- Hardy, perennial shrub (height 30-60cm)
- Attractive velvety grey-green foliage and purple-blue flowers
- Well-suited to container growing
Sage, a fairly hardy evergreen member of the mint family, with its touchy-feely aromatic leaves, looks as good in the border as it does on a sunny windowsill indoors.
Sow: for best results, sow your sage seeds under glass, either in autumn for planting out the following spring, or in March, for planting out in June. Cover seeds with a light layer of compost. Choose a site in full sun, with well drained, fertile soil. Sage also makes an attractive patio plant and can be grown indoors, year round, on a sunny windowsill. Add a couple of handfuls of grit or sharp sand to the compost of container grown plants, to help with drainage.
Aftercare: Sage is fairly slow to grow until established. No feeding should be necessary, and, as sage originates from the Mediterranean, it enjoys dry conditions, although container grown plants are likely to need watering occasionally and may also benefit from the odd treat of a liquid organic fertiliser. For tastier leaves, pinch out the flowers buds. In autumn, prune back plants to around half their size and provide an organic mulch to ensure roots are protected from severe frosts.
Harvest: sparingly in the first year, when the plant is young and still growing. The following year, you can snip off sage leaves to your heart’s content, preferably on a dry day, and either use fresh, freeze whole leaves, packing them loosely in freezer bags, or hang to dry, somewhere warm, then crumble into an airtight container.
Although most famously known for its use in stuffing, sage can also be used in a variety of savoury dishes (try adding some chopped sage to dumplings or tuck a few sprigs in with roast chicken), and is, of course, enjoyed as a herbal tea, said to ease colds, mouth ulcers and sore throats.
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