While sage is a hardy herb that can stand alone, it actually grows well alongside certain other plants. Companion planting with sage helps it thrive and boosts your whole garden.
As you plan your garden this season, consider adding some vegetables, herbs, and even flowers that may do well as sage companions.
Good Companion Plants for Sage
Sage loves the company of certain plants. Their scents and blooms complement each other beautifully. Some of the best companions for sage are:
- Catnip. If you have an outdoor cat, catnip’s intoxicating fragrance will drive them wild—and away from your sage!
- Rosemary. Another aromatic herb, rosemary’s piney scent blends nicely with sage. Both plants also enjoy similar growing conditions. Besides, both are deer-resistant herbs, so planting them together creates an attractive barrier.
- Sunflowers. Cheerful sunflowers make a stunning backdrop for sage. Their tall stems and huge flower heads contrast beautifully with the sage’s bushy form. Sunflowers also provide shade for young sage plants.
- Lavender. This fragrant herb has soft purple flowers that pair perfectly with sage’s silvery foliage. Plus, lavender attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies that also help sage.
- Marigolds. Bright marigolds deter many common garden insects with their pungent scent. Therefore, interplanting marigolds with sage helps naturally protect your sage from damage by repelling unwanted visitors like spider mites and slugs.
- Beans and peas. Legumes, on the whole, help enrich the soil. They capture atmospheric nitrogen and deposit it into the soil for other plants to benefit from.
- Tomatoes benefit from having sage around. Sage is a good repellent for flea beetles, pests that bother tomatoes a lot.
You can always feel safe grouping sage with Mediterranean herbs like rosemary, oregano, and thyme. They have similar light and water needs, and their flavors complement each other nicely.
Brassicas, carrots, nasturtiums, celery, phlox, strawberries, lovage, and lemon balm also make good companions.
What Not to Plant with Sage
Sage has some particular companions it prefers in the garden and some it would rather do without.
For starters, avoid planting it near alliums. Plants like onions, garlic, and shallots can damage the root systems of your sage plants. Plus, they have different growing requirements.
Also, steer clear of cucumbers since sage may stunt their growth. Other bad companions include basil, fennel, rue, and wormwood.
How to Grow Sage
To grow sage successfully, plant it in a spot with well-drained, fertile soil and full sun exposure for at least 6 to 8 hours a day. Sage thrives in warmer climates.
Also, space sage plants 18 to 24 inches apart.
Water regularly, especially for the first few months after planting. Once established, sage is drought-tolerant, but still requires occasional watering. Never leave the soil soggy, which can cause root rot.
This plant requires very little fertilizer to thrive, but for the best growth and health, you’ll want to provide nutrients during the growing season.
From spring through summer, when your sage is actively growing, fertilize the plant every few weeks. Look for a formula in the range of 10-6-4 NPK ratios.
In the fall, when growth starts to slow down, cut back on feeding. There’s no need to fertilize at all in the early winter.
Keep an eye out for these unwanted visitors in your sage patch.
Spider mites can spin webs on the undersides of leaves and feed on sage leaves, causing stippling damage . Slugs and caterpillars can also cause damage to the leaves.
By regularly inspecting your sage for signs of these common pests, you can catch infestations early and take appropriate action to protect your sage plants.
Sage can also be susceptible to a few diseases that may affect its health and growth. As with any plant, it’s best to prevent disease rather than try to cure it after the fact.
Be on the lookout for powdery mildew, rust, and root rot. Fungal leaf spot disease can also be a problem.
When the sage has fully formed leaves, it’s time to harvest. The leaves are most potent before the plant blooms.
To harvest sage, use pruning shears or scissors to cut the stems of healthy leaves. Also, cut the top few inches of growth, leaving some foliage on the plant. This will allow it to continue growing and producing leaves.
Once your sage has finished growing for the season, it’s important to properly store the herb to enjoy its flavor and aroma all year round.
After the plant has flowered and the leaves are fully grown, cut stems 6 to 8 inches long.
Next, bundle 4 to 6 stems together and hang them upside down in a warm, dry, airy place away from direct sunlight. Leave for 1 to 2 weeks until the leaves are crumbly.
You can also rinse fresh sage leaves and pat them dry with a towel. Next, pack the leaves into an airtight plastic freezer bag or container.
Frozen sage will last up to a year. Simply add the frozen leaves directly to dishes while cooking.
Moreover, you can pack clean sage leaves into sterilized jars and cover them with olive oil. Seal the jars and leave them in the refrigerator. Use within 3 weeks.
Where to Buy Seeds
Once you’ve decided to grow sage in your garden, the next step is finding sage seeds or starter plants. You may also want to find quality seeds for your companion plants.
For a wider selection, order seeds from an online seed company or through mail-order catalogs. Some recommended online companies that offer heirloom and organic seeds include Burpee, SeedsNow, and Amazon.
So there you have it: some of the best companion plants for sage in your garden. By pairing sage with plants that enhance its growth and ward off pests, you’ll have a thriving herb garden in no time.
And don’t forget, your garden’s ecosystem is delicate. So choosing companion plants that work in harmony will make your gardening experience much more rewarding.