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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

Common sage, Garden sage, Broad leaved sage

Latin Name: Salvia officinalis

Plant Family: Lamiaceae

Close Relatives: Mint, basil, lavender, savory, thyme

Uses and Markets: Culinary (e.g. seasoning); Medicinal; Personal Care Products (e.g. perfumes, soaps, cosmetics, insect repellent, skin lotion, herbal baths); Ornamental

Garden sage
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Although hardy as a perennial, the plant will focus on flower production in the second year resulting in reduced yields.

Propagation method

Most commonly by transplants from seeds; less commonly by transplants from cuttings or layering.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:


Field Transplanting Dates

Late May/early June

In-row spacing

25-40 cm

Between row spacing

70-100 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Research at the University of Guelph showed an optimal nitrogen rate in the first year of 100 kg/ha N at one site and no response to nitrogen at another site. Excess fertility may affect quality. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soil.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range


Temperature sensitivity

Freeze tolerant.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation beneficial under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

60-90 days

Specialized equipment:


Harvest Scheduling

Multiple harvests from the same planting (light harvests for fresh herb); single harvest (first year for dried herb), double harvest (successive years for dried herb).

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades.

Additional Harvest Notes

If grown as a perennial, the last harvest should occur in early fall so the plant can maintain reserves for winter.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Dry leaves and sprigs to 12% moisture at 38°C.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH):
95% (fresh herb); low for dried sage

Temperature: 0°C

Duration: 2-3 weeks (fresh herb); one or more years if properly stored (dried herb)

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Four-lined plant bug (Poecilocapuslineatus), spittle bugs, leafhoppers

Diseases: Phomopsis leaf and stem blight

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Caterpillars, spider mites, aphids, leafminers, stem borers, tarnished plant bug, whiteflies,

Diseases: Stem and root rots (e.g. Phytophthora, Sclerotinia), wilt, rust, downy mildew, leaf spots and blights (e.g. Cercospora), aster yellows, root-knot nematodes

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions. 


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: four-lined plant bug.  Disease pressures can be reduced through proper site selection and by promoting good air movement through the canopy. This crop is in Crop Group 19: Herbs and Spices Group and subgroup 19A: Herb Subgroup. This crop group is being revised and may change in the near future. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.For pest control products registered on this crop refer to OMAFRA Publication 838.

Four-lined plant bug damage to sageUnknown Phomopsis disease on sageSpittlebugs on sage.Froghoppers are the adult stage of spittle bugs
Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. McKeown, A.W., C.J. Bakker and J. Schooley. 1998-2002. Herb Demonstration Garden, University of Guelph Simcoe Research Station, unpublished.
  2. Westerveld, S.W. and C.J. Bakker. 2007. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium nutrition for sage. Vegetable and Non-Traditional Crops Research Report, Simcoe Research Station pp. 49-51.
  3. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA herb demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Chevallier, A. 1996. The Encyclopaedia of medicinal plants. DK Publishing Inc, New York.
  2. Kowalchik, C. and W.H. Hylton. 1998.  Rodale`s illustrated encyclopaedia of herbs. Rodale Press, Emmaus PA.
  3. Mchoy, P. and P. Westland. 1994. The herb bible: the ultimate herb reference book. New Burlington Books, London, UK
  4. Readers Digest. 2009 The complete illustrated book of herbs. The Reader`s Digest Association, Pleasentville, New York.
  5. Small, Ernest. 2006. Culinary herbs. NRC Press, Ottawa, ON.
  6. Thomas S.C.L. 2000. Medicinal plant: culture, utilization, and phytopharmacology. Technomic Publishing Company Inc., Lancaster, PA.