10 Types of Sage Plant: ID Sage Tree (Shrub), Grow Antibacterial Sage, Care

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | March 28, 2024

Man watering a sage tree (sage shrub) after learning how to identify sage and types of sage plant and instructions on how to grow sage indoors, outdoors, and care tips for growing sage shrubs.

Did you know that the Sage plant (also known as the Sage tree or Sage shrub) can be a dual purpose outdoor (or indoor) plant to grow?

There is nothing as fascinating as growing a multipurpose plant that is both beautiful and functional.

Yes, you get to see it grow to boast beautiful flowers, but did you also know that you can also use it in the kitchen? Sage provides a host of dietary benefits, and its intoxicating aroma and unique flavor can be used in countless dishes.

Growing sage at home is wonderfully easy.

This complete guide explains how to grow a Sage tree at home, the growing zones where sage will thrive outdoors, and how you can identify 10 different types of sage plant that can beautify your garden and your kitchen.

What Is Sage: Salvia officinalis

Sage is probably one of the most famous herbs that people grow in their homes, not just for their striking beauty but also for the fact that it can come in handy for other uses around the house.

It is a resilient perennial that has grayish-green leaves, and another fascinating part is how it tends to grow shooting spring flowers of various colors, coming in shades of purple, pink, blue flowers and white.1

Sage, Common Sage

(Salvia officinalis)

Sage Tree in oval frame on a green background.
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Genus: Salvia
  • Leaf: 2-3 Inches long, oblong, opposite and pointed, various colors based on cultivar
  • Seed: Tiny, spherical, dark colored
  • Blossoms: Various colors but blue or purplish are more common
  • Fruit: Nutlet fruit, single-seeded
  • Native habitat: Mediterranean
  • Height: 1-3 Feet
  • Canopy: 2-3 Feet spread but grows short
  • Type: Evergreen perennial shrub
  • Native growing zone: USDA zone 4-10

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Ranking

Least Concern


Image Credit: Michaela Wenzler (wenzlerdesign)34

The Sage plant has its origins in the Mediterranean, although it has now spread its reach to most parts of the U.S. and the world at large. Historically, its use has been documented from way back in the middle ages and it was definitely a prized possession.

It was revered for its healing properties and religious and traditional healers attached a holy meaning to it.

Today, homeowners grow it for its astonishing beauty, but most importantly, its culinary uses, and it is all thanks to its exceptionally aromatic leaves. This has made it a key ingredient in recipes, from dressings to fillings and other culinary needs.

However, remember that not all Sage Plants are grown for their culinary properties.

Perhaps the most popular version used in kitchens is the Salvia officinalis or common Sage.18 Apart from being a staple ingredient in many people’s homes, you should also know that the Sage Tree is also rich in antioxidants, and vitamin K, which means that it is also vital for your body.

Sage Tree Facts

The sage is a common plant that you will find in many homes because of its multipurpose properties. You can use it to decorate your home and at the same time find multiple uses for it in the kitchen.

That’s not all, the sage is a pretty interesting tree and the following are some unique facts about it that you should know:

  • Did you know that there are more than 700 Sage Tree species randomly distributed all over the world, each with unique physical characteristics, especially the colors of their striking flowers?
  • It is most likely the most ancient herb used for cooking in Europe, and it can be traced as far back as Ancient Rome and Greece.
  • The Sage’s scientific name Salvia comes from the word ‘salveo’ a Latin word that means ‘salvation’, ‘to heal’ or ‘to save’ probably based on the tree’s healing properties.
  • The plant was used in the Roman era as part of sacred ceremonies because the people believed that it is able to bring prosperity and longevity.
  • The Sage Tree is a perennial and under certain circumstances, it is able to produce for up to 10 years or longer than that.
  • Sage actually has very deep roots that can easily reach up to 100 cm into the ground.

Is Sage Perennial?

Sage is known far and wide for its incredible flavors and if you are planting it for the first time, you may wonder, is it perennial or an annual? Well, it is understandable to ask, especially considering that there are other Mediterranean native herbs like rosemary that are annual in many growing zones.7

For annual plants, you will have to dig them out at the end of the season and maybe add them to the compost heap.

However, lucky for you, the sage is supposed to be perennial in its native Mediterranean habitat, meaning that it will keep growing back each year that is if the conditions are right and it is growing in zones 4-9. However, if growing in regions in zones 10 and further, there is a high chance that it will die from the extreme cold.

What is the difference between annuals and perennials, you may ask.

Well, perennials have the advantage of being able to come back every year and some like the sage are evergreen while others are deciduous, meaning that they die and then grow back as new foliage when spring comes. On the other hand, annual plants basically have only one year to do everything, which means that they have to germinate, flower, seed then finally die in the same year.

Sage Tree Symbolism

Apart from its mint flavor and captivating aroma, the Sage is also known to bear a lot of significance and some even swear by that. The natives used it for various purposes, and to date, some people trust 100% of its healing properties.

Are you a plant parent that likes to attach meanings to your plants and always go for the plants with a symbolic aspect to them,22  then the sage is the perfect tree for you. Here is a list of tree symbolism associated with sage.

It has a lot of meaning, especially spiritual that varies based on the culture. In Native American communities, the plant came in handy during purification ceremonies and the people believed that it was symbolic of longevity and immortality.

But all in all, in the modern world, the Sage Plant is widely planted to symbolize wisdom and spiritual growth.

Have you seen people burning sage, wondering what that is all about, well there is another meaning behind that too. The throat chakra is also gaining popularity because sage is known to have a calming effect on the body.

This practice can help clear any blockages in the throat, which is believed to be the energy center that is vital during meditation.

What Is the Sage Herb or Sage Leaf Used For?

One of the many wonders of nature is that the various parts of a tree come with numerous benefits. Take Sage, for instance, whose amazing properties made it one of the most revered plants in the ancient world, and it is still in use to date for its incredible features.

These are the Sage benefits that will make you want to have one growing in your home right now:

  • Long ago, it was used as a cure for epilepsy and hysteria.
  • According to the Greeks, Sage was a vital ingredient in improving memory or one’s mental capabilities.
  • One fascinating feature about Sage is that it is antibacterial, all thanks to the presence of salvia rosmarinic acid, a key chemical component.
  • Ancient Romans used the dried leaves of the sages as pain relief during childbirth.
  • Since Sage is believed to help pump more blood into the brain, it may also help lower the chances of the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • One of the most crucial medicinal uses for Sage is that it is a miracle tool that helps reduce inflammation and pain that is caused by broken bones.3
  • You can use it for the treatment of joint pain or also use it as a laxative.
  • It has been pretty instrumental in the reduction of the indicators of depression.
  • Rubbing sage and inhaling the scent is an effective way to help clear your sinuses.
  • You can add sage to your herbal tea to give it a particular woodsy flavor.
  • Sage can also come in handy during baking or to improve the flavor of certain recipes.
  • You can use the leaves of the sage as seasoning. Also, cooking sage as an ingredient in certain dishes not only adds a minty flavor to the food but also turns around the entire recipe.
  • The fumes from burning Sage are also interestingly useful in repelling cockroaches and rodents.
  • The smokes from the sages are still useful today during sacred rituals, and some believe that the fumes can ward off bad spirits.
  • Ever wondered why sage is burnt during meditation or religious rituals, it is because the smoke is believed to rid the space of negative energy.11

Sage Plant Identification: How To Identify Sage Tree

There are plenty of Sage Plants distributed all over the country and the world and it can be pretty tricky to tell them apart from other trees.

Sage Tree identification chart showing full grown Sage Tree with average height, Sage leaves, Sage flowers, Sage seed, and Sage stem images along with their respective short descriptions.

If you are planning to buy a common sage or any other sage and maybe don’t want to get duped or want to know whether there are some glaring features that would make people know that what you are growing is indeed a sage tree, the following are the features to look out for.

Sage Tree Leaves

First things first, the Sage comes in various types, each with unique leaf colors, and it is one of the reasons why it is so popular; there are so many options to choose from.

You can get whatever leaf color you want whether golden or yellow, green, lavender, cream, silver, or the beloved variegated design.

The leaves are usually simple, soft, hairy, ovate in shape, and arranged in an opposite pattern. They usually measure about 4 inches long and have a rich fragrance and the best part is that they are edible, adding a certain kick to your baking or cooking recipes.

Sage Tree Flower or Sage Flower

You will likely find the sage in full bloom in the summer. Don’t forget that the flowers are also edible and rich in scent and flavor, exactly like the leaves.

Another similar feature is the fact they also come in various colors, from pink to blue and lavender.

They are pretty delicate, have two lips, tend to measure about an inch long, and usually have a camphor scent.

Sage Tree Seeds

Although it is rare and probably a strange way to determine whether the tree is a sage or not, you can also tell by looking at the seeds.

Many use the leaves and the flowers because seeds tend to look the same and often don’t give the clearest picture of the type of tree.

But still, you can tell that the tree is a sage if it has seed pods that feature tiny, round dark (black or brown) seeds.

Sage Tree Stem

Still as aromatic as the flowers and the leaves, you can also use the stem to identify a sage. You will first notice that it is green/silver or grayish and has tiny hairs all over it.

Another way to tell is to check whether it has a square cross-section. It starts out green and bendy but then becomes more woody the more it grows, particularly in the second year of life.

What Does Sage Plant Look Like?

There are plenty of Sage Plant species, each more stunning than the next, and they all have a unique yet striking look. Most of them have grayish-green leaves and shooting, showy flowers that come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

The sage also has the incredible feature of being edible, such that you can add the leaves to your food, dessert, and drinks to help add a distinctive aroma and flavor.

10 Types of Sage or Sage Bushes (Pictures of Sage)

The Sage is a collective term that is usually used in reference to plenty of plants from the Salvia genus. What you call sage may end up looking very different from your neighbor’s or friend’s sage, but neither of you is wrong: it is just that there is a myriad of types of trees that go by the same name such that it can get quite confusing to tell which is which.2

Luckily, here is a round-up of some of the most common varieties of Sage Plants that will likely find growing either as a wild Sage Plant or in people’s homes:12

1. Purple Sage Plant

A fan favorite right here. The Purpurea Sage variety, as you can tell from the name, has distinct purple leaves with very strong flavors and grows up to as much as 18 inches high.

Of course, many love it because it has got amazing purple flowers that blend so nicely with others from trees that you would want to grow as companions.

Closeup of a Purple Sage showing purple flower.

(Image: Stickpen23)

Closeup of a Russian Sage showing tiny, purple-blue, tubular flowers arranged in whorls in long stems.

(Image: GrammaElliott24)

2. Russian Sage Plant

The Russian Sage is not from Russia. In fact, it is not even an actual Sage.

So where does the name come from? It is named after a botanist who was from Russia and actually, the tree is from Central Asia.

If you are thinking about Russian Sage (when to plant), you will find it exciting that it is very cold and heat-hardy.

It is not really that demanding like other trees, or other sages for that matter. Another upside is that it can also grow where there is little rain, and it is perfect for forgetful plant parents that keep forgetting to water their trees.

3. Texas Sage Plant or Silverleaf

If you are also in the search for a low-maintenance plant that you cannot possibly kill, you can try the Texas Sage Plant.

An interesting fact about the Texas Sage is that it looks like many Sage Plants, but it is also not an actual sage.

Closeup of Texas Sage Plant showing purple flowers and green leaves.

(Image: Brett_Hondow25)

It has stunning purple flowers and would do wonders to add some color to your space.

Close up of a Clary Sage with its tubular, two-lipped, creamy white flowers turning pink on its edges.

(Image: Nennieinszweidrei26)

4. Clary Sage Plant

Another striking tree with purplish flowers that will add an amazing color scheme to your garden is the Clary Sage. It is a bright and highly scented flower, perfect for scenting soaps, lotions, and other cosmetics, and is usually short-lived and biennial.

It is also commonly referred to as the Europe Sage. Not only is it crucial for ornamental purposes, but it is also an excellent ornamental tree.

5. Black Sage

True to its name, the Black Sage has a somewhat dark look, especially during the drought months. It is native to California and, like its cousins, is also a highly fragrant tree that you can plant in your space.

It can grow to an impressive 6 feet and has the advantage of being able to grow in various types of soils.

Closeup of White Sage showing narrow, silver-white leaves growing on pale pink stems.

(Image: John Rusk27)

6. White Sage Plant

Just as its name suggests, the White Sage is pretty easy to tell apart. For one, it has light-colored, hairy leaves, and the flowers are also whitish or light lavender.

It grows to just a little less than 4 feet. It is quite a combination of colors because the tree also has pinkish stems, all coming together to form a pale yet attention-grabbing tree.

7. Desert Sage Plant

The Desert Sage definitely doesn’t disappoint with the signature lavender flowers. They will stand out completely from the crowd with fantastic dark bluish-violet flowers that look like they are shooting straight from the shrub.

It is woody and evergreen and has attractive silver-gray leaves that are rich in aroma.

Close up of a Desert Sage showing blue-purple flowers and yellow anthers.

(Image: Patrick Alexander28)

Closeup of Scarlet Sage showing green leaves and red flowers growing on glossy stem.

8. Red Sage Plant

The Red Sage Plant is pretty special.17 Did you know that it is the sole native US Sage that has got red flowers?9

It is also referred to as the Scarlet Sage and, just as the name states, it has bright red flowers.

It is likely a native tree to Mexico and is widely distributed all through the southeastern part of the US, up all the way to the northeastern regions.

9. Golden Sage

Not that the unicolored Sage Plants are not attractive, but there is something great about a tree with variegated leaves.

It always stands out from other trees when growing in a crowded garden and is a perfect alternative to the typical Sage.

Close up of a Golden Sage with its pale yellow-green leaves and clusters of small, dusty pink flowers.

(Image: Agnieszka Kwiecień, Nova30)

It will be comfortable growing in zones 7-8 and can grow to the normal 2 feet height.

Close up of Berggarten Sage with its dense form and green, broad leaves.

(Image: David J. Stang29)

10. Berggarten Sage

The name of this stunning tree comes from its place of origin in Germany at the Bergarten Mansion. You will notice that it looks eerily familiar to the Common Sage that you already know about, but there is one outstanding feature, the fact that it doesn’t bloom.

Yes, all you get with this plant is the rounded grayish leaves but the upside is that it tends to have more flavor than the garden Sage.

How To Plant a Sage Plant

Maybe this is your very first time trying to plant something. If so, you may be worried that something may go wrong or that it will be a tasking and daunting job.

Not to worry. Before you panic, you may as well know that sage growing a pretty great place to start.

It is not very demanding since it is already hardy and quite resilient.

Whether you have a green thumb or not, the following tips will help you know how to grow sage (planting tips for Sage Tree) and you will find the entire journey an exciting one.

Growing a Sage Tree From a Seed

Trying to grow a sage from seed is the ultimate lesson on patience, and it will be quite a long wait. It explains why most people would rather take the easiest way out and opt for other, more convenient methods that don’t take as long.

Many dismiss the seed method because they would rather be able to see Sage growing and do that in the shortest time possible.

But still, if you are keen on seeing the entire process through and unfold right before your eyes, brace yourself because your Sage Tree may take years to fully mature. Interested still?

You will have to start them indoors, under a grow light, and the germination itself will take about 8 weeks.

When planting, consider digging a ⅛ hole in the planter and make sure that the soil is moist, but avoid overdoing it and making it all soggy.

Growing a Sage Tree From a Cutting

What if you don’t have the patience to watch your sage grow from a seed? Say you want to give it the shortest time possible to grow and be ready for use or you don’t have access to a seed.

You can conveniently start by planting a cutting.19

The best thing about this is that the resulting Sage Tree that you get will be the exact copy of the parent breed, and you can use this to your advantage.

If you notice a beautiful sage that is resilient and able to survive everything and anything, you can replicate that by taking a cutting from it and planting it. Take a sharp knife and cut off a shoot that is around 6 cm underneath the leaf crown.

Remove the leaves at the bottom such that you are left with only the cutting that you need to plant and a few leaves up at the top. It is this cutting that you will dip in a rooting hormone and plant in fertile soil, watering and checking that it is gradually growing.

Growing a Sage Tree From a Seedling

Apart from using a cutting, there is another easier way to plant a Sage Tree. Why don’t you just buy a seedling and re-pot it in your garden or planter?

It’s quite simple, really, kind of like repotting and letting the tree pick up its growth from where it left off.

You can dig a hole the same or relatively bigger than the pot the plant came in and ensure that the soil is rich and well-draining. You can then slowly remove the seedling from its initial pot and repot it, filling it with potting mix and adding water.5

Just like that, and you are done.

Growing Sage in Pots

You don’t have to always grow your plants outdoors in your garden. Because what if the soil outside is not perfect for the sage?

And what if the spots are shaded, and there is no sufficient light for plants to grow? There is an excellent and thoughtful alternative that many homeowners go for, planting in pots or planters.

This way, it becomes easier to get the right soil, fertilize it however you want and even move the plant when you want more or less sunlight access. For the best result, you can consider an 8-inch clay pot that has proper drainage to help avoid waterlogging.

It should be spacious enough for sage’s roots which, as you know, can dig deep.

How Far Apart To Plant Sage Tree

Like any other plant out there, the sage also needs some space to live and thrive, growing taller while enjoying all the nutrients that the soil has to offer. Unfortunately, this is not possible unless you ensure that there is proper spacing between each sage that you plant.

The roots have the chance to grow deep and wide, and you wouldn’t want any overcrowding.

They can also grow too cramped up and not look as pretty as they are supposed to. You can only check on this during the initial planting stages.

Whether you are starting with the seed, seedling, or cutting, you will have to leave about a 2-feet distance in between each two consecutive plants. Alternatively, you can make sure that the space is at least 18-24 inches, no matter how or where you are planting the sage.

When To Plant Sage Tree for the Best Yield

If you are looking to grow a sage that not only grows healthy and tall but also grows beautiful leaves and flowers, you should plant it at the right time.

This is the key ingredient that many people fail to remember, and eventually, end up with a sickly sage with stunted growth that doesn’t look as appealing as others.

So what is the perfect time to plant your sage? Like any other plant, it has to be in spring.21

And in particular, you can consider planting it at least 2 weeks before your region’s last frost. You can also start it indoors to shelter it from any cold and only later drag it outside when the conditions are more favorable.

How To Grow Sage Indoors

You don’t have to grow sage outdoors. As a matter of fact, experts actually recommend growing it indoors to keep it safe when the weather is too punishing, like during extremely cold nights.

Although the plant is resilient, it is still better to be safe than sorry because anything can happen, and the last thing you want is for it to die.

It is okay to plant yours indoors but only as long as the conditions are favorable. The Sage Tree should receive light, a lot of it for that matter, the same as it would on the outside.

But still, if that is not really realistic, you can always invest in a grow light and place your pot underneath. This way, you can compensate for the sunlight it requires by at least 2 hours for each and every sunlight hour it needs when outdoors.

How Long It Takes To Grow Sage Tree

The Sage Tree’s growth rate usually depends on several factors. For one, it depends on the planting method that you went for.

Graphic of Sage Tree growth rate showing a month old Sage Tree with up to 6 inches in height growing to a 5 year old, full grown Sage Tree with up to 36 inches in height.


As earlier pointed out, starting with a seed is usually more daunting than any other method. You have to be very patient to watch it grow from the seed, germinate, and then mature, which can take even years.

A Sage Tree takes about 6-8 weeks before it can germinate,6 but you can bypass this by getting right to the seedling stage or by starting from a cutting. Sometimes, the entire process, from planting to harvesting, can take as little as 75 days.

Although there may likely be some delays here and there, the process is expected to take place within nothing more than a year.

Sage Plant Care

Caring for Sage Plant is not daunting, not even for a first-timer. So, there’s no need to worry a lot about failing or making a mistake.

Planting is one thing, but care and maintenance are another, but not to worry, because it is very simple, perfect for the busy or forgetful plant parent. If this is the first plant you are growing from scratch, you would want to know what are the best-growing conditions for Sage Tree.20


Of course, you want the leaves of your Sage to be the most flavorful. This can only happen if your tree gets full and proper sunlight access.

Although there are certain plants that don’t need sun, the sage sun requirements are very important. It is not only about the flavor, but it also has a lot to do with the survival of your plant.

The sage may be resilient and evergreen, but it needs a lot of sunlight to stay healthy and vibrant. Wondering how much sunlight does Sage Tree need each day?

Just about 6 hours of direct light each and every day. It is only in special cases like sweltering summers that you will have to offer a little shade for extra protection from the unforgiving scorching sun.


Luckily, the watering needs for Sage Tree plants are only moderate. Nothing too over the top because the plant is already quite drought tolerant.

There is also the risk of over-watering because staying in soggy conditions for extended periods of time can instigate root rot, which is a lethal viral infection.

The best and safest way to go is to only water an inch or two each time the soil dries up, which may be after a couple of days or at most a week. And while watering, remember to avoid pouring the water on the leaves because that can also cause mildew.


As long as the sage has grown and is independent, you won’t have to worry about keeping the soil wet all the time. In fact, it is not advised because excessive moisture over an extended period of time can easily lead to root rot.

Therefore, the soil has got to be well-draining.

If you are going for the best yield, which of course you are, you can also consider adding fertilizer or compost, but not in excess. The perfect soil for the perennial must be a little bit acidic or at least have a neutral pH.


Moderate is the word when you are looking for the most suitable temperature for the sage. The common or garden Sage is usually more resilient, unlike other ornamental varieties like the purple Sage.

The older and more independent options can survive frost, but for the best results, you should maybe consider 60-70 degrees (F). If it is too cold outside, you can bring the plants in, and if otherwise too hot, you can find a nice cool shaded spot instead.


The trick with the Sage, and probably one thing you want to look out for, is finding a way to maintain the rich flavor. It can be quite tricky because most herbal plants tend to kind of weaken over the years and become more and more less productive.

Looking at the sage, it can get woody or rigid, and when this happens, the growth rate can slow down, and the flavor weakens.

When you prune sage,16 you can effectively reduce the chances of this because the old stems will get replaced by more potent and stronger growth that helps the plant retain its aroma and richness. You can do it early in the spring each year,4 and while at it, consider cutting only a little over two leaves and a third of the length of the stem.

Harvesting the Sage Plant

Once you get the planting and care tips of the Sage Tree right, you will be well on your way to growing the healthiest, strongest, and richly-scented sage. If you are patient all through the entire process and properly care for your tree, you can even start harvesting as early as 75 days from the first day of planting.

Don’t worry about not knowing how to harvest sage because you have all the tips that you need right here.

The first tip that any expert will tell you is that you should limit the number of times that you harvest the plant during its first year of life. The goal is to help the tree retain the energy and nutrients to establish itself more and become more independent.

Closeup of harvested Sage leaves placed on a table with white cloth.

(Image: cferrigno42632)

This cannot happen if you harvest the better part of it.

The second trick to get the richest flavor from your sage is to harvest before you see the flowers poking out. And while at it, you should also try to time it; at least give it two months before the year’s frost date to avoid tampering with the new growth.

So how do you go about harvesting the tree in the safest way possible?

For starters, you can pull out the edible leaves one at a time, using your hands and only taking as much as you need. Be careful not to get too excited with the harvesting that you pull out half or more of the plant.

The safest way to go is to take a maximum of a third of the plant at least during one harvest.

Sage users will tell you that the leaves are best used when fresh from harvesting because they have the freshest and richest flavor that way. If you are not yet ready to use yours, you can simply refrigerate and preserve their goodness.

Alternatively, you can also opt to dry and store them for use later.

Best Companion Plants for Sage

Companion planting sage is an excellent idea, especially for those with vegetable gardens. There is nothing as fascinating as having the sweet aroma from the plant and the magnificent colors mixing up with other trees.

The only problem is that you need to find the perfect companion plants for growing Sage Tree, otherwise, you may end up only harming your tree in the process.

The right options should have a great relationship with the plant and some actually go a long way to help it grow. Options like the following:

  • Coreopsis: If you are looking to have a stunning flower garden, consider planting the coreopsis among the sage, but striking Cherry Blossoms will definitely do the trick.
  • Oregano: Thinking of an exclusive kitchen garden where you can only plant aromatic herbs for your kitchen, there is no better companion for the sage than the oregano, equally rich in flavor and scent.
  • Cabbage: Did you know that sage is an excellent insect repellent?13 The pests hate the strong smell and would rather stay away from it.
    If you want to keep cabbage worms and other pests away, consider planting them together with the sage. This will also work for veggies like broccoli and brussels sprouts.10

What Is the Best Sage Tree Growing Zone?

Why is the growing zone so important? Why must it be included in this write-up anyway?

It is the first and most crucial aspect to consider when you are thinking of planting anything in your home.

But why? Well, it is a thin line between having a struggling and a thriving plant.

Not getting it right could mean dealing with a plant that is not the perfect fit for your region.

Every plant has a home, and the USDA growing zone is one way to determine basically which plants are comfortable in which temperatures. The lower the zone, the colder the region is, and it tells a lot about the plant because, for instance, the growing zones for Sage Tree, where to grow it for maximum yield, are between 4-10.

This tells you that the Sage is quite resilient yet still picky about the growing conditions. While it can survive the cold of Zone 4, it can also thrive when the temperature and humidity rise in Zone 10.

However, it cannot go any higher or lower than that because unfavorable conditions can cause it to die off.

Common Sage Plant Pests

In as much as the sage is quite resilient, there are some cases where it, too, falls under pest attacks.

The same way that you love the amazing flavor and scent is the same way that other insects and animals are drawn to it and cannot keep off it.

Close up of a brown bug on a green sage leaf.

(Image: naturfreund_pics33)

You should know the common pests of the Sage Tree that you are up against and possibly how to deal with them to protect your plant.


There are a whole lot of insects that fall in this category, and they are the biggest nemesis for any plant parent. The culprits include mites, aphids, white flies, and thrips which cannot resist the tasty fleshy sage leaves and always want to suck the sap and chew into the flesh.

The best way to handle these nuisances is to use natural pest control for Sage Tree. The methods are way cheaper and safer than chemical-rich store-bought pesticides.

You can use a homemade mixture of soap, neem oil, garlic, and other herbs at least once a week for the best results.


These ones are probably the most destructive insects that you should watch out for. They can chew into and eliminate a large portion of the plant within a pretty short time.

If you are looking for the safest way to get rid of them, one that works is hand-picking: maybe not ideal for many people, but it is the best way to avoid any damage to the tree. Bt. Bacillus bacteria can also work wonders for you,14 and the best part is that it is not toxic for human consumption.


Just like the caterpillars, slugs are also pretty destructive, and you want to deal with them as soon as possible.8 These ones are known to leave long white tails along their way and, when they attack, leave nasty holes in the leaves.

You can either take them out using your hands or buy slug baits, but these are not recommended because they are quite toxic and more invasive.

Common Sage Tree Diseases

The Sage is quite an easygoing plant, and it is great for you as a plant parent because you don’t always have to worry about pests, only as long as the prevailing conditions are right. If you are sure that you are providing everything that your plant needs, it will never have to battle diseases, and in case it does, the infection will not be too severe.

There are some common diseases that you can be on the lookout for. For instance, there is the crown gall.

These galls ruin the entire aesthetics of the sage, but that is the least of your worries because it can kill the entire tree. It is a bacterial infection that enters the sage through wounds and may cause small to large galls that can be spongy or hard.

Of course, there is also rust, a fungal infection that attacks the sage and its other cousins from the mint family. It usually leaves tiny dust-like bright-colored pustules on the bottom part of the leaves, and it is common for the affected parts to just randomly die and fall off.

Another disease that keeps attacking the sage is root rot, which is often a result of overloving your sage and watering it too much.

Sage Tree Disease Prevention

Now that you have learned all about Sage Tree pests and diseases, the next thing is now to find out how to stop Sage Tree disease. It can be quite tricky, considering that there are some severe bacterial and fungal infections that attack the plant and can actually cause grave damage, if not the plant’s death.

Therefore, it is very important to understand the types of diseases and how to manage them, at least before it’s too late for your beautiful sage.

Disease prevention usually depends on the type of disease in question because they come in various forms. But still, as a caring plant parent, you want to stay a step ahead to make sure that your sage grows healthy and into a beautiful ornamental tree just as you envisioned it.

For starters, consider root rot; the only remedy for this is to ensure that you never overwater your plant.

A common mistake that plant owners make is overhead watering, which is not advisable. Secondly, if you want to prevent fungal and bacterial diseases, you have to find ways to keep your plants a little far from each other.

This way, reducing overcrowding helps promote proper air circulation, and in case a tree gets attacked, it will not easily spread to other trees and potentially wipe out a whole row or garden.

If you see a sage under attack by a fungal or viral disease,15 one that is extremely hard or impossible to beat, you will unfortunately have to remove it to keep the others safe. These diseases are infamous for transporting themselves through the air, water, and soil, and that is the only way to be sure.

The sage is definitely a mysterious yet fantastic plant. Every other person that loves planting trees in their home wants a sage, not only because it is breathtaking but also due to its numerous benefits.

History has it that the plant was key in the religious and medical world, and it only makes sense that it would still be a beloved plant to this day.

You can use it for ornamental reasons and also harvest its leaves for use in the kitchen as a unique additive that adds taste and aroma to your recipes.

Think of the Sage Tree (sage shrub) if you are looking for a lovely and functional addition to your garden because each Sage plant species comes with a unique form and color.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sage Tree (Sage Shrubs)

How Do Sage Leaves Look Like?

It is easy to distinguish sage leaves, apart from the rich aroma, and you can tell by looking at the tree that the leaves are hairy, simple, ovate, and take different colors depending on the cultivar. Some are single-colored, others shiny, while others are variegated.

What Is the Sage Tree Growth Rate?

The rate of the growth of a Sage usually depends on several factors. Well, apart from its prevailing conditions, how you start it also matters a lot because in most cases, starting from a seed tends to take longer than using a seedling of cutting for planting.

Should You Start Planting From a Sage Seedling?

Yes, planting a sage seedling is in fact the fastest and most convenient way to go. You don’t have to wait for germination because that stage has already passed, and the only thing to worry about is repotting it for a fresh start.

How Long Before Sage Sprouting?

If you are planting the sage from seed, you may start wondering exactly how long you are supposed to wait until you see the growth of new shoots. The seed, while in the ground, can take anything from 6-8 weeks to start germination.

When Does a Sage Blossom?

If you are more interested in the sage’s blossom, you will be excited to know that the flowers usually show up in summer. The best part is that they come in plenty of shapes and colors to choose from based on the particular subspecies.

How Much Carbon Does Sage Tree Sequester?

A single sage shrub is able to sequester more than a kilogram of carbon, that is in, every single year. It may not seem like a lot, but together with other trees, this becomes such a huge positive contribution to the environment.


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23Salvia leucophylla tilden prostrate Photo by Stickpen / CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 5, 2023, from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salvia_leucophylla_tilden_prostrate.jpg>

24Russian sage, Purple flowers, Flower garden image. Photo by GrammaElliott. CC0. Cropped, Resized, and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://pixabay.com/photos/russian-sage-purple-flowers-4059607/>

25Flowers, Sage, Texas sage image. Photo by Brett_Hondow. CC0. Cropped, Resized, and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://pixabay.com/photos/flowers-sage-texas-sage-1368127/>

26Clary sage, Salvia sclarea, Blossom image. Photo by Nennieinszweidrei. CC0. Cropped, Resized, and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://pixabay.com/photos/clary-sage-salvia-sclarea-blossom-7259910/>

27Salvia apiana—white sage Photo by John Rusk. (CC BY 2.0). Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved January 5, 2023, from <https://flickr.com/photos/12303842@N00/38341671812>

28Salvia dorrii var. clokeyi Photo by Patrick Alexander / Public Domain Dedication (CC0). Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved January 5, 2023, from <https://flickr.com/photos/26246711@N00/49839370503>

29Salvia officinalis Berggarten Photo by David J. Stang / (CC BY-SA 4.0). Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 5, 2023, from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salvia_officinalis_Berggarten_4zz.jpg>

30Salvia officinalis ‘Aureomaculata’  Photo by Agnieszka Kwiecień, Nova / (CC BY-SA 4.0). Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 5, 2023, from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salvia_officinalis_%27Aureomaculata%27_Sza%C5%82wia_lekarska_2021-08-08_02.jpg>

31Sage, Herb, Food image. Photo by cferrigno426. CC0. Cropped, Resized, and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://pixabay.com/photos/sage-herb-food-spice-seasoning-4367047/>

32Fruit bug, Bug, Tree bug image. Photo by naturfreund_pics. CC0. Cropped, Resized, and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://pixabay.com/photos/fruit-bug-bug-tree-bug-pest-sage-4374698/>

33Photo of Scarlet Sage provided by Denise Davis

34Bumblebee Insect Blossom Bloom Photo by Michaela Wenzler (wenzlerdesign). (2018, May 24) / Pixabay Content License. Cropped and added text, shape, and background elements. Pixabay. Retrieved February 16, 2024, from <https://pixabay.com/photos/bumblebee-insect-blossom-bloom-3425342/>