How to Grow Sage Indoors: A Beginner’s Guide for 2024

how to grow sage indoors

Sage is the perfect addition to your herb garden.  It has been used for centuries for culinary purposes, for medicinal purposes, and in religious ceremonies. Learning how to grow sage indoors is really easy. It requires some patience and care to grow the plant successfully. However, it is worth the effort because of its many benefits! 

What is Sage?

Sage, or salvia officinalis, is a hardy perennial that is also a common herb used for smudging. With its woody stems and leathery leaves, it is not only eye-catching, but useful.  

It has been used for smudging, to purify an area or person, and it is also good for cleansing your home of negative energy.

Does Sage Grow Well Indoors?

Sage grows well indoors because of how hardy it is.  It can be grown in a pot, or in a windowsill with very little effort.  

When planted outside, sage needs partial shade to full sun.  So keep that in mind when growing it indoors.

If you don’t live in a sunny location, where you can get full sun through a window, using artificial light, such as a grow light, can help your sage plant thrive inside.  

how to grow sage indoors sage leaves
Leaves of a sage plant.

Benefits of Growing Sage Indoors

  • Freshness – Sage leaves can be dried to keep your house smelling fresh!
  • Flavor – Sage goes well with many foods.  Having it on hand is convenient and enjoyable for culinary purposes.
  • Health Benefits – Sage also has health benefits like lowering blood pressure; increasing circulation; reducing cholesterol; and fighting cancer cells. Another great reason to have it on hand year round.
  • Pest Control – Sage is a natural pest repellent and can help keep unwanted pests out of your home.
  • Easy to Grow – Sage is an easy herb to grow, making it perfect for beginners!
  • Aromatherapy – The scent of sage is said to be refreshing and uplifting. 
  • Versatility – Sage can be used in many forms, including oils and dried leaves.

Is Sage Easy to Grow?

YES! If you want to grow sage indoors, there are many different methods that you can use. These include starting from seeds, planting roots directly in the ground, or using cuttings taken from existing plants. 

All of these methods are simple to do, even for a beginner gardener.  

How to Grow Sage From Cuttings

Sage is a very easy plant to grow from cuttings.  The leaves can be used to grow new plants. 

How to take cuttings from an existing plant: 

1 |  Cut off a leaf and place it in water with the cut surface facing down, making sure that half of the stem is submerged below the water’s surface. 

2 |  Roots will start growing from this end within one or two weeks as long as you keep your pot out of direct sunlight. 

3 |  Once they are about an inch long, you can plant them in soil and let the leaves regrow. 

how to grow sage indoors young sage plant
Young sage plant in a a pot.

How to Grow Sage from Seeds

You will need:

1 |  Fill up about three-quarters of your pot with soil. 

2 |   Sage seeds are tiny, so you’ll need to plant quite a few of them to ensure success. You can sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil and gently press them down into place with your fingertips.

The seeds should be planted fairly close together, but make sure they are not touching each other or you will wind up with deformed plants!

3 |  Water the soil thoroughly to ensure that it is nice and moist before covering your pots with plastic wrap. This can either be placed directly on top of them or held in place by a few large pebbles. 

4 |  Place the pot in a sunny spot and keep an eye on it to make sure the soil remains moist. 

 5 |  When the seeds have germinated (you’ll be able to tell by tiny green leaves popping up) and they are about an inch tall, you can remove the plastic wrap and begin watering them once or twice a week.

how to grow sage indoors seedlings.
Sage seedlings.

Growing Sage in Pots Indoors

Sage grows well in a small pot, as long as you take care of it properly.  Clay pots work great for growing sage.  The right soil, lighting and watering are key to successful growing and will get you the best results. 

You will need:  

1 |  First fill the container about halfway up with soil.

2 |  After you’ve filled the container with soil, take one handful of dirt and pack it down into the hole where you’re going to put your sage plant. Now take another handful or two and pack that down into the hole, making sure to leave a little bit of room for your sage plant. 

3 |  Now place your sage plant in the center of the pot and make sure it’s sitting nice and level.

4 |  Then, take some more dirt from around where you planted the sage plant and cover up all parts of its stem. Continue to do this until the stem is completely covered. 

5 |  Thoroughly water your plant.  

Sage in a pot.

How Much Water Does Sage Need?

Now that your sage plant is in the pot, you’ll need to water it regularly. Sage is one of the most drought-resistant plants, and does not like super wet soil, so make sure to check the moisture levels often. 

If the top of the soil feels dry to the touch, then go ahead and give it a good watering! You don’t want to water too much, otherwise you risk root rot.  

It’s also a good idea to fertilize your sage plant every three weeks or so to make sure it’s always getting the nutrients and vitamins that it needs to grow strong and healthy.

How to Care for Indoor Sage Plants

There are a few simple steps when taking care of your indoor sage plant.  

1 |  Plant your herb in a sunny windowsill; If you don’t live in a sunny location, you can use grow lights, or even LED lights.  

2 |  Keep your herbs watered regularly; pay attention to when the soil is dry and water from there.

3 |  Trim off any diseased or wilted leaves.

4 |  Cut back on watering during winter months (November through March).

5 |  Remove yellowing foliage when spring arrives again.

how to grow sage indoors.  in pot with thyme.
Sage in a pot with thyme.

How to Grow Sage for Smudging

The sage plant has been used for centuries to help purify and clear negative energy from a space. Sage is also used in smudging ceremonies, which are practiced by many indigenous people. In the Western world, using sage for smudging is often done when there has been a tragedy or death in the family.

Common species of sage used for smudging are: 

  • white sage (Salvia apiana)
  • other Salvia species
  • white prairie sage or estafiate (Artemisia ludoviciana)
  • other Artemisia species

When you are ready to use your sage plant for smudging, you can harvest your sage bundle (read “How to Harvest Sage”).  

You can either dry out your sage bundle, or you can use the fresh plant to bundle together and use for smudging.

How to grow sage indoors.  smudging sage.
Sage being used for smudging.

Growing White Sage Indoors

White sage is often the kind of sage that is used for smudging and burning incense, and is just as easy to grow inside than any other type of sage. 

White sage will grow quite a bit taller than regular sage, so make sure to plan for a much taller plant.  

With proper drainage, plenty of sun and only watering about once a week, your white sage plant will thrive.

how to grow sage indoors.  white sage.
White sage.

Harvesting Sage Leaves

Harvesting sage leaves is very easy.

You will want to harvest the leaves as they are about halfway up the stalk, which should be at least 12 inches tall for most plants; we don’t recommend harvesting any lower than this because you won’t get enough material. 

When you still have young plants, like within the first year of growth, you shouldn’t harvest heavily.  This will ensure your plant stays healthy.   

You should never harvest more than 30% of the plant at one time, because it will injure your plant.  

Use a pruning shear to make a clean cut above new growth.  On mature plants, there will be small leaves growing on the stems, and those are the new growth that you want to avoid cutting off.

Once you have harvested your leaves, strip away all of the stems and let them air dry overnight before storing or using them.

Always store in an airtight container.

how to grow sage indoors.  harvested sage leaves.
Harvested sage leaves.

How to Use Your Sage

When using common sage (culinary Sage), you can use it in both sweet and savory dishes. 

It has a slightly peppery flavor and is often added to meats, dressings, and soups. 

Sage also makes a great tea when steeped in hot water.

Powdery Mildew on Sage

Powdery mildew is a fungus that appears on plants, usually in outdoor gardens.  The powdery mildew will appear as white spots on your plant.  

One way to keep this annoying fungus away is to spray your plant with water, from top to bottom.  The spores won’t germinate on a wet leaf.  

There are several ways to get rid of powdery mildew, including concoctions of baking soda or vinegar.  Almanac.com has a detailed list of ways to get rid of powdery mildew, should your sage plant be inundated by the fungus. 

How to grow sage indoors.  Powdery mildew on leaf.
Powdery mildew on a leaf.

Spider Mites on Sage

One thing that can become a serious problem for sage is the presence of spider mites.  These little mites look like spiders and are somewhat common in house plants.

The first signs of spider mites on your sage plant, will be:

  • Yellow spots on the leaves
  • The mites themselves (red or white).  You may see them moving.
  • Webs underneath the leaves

There are a couple of non-toxic ways you can get rid of spider mites on your sage plants: 

  • Water down your plant completely and spray the leaves off.
  • Use neem oil to snuff them out.  

Final Thoughts on Growing Sage Indoors

When you learn how to grow sage indoors, remember that it takes some patience and a bit of a learning curve. Overall, sage is an easy plant to grow inside your home.

The benefits are worth the work it takes to keep your sage plant thriving and healthy!

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