Plant in the spring after all danger of frost has passed in a location that will receive full sun to partial shade. Space plants 15-18″ apart in dry to average soil that is well-drained. Plant height 15-24″. All of the sage varieties are drought tolerant, and a great choice for mixed pots.
During the spring and summer months it is good to use a regular liquid fertilizer or light compost mulch for optimal growth. 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. Cut back severely in the spring before new growth appears.
Attracts bees and butterflies to the garden. Deer resistant.
Sage, Purple salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’
Purple Sage is a lovely, perennial addition to any landscape, kitchen garden or combination planter. Although there is a great deal of variation in the Salvia family, Purple Sage does not diverge greatly from Common Sage except in its color; it can be used as a seasoning in just the same way. Salvia is derived from the Latin word ‘salvare’, which means ‘to heal’ or ‘to save’. The Sage family has antiseptic and antifungal properties.
Purple Sage gets its name from the lovely purple flowers it bears which are a unique addition to flower arrangements, nose gays or tussie -mussies. The leaves are also slightly larger than the Common sage plant and the flowers are much more handsome. This plant displays the entire cool side of the color spectrum because its leaves tinge from a smoky blue-green to blue-purple.
To harvest: fresh is always best. Leaves should be stripped before the sage plant flowers. If you pinch the flowers off during the growing season, you will be able to harvest more leaves. To store, chop the leaves finely and add a little water, freezing the mixture in ice cube trays. Or mix the finely chopped leaves into softened butter for a delicious spread for bread.
You can also dry the stems by gathering them in bunches, hanging them on drying racks out of direct sunlight. Once completely dry, strip leaves from stems and store in airtight containers. Dried sage has a stronger flavor, but a different taste, than the fresh.