Sage, About the Different Sage Varieties

Tricolor Sage

Sage has been revered on many continents for centuries. It is from the Salvia family; Salvia, in the Latin translates to “in good health” or “to cure.” So loved was the herb, a Chinese proverb asks, “How can a man grow old who has sage in his garden?” It is said that in the 1500’s Dutch traders could trade one measure of sage for three measures of black tea from the Chinese.

Sage is a wonderful asset in the garden. The plant itself has a nice mounding habit when pruned properly and bears delicate flower spikes in the late spring and summer which attract bees and are beautiful in mixed bouquets. The foliage is thick and soft with a wooly appearance. All of the sage varieties like well-drained soil, are drought tolerant, and a great choice for mixed pots. Sage is a perennial in zone 5 and will become quite woody after a year or two so plants should be replaced every four or five years. However, one unique variety, the delightful ‘Pineapple’ Sage is an annual and true to its name, smells of sweet pineapple bearing lovely red flowers.

Determining which of the sage varieties to grow may be tricky. Try several because each has its own asset. Some are better for ornamental purposes and others for their use in the kitchen:

Berggarten – has an exceptionally tidy habit and appearance. The extra large, grey green leaves add interest to any garden. Learn more about this variety including sowing information.

Variegated Berggarten -broad, irregular creamy-white edges on a green leaf. Because of its savoury, slightly peppery flavor, it is used in many types of European cuisines. In American cooking, it is traditionally used in stuffing. Learn more about this variety including sowing information.

Common – has the traditional sage flavor perfect for stuffing and the familiar gray-green foliage. It should be pruned heavily in the spring. Learn more about this variety including sowing information.

Golden – is variegated a soft green and gold – very decorative, best as an ornamental and aromatic plant. It makes a striking contrast in the garden or mixed pots. Learn more about this variety including sowing information.

Golden Pineapple – sports golden leaves and red flowers. Both flowers and leaves have a lovely, pineapple scent. This plant makes a great accent in the garden or in mixed pots. Learn more about this variety including sowing information.

Pineapple – is unique and lovely with its edible red flowers and pineapple scent. It has a sweet flavor and is used in teas and potpourri. This one is an annual. Learn more about this variety including sowing information.

Purple – bears purple flowers and can be used in the kitchen like common sage. It has darker greenish purple foliage. Learn more about this variety including sowing information.

Tricolor – is very interesting in the garden with leaves that are variegated white, purple and green. Learn more about this variety including sowing information.