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How to plant, care for sage

November 21, 2009

Planting and care tips

Planting: Start now and start small. One-gallon sages planted now in advance of winter rains should be given a hole four times the width and two to three times the depth of the nursery container. Before planting, soak the hole three or four times and allow the water to infiltrate. Loosen any bound roots, then use existing soil (not garden center planting soil) to fill around the seedling. Ensure that the root crown is not buried.

Watering: Deep water at a trickle for five minutes once a week for a month, then allow the rains to take over. After that, the plant should be watered only when the leaves begin to furl with signs of stress. During summer, water only in the evening when cooling temperatures will not create the deadly combination of heat and moisture in the root zone.

Maintenance: Some gardeners will say that deadheading after fall and spring blooms can prompt a repeat flush of flowers, but this approach sacrifices the beauty of the dried florets, which can persist for months and draw birds coming to harvest seeds. In fact, the hardest thing about growing these plants successfully is leaving them alone, particularly when holding a hose.

Recommended reading:“The New Book of Salvias: Sages for Every Garden” by Betsy Clebsch, Timber Press. “The New Book of Salvias: Sages for Every Garden”

-- Emily Green

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