White sage (Salvia apiana) is a small evergreen herb with fuzzy white leaves often spotted with small patches of lavender and tiny white blooms that are attractive to bees. It thrives in hot, dry conditions, and can tolerate temperatures as low as -6.67 degrees Celsius. The leaves of the white sage plant can be dried and used to flavour poultry, sausage, fish, soups or stuffing. White sage thrives in zones 5 through 9. In cooler climates, plant the herb in a container and bring it indoors when the temperature drops.
Plant white sage seeds in a dry, sandy area and full sunlight. Cover the seeds with a light dusting of soil, no more than 1/8 inch deep.
Thin the white sage seedlings when the plants are about 4 inches tall. Allow approximately two feet between each plant.
Keep the soil moist until the white sage plants are established. Once established, water the plants only in hot, dry weather.
Harvest white sage in summer or autumn. Tie the leaves in bunches. Hang the bunches in a cool, well-ventilated spot away from direct sunlight.
White sage seeds can also be started in containers. Fill a sturdy planting container with a drainage hole in the bottom with any good quality commercial potting soil. Sprinkle a few seeds on top of the potting soil and cover with a light dusting of soil. Keep the soil slightly moist until the seeds germinate.
Place the plant in a sunny window. Bright light is especially important during the winter months. If you live in a lowlight environment, available light can be supplemented with a grow light.
Water the plant thoroughly when top of soil feels slightly dry to the touch. Water until water begins to run through the drainage hole. Pour out any water in the drainage saucer-never let the pot sit in water. Don't water the plant again until the top of the soil feels slightly dry to the touch.
Fertilise the plant once a month during spring and summer with a regular liquid fertiliser for indoor plants. Dilute the fertiliser with one part water to one part fertiliser and apply according to the directions on the package.
Place white sage outdoors during the summer months as perennial herbs are more productive outdoors. Place it in an area where it will be in bright light but also protected from afternoon heat and strong winds. Check the potting soil often, as it will dry out quickly. Bring the plant in before the first frost.
If you purchase a started white sage plant, select a compact plant with even colour. Avoid spindly plants or plants with wilted or yellowing leaves. Purchase at a garden centre or nursery that specialises in herbs.
Tips and warnings
- If you purchase a started white sage plant, select a compact plant with even colour. Avoid spindly plants or plants with wilted or yellowing leaves. Purchase at a garden centre or nursery that specialises in herbs.