By Jennifer Poindexter
Do you eat a lot of chicken? In our house, we eat chicken quite regularly. This is why I’m so familiar with sage. It’s a wonderful herb used in a variety of poultry dishes. The herb is sometimes used in turkey dishes as well. If you eat either of these feathered fowl, it might be worth your time to consider adding sage to your indoor herb garden.
Sage is not an overly complicated herb to grow and would also make a nice houseplant for décor purposes. If you’re interested in exploring more about growing sage indoors, here’s what you should know.
What Sage Might Need to Grow Indoors
Sage is one of the easiest herbs you can grow indoors. With this in mind, it also requires very little to keep it happy while growing in these different conditions. The plant will need sunlight. If you don’t have enough natural light in your home, you should consider investing in either a grow light or LED lighting system to supplement the plant.
You’ll also need a place to grow the plant with the lighting. In my experience, a table, shelf, or trunk works well as long as you can hang the light above the plant. Sage does need proper drainage to grow well. Therefore, ensure your planter and soil drain properly. Outside of these few minor items, you should be able to create a wonderful growing space for this herb inside your home.
Growing Conditions for Sage Indoors
Sage is a straightforward plant when growing it indoors. This is wonderful, whether you’re a beginner gardener or someone with more experience. Who doesn’t love a fuss-free plant? Sage is happy as long as it has a few needs met in its grow space. The first necessity is lighting.
Sage requires eight hours of sunlight per day. If you don’t get this much sun in any window of your home, don’t give up yet. Instead, you can grow sage under a grow light. The only thing to keep in mind is for every hour you supplement sunlight, the plant needs two hours under a grow light or other LED lighting system.
The next thing this plant needs in a grow space is a container which is well-draining. The soil ,the herb is growing in, should be well-draining too.
Our final must-have for sage is the proper temperatures. Sage likes to be grown at 70-degrees Fahrenheit.
This is about the average temperature of most homes. However, be sure you don’t place your plant near a heat source or in a drafty location. This should help you avoid any large swings in temperatures where the plant is growing.
If you can provide these few necessities, you should be able to create an adequate grow space for sage inside your home.
How to Plant Sage Indoors
Sage can be grown in three different ways. The first way is if you purchase a seedling from a local nursery.
Fill your chosen container with well-draining soil. Dig a hole just deep enough to support the plant’s root system. Once the plant is sitting in the hole, fill it in with dirt. Press firmly around the base of the plant to ensure no air reaches the roots.
The next method for growing sage is from seed. Fill your planter with quality soil that drains adequately. Sprinkle the seeds, over the soil, directly into the container. Lightly cover the seeds with dirt and be sure to keep the soil moist. It’s wise to use a spray bottle to mist the plants with water. This will keep everything damp without oversaturating the seeds. Once the plants sprout, and are approximately three inches tall, it’s time to pick the strongest plant.
You should only grow one sage plant per round planter. The other seedlings should be cut off at the soil-level using scissors. This will allow you to remove the unwanted plants without damaging the roots of the plant you’ve decided to keep.
Our final way of growing sage is via cuttings from a mature plant. If you have a sage plant outside, that’s mature, use it to start a new plant. Find a node on the sage plant. Cut right above the node, with scissors, to remove the cutting. Ideally, you’d like the cutting to be a minimum of four inches long. Remove the foliage from the base of the cutting, dip it in rooting hormone, and plant it in well-draining soil.
Keep the cutting moist for approximately a month. At this point, it should have formed roots and be able to handle typical care provided to younger sage plants.
You now have three ways to go about growing sage inside your home. Pick the method which best suits your comfort level and add this delicious herb to your indoor herb garden.
Caring for Sage Indoors
When I tell you that sage is a fuss-free plant, it truly is. It requires minimal care to thrive in your home. The main things this plant needs are humidity, water, and pruning.
To provide proper humidity, you have multiple options. Your first choice is to grow the herb in naturally humid rooms of your home. Rooms, such as the kitchen and bathroom, are wonderful areas for the plant to be able to receive the humidity it needs, consistently, without any extra work on your part. If this doesn’t work for your home, due to lighting or space issues, you can always place a humidifier near your plant, or spritz the plant with a spray bottle of water multiple times per week.
The final option to help sage achieve proper humidity, is to place the planter inside a larger planter. The larger planter should have pebbles in the bottom. Pour water over the pebbles. The water should never reach the planter which holds the sage. Having moisture beneath the planter will help keep the humidity up around the herb.
The next step in caring for sage is watering it properly. When watering sage, use the deep watering method. This helps the plant receive the moisture it needs without oversaturating it. When deep watering, place the planter in your kitchen sink.
Run water at the base of the plant. Avoid getting the foliage of the plant wet as this can lead to issues with disease. When water is running out of the base of the planter, stop applying it. Allow the plant to drain completely before putting it back in its growing area. Don’t apply any more water to the plant until you insert your finger into the soil, and it’s dry to the first knuckle.
The last step in caring for sage is to prune the plant on occasion. You should only prune the tips of the plant to encourage the herb to become fuller. How frequently you do this will depend upon your harvesting schedule. If you prune the tips at least one time per month, it should help the plant fill out.
These are the only three things sage requires when caring for it. This plant looks adorable in a planter, has a delicious flavor, and is extremely low maintenance. It’s a gardener’s dream plant, in many cases.
Pests and Diseases Which Could Impact Sage Indoors
The only disease which commonly impacts sage, while growing indoors, is root rot. This occurs when the plant is growing where the soil or planter isn’t draining well. If your plant is constantly sitting in water, the roots will rot. Avoid this by ensuring you plant your herb in a well-draining container and soil. Also, water the herb using the deep watering method to ensure you aren’t overwatering your plant.
The common pests which could impact sage, while growing indoors, are white flies, spider mites, and aphids. All of which can be treated with an insecticide.
Stay alert to these potential threats, and even if they do occur, you should be able to catch and treat them before your plant becomes too badly harmed.
How to Harvest Sage
Sage has a different harvesting schedule than some other herbs. During the first year of growing this herb indoors, it should be harvested minimally.
After the first year has passed, harvest sage on a regular basis to encourage further growth. Once you’ve begun harvesting your herb, you can use it fresh.
However, sage is also great for drying or freezing if you’d like to use it at a later time.
I hope you can see that sage is a wonderful plant for any indoor garden. It’s an easy plant for the beginner gardener to learn gardening skills.
However, it’s also a great plant for the experienced gardener to enjoy as well. Between the ease, looks, and taste, it’s no wonder many people choose sage to be a part of their indoor gardening experience.