12 reasons to grow salvia in your garden or orchard

Sage is a wonderful plant to grow in your garden or orchard. It can thrive in a wide range of different environments and provide many benefits.

It will be beneficial both during growth and when harvested for home use.

Of course, we tend to think of sage primarily as a useful culinary herb. But its edible uses are just one reason to grow it.


What is sage?

Before we start talking about the reasons to grow salvia in your garden or orchard, we talk about the characteristics of this useful herb.

In this article we talk about Salvia officinalis.

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There are other sages you can grow in your garden, but it’s the common kitchen sage that most of us will be very familiar with.

Originally from southern Europe, this plant is grown in many orchards around the world. It is found in dry, rocky places, often with calcareous and alkaline soils, although it can grow in very different soils and environments.

If you have soil that is very clayey or acidic in nature, it is best to amend the soil or grow sage in a pot. But as long as the soil or growing medium is well-drained and neutral or alkaline, salvia will do just fine with very little effort.

Salvia forms small evergreen shrubs that grow to about 60cm tall and 60cm wide at a medium rate. Will leaf all year round, is hardy and frost insensitive, can be grown outdoors in zones 5-9 as long as placed in full sun, well-drained medium. Small purple flowers will form during the summer months.

Why grow salvia in your garden or orchard?

Sage is incredibly useful for the garden or orchard. Here are a few reasons to make room for common kitchen sage wherever you live:

Low maintenance and drought resistant.

Whether you’re new to growing or you’re an experienced gardener, sage is one of those plants that’s easy to grow and relatively low maintenance.

It can be a great choice when the soil isn’t as good as it should be, as it can handle nutrient-poor, rocky, or very alkaline conditions. Tolerates dry and arid conditions.

As long as the area where the salvia is growing is in full sun with good drainage, it can be more or less left to its own devices.

It can be easily grown in the ground or in a pot. If you don’t have much time to tend to your garden, this plant can be a great option.

Since salvia is a perennial, it can continue to grow in your garden not just for one season, but for several years. Here are some other perennials you may like to grow.

It attracts pollinators and other beneficial insects.

When salvia is in bloom, it is a plant that works very well in a garden that attracts wildlife. This plant is popular with bees and also helps attract a wide range of other pollinators. Butterflies, for example, often enjoy the nectar of salvia flowers.

Additionally, sage is beneficial for attracting predatory insects, such as hoverflies, which can help reduce aphid numbers and protect other nearby plants from attack.

Repels certain insects.

Sage can help repel a number of unwanted garden insects due to its strong, pungent scent.

For example, sage is said to repel carrot flies, cabbage moths, cabbage maggots, and flea beetles.

Interestingly, burning sage will also help ward off mosquitoes and other biting insects while you enjoy your garden.

companion plant.

Due to salvia’s ability to attract beneficial insects and ward off unwanted pests, it can be an excellent choice as a companion plant.

Sage can work well with other Mediterranean herbs that prefer similar dry, well-drained growing conditions (like rosemary and thyme, for example). But it can also grow well when planted alongside other garden crops.

For example, sage works well as a companion plant for carrots and for Brassicas (cabbage family plants), potatoes, tomatoes or strawberries.

However, some cultures do not accept salvia as a companion plant. Cucumbers and other cucurbits, for example, can be stunted when grown near aromatic plants such as sage.

Rue, wormwood, and fennel are plants that can inhibit sage growth when grown alongside.

If you want to use salvia to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects to a garden, it’s important to remember the plant’s requirements. Sage requires much less soil moisture than many common fruits and vegetables. It will therefore not always grow well in the same soil or pot.

To solve this problem, salvia can be grown on a raised bank around the edges of the growing area which has better drainage. It can also be grown in nearby pots if the soil you live in is heavier or more acidic.

Another interesting aspect of sage is that it can be used as an ingredient in a compost activator, a set of plant materials that can help improve bacterial conditions in a composting system.

Accelerates the decomposition of the compost heap.

Using a compost activator can help materials break down faster and will give you high quality compost to use in your garden or orchard in much less time.

Sage is very good at dynamically accumulating certain plant nutrients, especially potassium and calcium. Therefore, adding sage to your compost pile or spreading it out as a mulch could help you replenish these plant nutrients in the soil of your garden or vegetable patch.

Use in the kitchen.

Of course, this is the main reason most people grow sage in their gardens. It is very popular in the kitchen.

The leaves and flowers are commonly used to flavor a number of dishes. To aid digestion, sage is often used with heavy, fatty foods in savory dishes. But sage can also be used in dessert recipes.

The young leaves and flowers can also be eaten raw in salads or sandwiches.

medicinal purposes.

Sage is not only good for flavoring a wide range of recipes, it is also very good for your health.

It is well known as a home remedy for digestive system problems. And it is also effective for a number of other ailments. For example, it has antiseptic properties, which makes it ideal for helping to heal sore throats, canker sores and sore teeth.

Herbalists also use this herb to treat other internal issues, such as excessive salivation or sweating, anxiety, depression, and reproductive issues. Externally, it can be applied topically to treat insect bites and other infections and irritations.

However, excessive or prolonged use of the herb can be dangerous. Taking an excessive amount can cause a number of symptoms and is contraindicated during pregnancy or for people with a predisposition to seizures.

As with any home remedy, it is best to seek advice from your doctor.

Cleaning your house.

There are also many other ways to use sage in your home that don’t require expert knowledge or advice. For example, you can use it to naturally clean and purify your home.

Due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, sage can be useful when added to solutions for cleaning household surfaces.

Sage also helps purify the air in the home, when burned in a process known as “flaring”.

Oral hygiene.

Sage is also great for cleaning teeth. The leaves can be simply rubbed on the teeth and gums. It’s a natural solution when you don’t have a toothbrush handy. But sage can also be used as an ingredient in homemade toothpastes.

Again, the plant’s antiseptic properties can be helpful. And sage can also help heal diseased gums.

Skin care.

Sage can also be used in soaps and a wide range of skin cleansing products.


Sage is also great for natural hair care. Sage is especially beneficial in rinses for dark hair.

natural deodorant

Sage has natural antiperspirant properties that make it ideal for use in natural deodorants. It can be used in combination with lavender or with a number of other essential oils depending on your preference.

As you can see above, sage can offer more than just an edible herb. It is a very useful plant. There are many reasons to give this beneficial plant a place in your garden or orchard.

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