I just love the smell of this beautiful, savory herb called “sage”. This herb actually grows quite well in our tropical weather here in the Philippines. I simply sprinkled a few seeds in a medium sized pot and they all germinated successfully. Sage has an intense flavor that only a few leaves are needed to flavor the entire dish....
Sage will grow well with full or partial sun exposure. Its flavor becomes more intense when it receives a lot of sunlight. It is a very sturdy plant and will perform well in medium sized containers filled with well-drained potting soil that is mixed with compost. Pests are almost non-existent because most of them stay away from this herb owing to its strong scent.
Unlike basil, sage will continue to produce its strong flavor even after the plant has grown its flowers. But like most herbs, sage herbs will benefit a lot from regular pruning which makes it even more prolific in producing new leaves. Fertilizers are rarely needed, and in fact, too much fertilizer may even cause this herb to lose its flavor and aroma.
How to propagate
Sage can be grown from seeds or through cuttings. In tropical zones, the seeds germinate in about 5- 7 days depending on the weather condition. However, germination takes a bit longer during cold weather conditions. For cuttings, the stem will typically grow its own roots in about 2-3 weeks. Wait another 2 weeks before exposing the herb plant to full sunlight, to avoid shock. Watering is needed twice a week (or more frequent during summer, when the soil feels dry). This herb is fairly tolerant to drought and is expected to withstand our summer heat here in the Philippines.
Regular pruning is advisable in order to encourage more new leaves to grow. Harvest the top leaves and to get the best concentration of flavors, harvest in the morning before the sun rises. The harvested leaves can be dried and stored in a paper bag for future consumption since only a handful of dried leaves are needed for the entire dish.
Uses of Sage
For culinary purposes, this herb goes well with most meat, including pork and chicken. Just a little goes a very long way. Chop a few leaves and sprinkle them over roast pork, beef or chicken. It also blends well with rosemary and thyme, or oregano for pasta sauces.
For medicinal purposes, sage has been known to treat digestive problems like flatulence (gas), gastritis, diarrhea, bloating and heartburn. I typically drop 2 leaves of this aromatic herb into a cup of boiling water like tea. Some websites also claim that sage can help prevent Alzheimer’s diseases. Other medicinal uses have also been found for sage (see WebMD on Sage). This herb is so wonderful, a ‘must try’ for any aspiring urban gardener.