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Garden sage is one of the most widely grown garden herbs that is greatly appreciated for its culinary flavoring. The true species grows as a small herbaceous perennial that can live for many years in gardens. A number of cultivars have been produced and availability varies from nursery to nursery on a seasonal basis. Most cultivars grow 12-15 in. high and 24-30 in. across. During the spring months they produce tall spikes with colorful blue to purple flowers. Their leave contain oils that are pleasingly fragrant; these leaves can be dried or used fresh for flavoring food.

The Garden sage can be grown in vegetable gardens, in raised planters and among other flowering perennials in Mediterranean style gardens throughout the Inland Empire. It is truly a vegetable garden plant when grown in full sun in organic soils and with regular moisture; in landscape plantings it does best with moderate water throughout the year. It loses some of its foliage character and density in later summer and fall with prolonged drought stress and seasonal cold. It can be clipped in winter to stimulate robust springtime growth.

Water Needs

Garden sage is both an herb garden plant and landscape plant that is valued for its flower color and foliage fragrance and oils. Its many cultivars grow best on well drained soils with normal winter rains and regular supplemental water during summer. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several winter months noted by an asterisk (*) when rains can provide sufficient moisture for good growth and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Moderate Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 3

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 2x to 3x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 2x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 2" to 3" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 2" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3"

Range of supplemental summer water: 9"-16"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-15"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Perennial
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Spreading, Compact
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.
Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Foliage Color: Pale green, Gray green
Flower Color: Purple, Lavender
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Function: Residential spaces, Hummingbird plant, Flowering accent plant, Culinary use, Container plant, Borders, Fragrant foliage, Attracts butterflies, Small spaces


Prune or pinch to keep a tight, bushy form and good leaf quality. Regular harvesting helps accomplish this. Do not prune into old stems below the leafy area unless you are removing those stems entirely as stems will not regrow from cuts below the last set of leaves. In late winter or early spring, feel free to cut about 1/3 or a bit more of the way back along the leafy part of each stem to encourage new spring growth (S,4).



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