Variegated Sage – You Can Grow That!

variegated sage in May with purple flowers

variegated sage in May with purple flowers

Most people know about sage, it’s that dry, gray, crumbly herb you use when you make stuffing for Thanksgiving stuffing. True enough, the plant is an herb but it also adds beauty in the garden. Re-think culinary sage (Salvia officinalis) as a landscape edible: drought tolerant, pest resistant, and full season interest! Sage plants grow like small woody shrubs, up to a few feet tall, and their leaves remain all year long in my zone 7, Virginia garden. Sage plants are usually grown for the leaves, but the summer brings small, purple flowers, attracting pollinators for the rest of the garden. Both the leaves as well as the flower spikes can be cut for flower arrangements. Leaves can be solid green, variegated with cream or yellow, gray, gray/green, blue/gray, purple, or tricolor (pink, green, and white leaves). As the year progresses, the tone of the color seems to change with some cultivars – this one in the photo seems to change from light green/yellow variegated to a gray/cream color by September. No matter what the color, all the leaves are edible. You can pick leaves when you need them without altering the shape or you can take a branch from the back and strip and dry the leaves for cooking or tea. Sage plants prefer full sun and well drained soil on the dryer side, think Mediterranean. Although you can start the species from seed, check out the many cultivars that are available now for the full spectrum of foliage interest. You can grow sage as a small shrub for your landscape!

variegated sage in September, changing from light green to gray

variegated sage in September, changing from light green to gray

variegated sage in April with light new growth

variegated sage in April with light new growth

 

Youcangrowthat

One response to “Variegated Sage – You Can Grow That!

  1. Mike the Gardener

    Sage is a wonderful plant to grow! Even if you don’t use your sage in any culinary form, sage is still a great aesthetic plant.

    Like

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