choosing the Right Container

Growing sage in clay pot is the best option. To start you can select a container that is a minimum eight inches deep and wide similarly. Later on you can easily repot the sage into a bigger pot once it outgrows the current pot and become root-bound. Make sure the pot has sufficient drainage holes to avoid water logging.

The Requirements for Growing Sage in Pots

Position and Location: Sage can be grown in part sun, but the most aromatic and healthy sage plant grows in full sunlight. Hence it is necessary to place the sage plant in a position that gets about six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. If you actually live in a hot climate you can save the sage plant from the intense afternoon sun, most especially in summer.

The most suitable position for growing sage plant indoors is either South or West facing window. If you don’t receive proper sunlight indoors you can use grow lights for this purpose.

Soil requirement: Don’t use regular garden soil for growing sage plant in pots. You can either make your own soilless potting mix or purchase it from a garden center or online. Your growing medium should be well-drained and loamy. To enrich it you can add about twenty to twenty-five percent compost to the potting mix.

Watering: Make sure you water the young and newly transplanted sage plant regularly, for the first few weeks until they are established. Once the sage plant gets an excellent growth and develops a healthy root system, then start keeping it on a drier side. You can water only when the topsoil seems dry to the touch. Make sure you avoid overwatering and overhead watering to prevent root rot and diseases like powdery mildew and leaf spot.

How to Care for Sage in Pots

Fertilizer requirement: Sage plant is like any other herbs, they don’t like a strong fertilizer dose. Fertilizing the plant a lot can reduce its intense flavor. You can mix aged compost or well-rotted manure at the time of planting in the potting mix and side-dress it again after about six to eight week’s interval. If you’re not using compost you can feed the plant with a general-purpose liquid fertilizer diluted in half or quarter-strength.

If you’re not using compost or other organic fertilizer, fertilize the plant with a general-purpose liquid fertilizer like 20-20-20, once in four to six weeks during their growing season. Make sure you don’t feed them in winter unless you live in a warm climate.

Pinching: You can easily pinch off the top tips when the young sage plant is about four to five inches tall and when it has grown several sets of true leaves, this can be done using shears or fingernails. Doing this will induce new bushier growth.

Deadheading and Pruning: Sage is like other perennial herbs that requires hard pruning once in a year. The best time for this is when the new growth starts to appear, the young leaves unfurl, and the new buds form in spring. You can trim all the dead, decaying, and crossing woody stems. You can also carry out a slight pruning again after flowering ends in summer.

Try and divide the plant once every two to three years to help it maintain its life and vigor. For the plant leaves to retain their best flavor all year round always prune the flower buds before they start to bloom.

Remember that sage plant tends to become woody and its growth starts to fall after four years or so, and it is recommended to replace the sage plant once you notice the same.

Mulching: If you’re actually growing this plant in a hot and windy climate you can mulch with organic matter. It will really keep the soil cool and help in retaining moisture. Either Leaves or straws from your garden should be fine, or else you can add a layer of pebbles.

Pests and Diseases control: Actually Mildew can affect the sage plant in a pot. To prevent this try and provide good air circulation, don’t grow the sage plant in the shade and also avoid wetting the foliage. You have to be extra careful in hot and humid conditions. In the area of pests, just beware of whiteflies, aphids and spider mites. If you identify these pests you can spray mild insecticidal soap on the plant.

 Harvesting and Storage: You can harvest the sage lightly in the first year, whenever you need them. You can also dry the harvested sage plant for future use.

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