Suppose you want to try your hand at pot and container gardening and want to grow your own seedlings. In that case, sage is one of those rewarding gardening experiences. Sage is a perennial herb that, with care, keeps on growing year after year. Beginner gardeners and novices enjoy the ease of growing sage as a culinary herb, and its flowers make it attractive in herbaceous borders.
You can cut sage back in spring to eliminate its woodiness for a profusion of leaves in spring. A Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey is synonymous with butter and sage stuffing recipes that exude pine and citrus flavors. Sage is also used in stews; buttered parsnips and sage are delectable. It’s worthwhile knowing how to grow sage in pots and containers.
How to Plant Sage in Pots or Containers
How to plant sage seeds, nurture and divide sage seedlings and plant seedlings in pots or containers.
- Germination or seed boxes with separate containers
- Watering can
- Germination trays
- Wooden iced lolly sticks
- A 6-inch dowel stick
Step 1. Preparing to plant Sage Seeds
You can quickly start germinating sage seeds indoors and get the seedlings ready for planting in pots and containers. In your garden, sage is a perennial with an abundance of deep dusty grey-green leaves that exudes an earthy fragrance of pine and citrus when you brush against the bush.
Sage has beautiful pale mauve flowers that grow on a tall stem. The edible foliage is used in various meat and vegetable recipes, and the flowers are added to salads and cold soups.
A good starting soil is critical to the successful growth of sage from seeds. Also, ensure you have germination trays, pots, and containers. Fill the germination trays with moist and good starting soil and press the soil down firmly with your fingers. You must repeat the process and add more soil to pack the tray. Seeds need to be in firm soil, not loose.
Sage is easy to grow in pots and containers, and when you get the hang of it, you can grow it in your garden. As sage grows prolifically, you’ll enjoy cutting sage and tying the cutting into bunches as gifts. Once you know how easy it is to grow from seeds, a potted sage plant is a marvelous gift, too. The herb is primarily used for its broad range of culinary uses.
Step 2. Planting Individual Sage Seeds
Compared to oregano’s tiny seeds, sage is different and can easily be planted seed by seed. Oregano does better with an over-seeding propagation method, as the seeds are as fine as coarse sand. When you grow oregano, you drop between 20 – 30 seeds into a hole in a germination seed cubicle. With sage you must plant 2 to 3 seeds in each compartment.
You plant at least three sage seeds per compartment in a seed tray to ensure you can get one or two of the three to grow, if not all three. It does happen that the seeds don't all germinate, and if this is the case, you'll at least have a one in three chance for a sage plant.
You can plant the seeds in a triangular formation in a seedling cubicle. Put a seed in three corners for the sage to have the space to germinate and grow.
You must make a hole with your finger in the moist starter mix, about a 1/8 to ¼ of an inch deep. You then put a seed into each of the three holes in the seed compartment. Remember to place markers with the date of when you planted the seeds. You can use iced lolly sticks for the dates in the seed trays.
Step 3. Covering Sage Seeds
Once the seeds are in the soil, you can use a wooden iced lolly stick to fill the holes. You must close the opening carefully. After this, you can put the germination tray in a warm spot on a window sill. Sage needs heat and warmth to germinate and remember to water the seeds regularly.
If you have a germination tray in a water base, you can add organic compost to the base and let the seeds germinate. The infant seedlings will soak up the nourishment through a process of osmosis.
Step 4. Sage Seedlings After 4 to 5 Weeks
In just over a month, you can look forward to seeing the sage seedlings looking sturdy. It takes 4 to 5 weeks for the sage to grow into seedlings. If all the seeds germinate and grow, you can end up with three sage seedlings per cubicle.
You will also notice that only some sage seeds have germinated at this stage. The seeds that were going to germinate would be out. And if the seedlings don't come up, they will not grow. Some of the cubicles will have three seedlings, others between 1 or 2, or none.
Step 5. Roll Seedlings to Separate
In about 5 -6 weeks, the seedlings will be bigger, stronger, and sturdier. You can transplant these into a pot or a container at this stage. Some of the sage seedlings might be wiry and leggy and take more care to plant. You need to choose the sturdier ones to transplant.
If two or three seeds germinated and grew seedlings, you must take out a plug of these seedlings. Even for one, you should take the seedling out of the cubicle.
Sage, even in the seedling stage, is hardy. And when you remove a plug of seedlings (three or fewer), you can roll the plug between your palms. The rolling action will loosen the soil and expose the roots.
Step 6. Flick Soil off Seedling Roots
You can flick the roots gently with your forefinger to break up the soil. It is easier to work with the seedlings when the roots are exposed rather than tugging them apart.
Step 7. Prepare Pot for Individual Seedlings
Before you start with the seedlings, get a pot or a container filled with good potting soil. As you did with preparing the cubicles for the seed germination, you also have to put the soil into the pots or a container, press it down, and then again fill the pots and containers with more soil. You must have a firm base to plant the seedlings.
You must make a hole in the center of the rich and moist compost in a pot or a container with your forefinger. You can also use a 6-inch dowel stick to reach deep into the pot or a container. The dowl makes a near-perfect funnel to plant the seedlings.
You will be planting individual sage seedlings in the pots or containers. You can produce one or two seedlings depending on the container or pot size. However, you want the seedlings to develop freely and not be cramped.
Step 8. Plant Seedlings in Pots or Containers
You can plant the seedlings in individual pots and containers or at most plant two in a pot or container, depending on the size. Ensure that the roots that have been disentangled to reach down into the holes. The roots have to hang and reach straight down.
You can drop the seedlings and gently close the sage stem by pinching the soil around the seedling. Again, you can relax. Sage is hardy. Once you’ve dropped it into a hole in the soil in a container or a pot, you can look forward to planting your sage in the garden in two weeks.
Sage grows profusely, and if you look after your sage well, you can keep the same bush for years. Remove the non-healthy yellow-tinged leaves and older ones. Keep the fresh deep dusty grey-green leaves, as these also have the maximum flavor in cooking.
Whether you are making stuffing for the Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey or making a sage and sausage meatloaf, buttered sage parsnips, and burnt sage onions, growing your own sage is handy.
As a perennial in your garden or a pot, it’s good to mulch the plant before fall. You also must chop back the dead branches and sticks on a plant. Keep your sage wrapped in a blanket for warmth on cold days and nights.
Three Minute Garden Tips: Growing Sage Indoors from Seeds to Transplants: The Rusted Garden 2013
TRG 2016: The Over-Seeding Approach To Garden Herbs: An Oregano Example